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Employers today value soft skills more than ever - what it means for you and your resume

Submitted Wednesday, January 2nd 2019 9:28 am

As confirmed by continued reports and surveys (such as Manpower's "Your Future Depends on Soft Skills" - https://tinyurl.com/yaamw3rp), one the biggest changes in the job marketplace in recent years is the substantially greater emphasis that employers are placing on soft skills. In past decades, employers were mostly interested in technical skills when recruiting and evaluating job candidates. However, as a result of a number of factors, such as increasing automation, digitization and other technology advances, employers today are heavily committed to building and maintaining highly productive workforces and healthy, vibrant organizational cultures that allow them to compete with greater urgency and swiftness. To achieve these goals, employers are bringing a laser focus to recruiting employees who possess both the necessary technical and digital skills to perform a job at a high level as well as soft skills, such as communication, critical thinking, problem solving, and the ability to collaborate or to work with others.

What does this mean for you as a job seeker? In reviewing and responding to a job posting, this means first clearly understanding the soft skills in addition to the technical and digital skills that the employer is seeking. Then you will want to consider your skill set and determine those areas where your skills intersect with or match the employer's needs. Regarding soft skills specifically, you will want to note these relevant skills both in your resume's summary and work experience section. Finally, you will want to note soft skills in other areas of your resume, where applicable, such as volunteer experience. In short, you want to impress upon a potential employer that, in addition to the required technical and digital skills, you possess the necessary soft skills to meet or exceed performance expectations. 

Here are a few examples of how to present soft skills in a bullet point for a job description:

* Collaborated with cross-functional team members in facilitating an organization-wide quality improvement initiative.

Here is a bit longer version that includes the element of affirmation from a supervisor:

* Collaborated with cross-functional team members in facilitating an organization-wide quality improvement initiative; credited by supervisor with using excellent communication skills in overcoming multiple hurdles and guiding the implementation in an efficient and timely manner.

In today's job market, employers want to learn about your technical and digital skills as well as about how you use these skills - your soft skills - such as how you communicate, how you work as a team member, and how you adapt to new challenges. By carefully assessing the soft skills that an employer is seeking and by presenting the relevant soft skills that are strengths of yours, you will come across as a more compelling, qualified candidate.