5 Soft Skill Sets to Highlight on Your Resume

Employers aren’t just looking for technical skills — they’re looking for soft skills, too. Here are some of the soft skills to highlight on your CV.

Sprucing together an interview-worthy resume can take days. After all, you need to condense decades years of your life into a single sheet of paper: 

Education, work experience, college accolades, internships, and more!

But if there’s one mistake job candidates make, it’s going far too light on the soft skills section. These are the social, behavioral, and personality traits that prove you’re a solid choice from the human perspective (not including hard technical skills like Google expertise or HTML coding).

Are you ready to lock down the interview of your dreams?

These are the top five soft skill sets you should highlight on your resume to save your portfolio a spot at the top of the pile!

Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills

Most applicants know to include a “skills” section somewhere on their resume, whether it’s in a separate column, right below their name, or wedged between professional and educational experience.

But do you know which skill sets belong there? 

Or what classifies as a “hard” skill versus a “soft” skill?

Hard Skills

Hard skills are more technical, job-related, and likely graced your college syllabi or past training experiences. 

Some hard skill examples include:

  • Budgeting
  • JavaScript
  • Marketing research
  • Cloud computing
  • Typing speed

On the most basic level, hard skills prove you can get the job done.

Soft Skills

Soft skills — also dubbed “people skills” — explain how you relate to others on a human level, describing things you usually can’t master in a classroom. 

Common soft skills include:

Employers will appreciate any soft skills you include on your resume. But the five below will practically shout, “I’m qualified!” to a prospective boss.

1. Communication

Communication is at the foundation of nearly every company, niche, and partnership in the professional world.

In short, it’s the ability to express your emotions or a work-related concept in a way that others can understand.

In the professional setting, communication can take three forms:

  1. Written (work memos, reports)
  2. Oral (speaking to coworkers and clients in person)
  3. Digital (emails, text messages)

However, this soft skill set goes well beyond alerting HR to a workplace dispute or asking your boss for the day off.

It’s more of a combination of things.

For example, a skilled communicator can offer honest, constructive criticism in a mentorship role. They can lead board meetings with confidence and share brainstormed ideas directly and clearly.

They can also practice active listening skills when negotiating with a stubborn client or colleague, truly listening to their concerns and point-of-view.

Examples of Communication Soft Skills

  • Active listening
  • Friendliness
  • Feedback
  • Empathy
  • Written and verbal communication

2. Time Management

Even in the most lenient and lax industries, time management is a crucial skill that always perks up an employer’s ears! Managers crave workers who can meet deadlines (avoiding time crunches), perform menial tasks efficiently, and remain on task while overcoming distractions.

But this skill set has even more benefits.

When your time management skills are on-point, you’re more likely to run an organized ship and put the company (or team) first.

Coworkers aren’t constantly waiting on you to complete your piece of the presentation. You don’t need a boss’s nudging to pick up the slack and use your time wisely. Most importantly, clients and customers appreciate the quick turnaround time, bolstering the company’s reputation!

Examples of Time Management Soft Skills

  • Realistic goal-setting
  • Decision-making
  • Punctuality
  • Moderating meetings
  • Managing expectations

3. Creativity

Nearly every business has an SOP (standard operating procedure) and guidelines for performing certain tasks. But when workplace efficiency and innovation are a priority, employers value more creative applicants.

What qualifies as “creative” depends on the industry.

For example, in the graphic design world, it could mean overhauling an outdated pamphlet design to attract millennials and boost sales. In sales, it might mean creating an easy-to-sort spreadsheet to better organize data hubs.

Whatever the case, people who think outside the box are highly sought-after in most industries.

Hiring managers love creativity because it shows passion and connectedness to your position. You’re looking deeper into your job and treading several steps past your job description, something few employees are willing to do! It can also give the entire company a more efficient edge.

Examples of Creativity Soft Skills

  • Imagination
  • Observation skills
  • Willingness to experiment
  • Open-mindedness
  • Curiosity

4. Leadership

Workforce newcomers, especially fresh college graduates, are often hesitant to add “leadership” to their resume’s soft skills section. There’s an unspoken fear that it’s a code word for “micromanaging” or “bossy,” which aren’t prized traits in entry-level positions (or anywhere for that matter).

In the simplest terms, leadership skills signal a willingness to step up and take initiative without being asked to do so.

A skilled leader will gather the team to offer words of encouragement during troubling times. They’ll help fellow newcomers settle in and become active members of the team or take charge and delegate tasks when the entire department resorts to bickering.

The more you can guide the crew without waving the boss over to ask for aid, the more everyone can focus on their own jobs!

Examples of  Soft Leadership Skills

  • Selflessness
  • Conflict resolution
  • Project management
  • Honesty
  • Mentorship

5. Teamwork

Unless you’re a solo freelancer or an entrepreneur, a successful business doesn’t exist without unwavering teamwork. Adding this tidbit to your job resume will show potential employers that you’re a selfless team player!

In the workplace, teamwork means collaboration.

Not only do you pull your weight and complete your assigned tasks on time, but you’re willing to go above and beyond to help the group.

By working closely with your colleagues, you can turn a month-long project into a few-week task. A good team player will add to morale, offer words of inspiration, and lessen the load of a fellow coworker. Bouncing ideas off one another and feeling confident enough to share can encourage efficiency.

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Examples of Teamwork Soft Skills


If you’re still not convinced a soft skills section belongs on a resume, consider this fact:

67% of hiring managers would choose a candidate with valuable soft skills, even if their technical skills weren’t up to par.

In the opposite scenario, the hiring rate is a measly 9%. 

Remember, your resume is a six-second sneak peek into who you are and how you might play into their workplace dynamic. A dazzling personality doesn’t matter if you can’t secure an interview in the first place!

Spend an afternoon perfecting your resume before firing apps off again.

[Author Bio]

Karen Lein is the general manager of Copper Beech at San Marcos and Grove San Marcos. She is a Fresno State alumni and enjoys traveling and watching football. #GoDogs!

Written by George K.

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