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Listing Soft Skills on your Resume?


Listing Soft Skills on your Resume?

Franklin Buchanan |

What is the difference between a soft skill and a transferable skill and how do you list them on a resume?


If you consume any content from recruiters, resume writers, or career coaches, then you'll often hear both of these terms utilized when telling you what skills to put on your resume.


But what are they really and which ones should you put on your resume?


In my opinion, with 15 years of experience working in recruiting, soft skills are things that are expected of you in order to do a job. Things like "Communication," "Conflict Resolution," or "Problem Solving."


I see these skills listed on resumes on a daily basis. And here is why I don't put them on resumes that I write for my clients.


When I was a recruiter, no matter what position I was searching for, when I typed in a search in whatever Applicant Tracking System (ATS) I was using, I never searched for soft skills. So these soft skills aren't resume keywords, they're just empty fluff that add no value whatsoever because you'll be expected to solve problems no matter what your next job is.


Instead, you want to list transferable skills on your resume. And, in my opinion, a transferable skill is the demonstration of a soft skill. Let's take "Problem Solving" as an example.


Instead of listing "Problem Solving" in your resume skills section, instead think about problems that you solved at each of your jobs listed on your resume and turn them into actionable bullet points.


Here is are two examples of problems solved from an engineering resume that I wrote:

"Eliminated safety risks in critical production processes after designing customer pneumatic and electromechanical assemblies."

"Realized $69,000 in cost takeout after leading machine setup improvement kaizen events on 2 machines."


So instead of listing "Problem Solving" in this client's resume skills section, we demonstrated problems that they solved. And we used the resume skills section to highlight hard skills that would be keywords in an ATS search like "Continuous Improvement" and "Value Stream Mapping."


And now we're tying the skills in the client's resume skills section directly to the content of the resume. Which enhances the brand and helps to hook the reader for more than just the 6 seconds that most resumes get looked at.


Need some help developing your transferable skills? Check out the Professional Profile Services and see if I can help.

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