To secure that dream job you’ve had your eye on, you’ll need to champion and exemplify all your unique skills and experiences that make you a qualified candidate. Skills can be separated into two distinct categories: hard and soft. Hard skills are measurable, relate directly to your job, and can be taught in a class or on-the-job training. Examples include coding, graphic design, or speaking French. They’re fairly easy to discuss and prove – you’ve got ‘em or you don’t. Soft skills are immeasurable, may feel more like personality traits, and can’t always be taught. Some soft skills will come more naturally to you than others. Examples are creativity, written or verbal communication, organization, or problem solving.
Soft skills can be tougher to showcase during the application and interview process since they aren’t quantifiable. However, they can make you stand out as an ideal candidate if you’re able to highlight them! Here are a few tips to allow your soft skills to shine:
- Call out specific soft skills on your resume. Directly within your resume, mention a few soft skills you’d like to highlight. You can either include a dedicated “Skills” section and list them all together or sprinkle them throughout your prior job descriptions and other accomplishments. Be sure to include a meaningful, applicable example for each skill! For instance, consistently leading on-time weekly team meetings can illustrate your verbal communication skills and strong time management.
- Reference soft skills in your cover letter. If you’ve written a cover letter to submit with your application, it’s likely filled with impressive, quantifiable anecdotes about your professional accomplishments. That’s great, but feature some of your soft skills as well! Include a line or two about how you communicated well with a dynamic team of 10 colleagues or how your on-the-fly problem solving allowed a large project to be completed on time after a last minute change.
- Demonstrate soft skills during your interview. Show up early for your interview to highlight your punctuality and time management (we’re starting with the low-hanging fruit here!). Speak clearly and confidently to showcase your solid verbal communication skills. For an in-person interview, don’t be afraid to bring your printed resume, the description of the job you’re interviewing for, or your questions for the interviewer to illustrate your organizational skills and preparedness. After the interview, follow-up with a unique thank you note to demonstrate your creativity and thoughtfulness. In essence, talk the talk & walk the walk!
- Include soft skills in your answers during interview questions. As you answer interview questions, talk up your soft skills just as you do your hard skills. For example, when describing how you used Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to redesign the logos for 16 clients in your last position, also mention the back-and-forth communication you employed via emails and client calls along the way.
Equipped with your applicable hard and soft skills and examples of each, you’re ready to knock your next application and interview out of the park. Happy job hunting!