Main image of article The Importance of Soft Skills on Your Resume

When writing their resume, many tech professionals choose to focus on their technical skills, and with good reason: after all, you’re being hired to code, analyze, and build. But showing off your soft skills such as empathy and communication is also critical… and can help you stand out in a crowded field of applicants.

In order to really “sell” your soft skills, though, you’ll need to show how you used them to have a positive impact on projects and even a company’s bottom line. That means using your resume’s limited space to show how you collaborate effectively, understand stakeholder needs, and communicate complex ideas clearly.

Showcasing Those Soft Skills on Your Resume

You generally don’t have a lot of room on your resume—once you pass the automated screening process, a human recruiter or hiring manager will likely spend just a minute skimming your application. You need to make an impact quickly, especially when it comes to showing off soft skills. So keep this in mind:

Step One: Match the Soft Skills with the Job Application

Carefully review the job description. What soft skills are explicitly mentioned? Which ones are implied by the responsibilities outlined? Identify 2-3 key soft skills that directly align with the position and weave them into your resume.

Step Two: Show Those Soft Skills in Action

Quantify the impact of your soft skills whenever possible. Did clear communication lead to a reduction in project errors? Did your empathy help bridge a gap between technical and non-technical teams, resulting in a faster product launch? Use numbers and metrics (if possible) to showcase the tangible value you bring.

Step Three: Polish Up That Resume Summary

The resume summary can be a powerful ally in your job hunt. Use it to highlight how you use soft skills on a regular basis to enhance your technical skills. For example, you might write something like, “Highly motivated network engineer who uses exceptional communication skills to effectively manage teams and resources. Adept at translating complex technical concepts for senior management, securing buy-in for big initiatives.”

Step Four: All Experience is Your Friend

If you have space, include volunteer work, leadership positions in student organizations, or participation in open-source groups and side projects. This is especially useful if you’re a relatively new tech professional without a lot of formal work experience.

Step Five: General Resume Polish

  • Always Proofread: Typos and grammatical errors can undermine your communication skills, so double-check for any mistakes.

  • Focus on Results: Show how your soft skills led to positive outcomes for projects or teams.
  • Specificity is Key: Always use specific examples and situations to illustrate your soft skills.
  • Active Voice Wins: Use active voice throughout your resume to project ownership and initiative.

When you integrate soft skills into your resume, you stand out. Yes, technical skills are critical, but ultimately you’re working as part of a team; you can’t work your best without communication, empathy, and more. Those with great soft skills can also unlock opportunities in management and more.