Be Careful When Listing Soft Skills on Resume


Top Notch Executive Resumes Hiring decision-makers surveyed for the book, Top Notch Executive Resumes identified this as one of their Top 30 Executive Resume Pet Peeves: Content focuses on soft skills and neglects hard data. Seeing soft skills listed on a resume is a rock-bottom priority for hiring decision-makers, who prefer to explore soft skills in the interview stage (and by talking to your references) because it is difficult to substantiate them on paper. “If you have to tell me you have these skills, you probably don’t have them,” said Kristina Creed, a senior manager at a for-profit education provider. Limit use of soft skills — such as communication, teamwork, and leadership — to those that are germane to the position you’re targeting. Portrayal of soft skills will be more credible if you substantiate them with solid examples of how you’ve demonstrated them. If hard skills are required, be sure to include them, too, and be very specific about them — types of projects, technical skills, and expertise. Soft skills are also helpful if you are in a profession in which hard skills predominate, and soft skills are unexpected but desirable. “If you’re a software engineering manager who has a real talent with people and is technically excellent — highlight it,” suggested Veronica Richmond a human resources in professional Oakville, Ontario, Canada. “You’re a rarity, so have great stories ready to back it up.”
See all 30 peeves: executive resume peeves 1-10 in Part 1, executive resume peeves 11-20 in Part 2 and executive resume peeves 21-30 in Part 3.