When you’re creating your resume, space conservation is everything.
Since the ideal resume is no longer than two pages (though one page is best for everyone but super successful CEOs), every inch on your page counts.
So while deciding between work experiences and accomplishments to include, we’ve all asked ourselves the same critical question:
Is it worth in including soft skills on my resume?
Soft skills are the people skills and personality traits that make you a better employee. They are the intangible skills that help you navigate the working world and interact well with other people: like leadership, communication, and organization.
Simply put, your hard skills, like your experience and education, are the qualifications that make an appropriate fit for a position. Your soft skills are the characteristics and attributes that will make you successful in the position.
So, is it worth including soft skills on a resume? After all, that’s valuable paper real estate that could be given to a hard skill to make you sound more qualified…
The answer is a resounding yes.
When an employer starts searching for a new team member, they aren’t looking for the most qualified candidate. They’re looking for the best candidate. Although technical qualifications is a part of that, it isn’t the only thing they are looking for.
Your hard skills will get you in the door at a job interview, but your soft skills will make you that much more hirable. It’s worth it to put them on your resume because, in many ways, to give your potential employer a preview of how you will act in your interview and in the job itself.
Don’t believe me? Let’s walk through a hypothetical situation.
You are a hiring manager looking for a software engineer for an open position at your company. After a lengthy hiring process, the search has come down to 2 candidates. Candidate 1 has a college degree from an Ivy League school and 6 years of experience at Dell. Candidate 2 has a college degree from a top-tier public university and 8 years of experience at Oracle. Staring at their resume, they are almost indistinguishable–they are both extremely qualified candidates.
So, who do you pick? Do you pick Candidate 1 because their education seems slightly more impressive? Or do you pick Candidate 2 because they have a little more experience?
Neither of those reasons are enough to pick one candidate over the other, since they both are likely going to develop software at the same level. So, the answer is obvious: you’re going to pick the one with better soft skills. The one that took the time to mention that they are great at interpersonal communication. The one who can interact and work with other employees as well as provide value and expertise in their position.
The entire purpose of a resume is to paint a picture of who you are as a candidate and employee to other professionals who don’t know you. A big part of who you are as a professional is your ability to communicate and work with co-workers. By not including soft skills on a resume, you’re selling yourself short.
The same goes for employers who think soft skills are just fillers on a resume. Dismissing or undervaluing soft skills is one of the worst mistakes a hiring manager can make, because they are so critical for the success of a company. They may not be the skills that make your business qualified to do what it does, but they are thing things that will help your business reach its maximum potential.
Think about it: experience and expertise are absolutely necessary for a job. If you’re hiring a cook, it’s non-negotiable that they better make pretty good food. But, although you’re paying them to cook food, that’s only about half of their job. The other half is working comfortably and coherently alongside everyone else in the kitchen, on the waitstaff, and the rest of the team. Even in a job that is completely dependent on one person’s ability to turn ingredients into a delicious masterpiece, the amount of communication they have to do tells you everything: soft skills are extremely important in every single industry.
Not only that, but studies are showing that soft skills are only getting more important as technology advances. This means that employers should not only be looking to hire people with soft skills, but they should train their current employees in them as well. In a digital, complex working world, the ability to problem solve is critical. The ability to communicate well with clients and co-workers is a must.
In a sense, soft skills are quickly becoming hard skills.
The other thing for employers to consider is that soft skills are immediately testable in a job interview setting. If someone walks in for an interview and their resume says they have “great communication skills,” then it will be somewhat concerning if they fumble over their words or can’t look you in the eye. If they say that they are an excellent listener but continue to cut you off when you talk, then you know that they maybe aren’t being totally truthful.
So, for both employers and employees, don’t undervalue soft skills. They may not seem flashy on paper, but having them is enough to put one candidate over another. Remember—one day, your business may literally depend on them.