Soft skills

What is a soft skill?

Soft skills are abilities and/or talents that are employed by an individual to complete a task or encourage/guide another individual to perform an action. Soft skills do not require a technical skill or talent. The following are examples of soft skills:

• Emotional intelligence
• Enthusiasm
• Empathy
• Critical Thinking
• Persuasion/Negotiation
• Delegation

How do you include soft skills on a resume?

Soft skills can be incorporated into the work experience section of a resume. Unlike technical skills that can be included in a bullet point list, soft skills must be integrated into past job experiences.

Example: Successfully led a five-person pay per click (PPC) marketing team that generated leads for fintech mortgage brokers. Grew second and third tier search placements and examined alternatives to leading search engines like Google and Bing. Utilized existing contacts from previous position selling pay per impression (PPM) placements in a commercial real estate publication and newsletter. Trained team members to optimize PPC placements; authorized an increase in expenditure of bids on successful keywords while encouraging quick action to pause less profitable keywords. Team members were emboldened to rewrite and A/B test text ads to increase return on investment (ROI).

The above excerpt, taken from a marketing executive's professional experience section of their resume, demonstrates several soft skills.

  1. Leadership: Explicitly states the number of direct reports and how the encouraged the freedom to test text ads, which exemplifies responsibility and communication.
  2. Networking: Using existing contacts from previous positions demonstrates that they are willing to reach out to resources outside of current employment and that previous relationships are in good standing.
  3. Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking: The marketing executive was tasked with growing leads in a crowded market. Expanding into less obvious platforms in addition to optimizing expenditures shows future employers an ability to excel in a challenging situation.
  4. Delegation: Encouraging team members to make tough decisions and optimize PPC bids and ad text, while giving team members budget discretion to maximize ROI.

Soft skills are innate and demonstrated through the actions of an individual. They can be exhibited as a trait in an individual's personality. They cannot be placed in bullet point format, or they risk coming across as contrived. To effectively exhibit soft skills on a resume, an author should reflect upon a past professional experience and demonstrate the skills succinctly in short paragraphs or long sentences.