Recently, several managers were asked what one attribute they would look for in a job candidate, any position, any industry. The responses included innovation, commitment, leadership, teamwork, intelligence and organizational “fit.” Industry knowledge and skills were important but most managers concentrated on what are known as “soft skills.” Managers and business owners know it is much easier to teach someone the information and skills they need for a job than to teach them, for example, how to get along with coworkers.
Candidates who understand that fact often fill their resume with phrases like “innovative and intelligent professional”; “able to work independently or as part of a team”; and “committed to the organization’s growth.”
But I urge my clients to move beyond a bare statement to prove they have the qualities that company’s want.
How do you prove all those soft skills—innovation, commitment, leadership and so on—in a resume? You give examples. You provide testimonials. You state the problem and how you responded to it:
- “Worked closely with representatives from Marketing, Sales and Finance Departments to identify ten potential cost-savings measures.”
- “Found an Internet provider to develop the company website.”
- “Identified service issues, revamped the company’s customer complaint procedure and raised customer satisfaction rates from 85% to 98%.”
When you cooperate on a project with several departments, when you independently locate a new vendor, when you calm an angry customer, when you establish a procedure where none existed before, when you train other employees, when you volunteer to serve a local nonprofit—you demonstrate soft skills that any company would prize.