Game-Changing Resume Soft Skills: How to Highlight Yours Effectively (With 200+ Examples)
You are more than a list of hard skills and professional experiences.
As a talented, emotional, and capable human being, you also bring unique soft skills to the table that have the power to set you apart—from people and technology. Your resume soft skills are your game changer.
As the digital revolution in a crowded job market continues and machine learning becomes a greater part of the work landscape, your human abilities, your soft skills, become even more valuable.
This is where you shine.
3 key takeaways
- What are resume soft skills
- How to add soft skills to your resume with the free Teal AI Resume Builder
- 200+ examples of game-changing soft skills to get your resume noticed
Understanding soft skills
So, what are soft skills? Soft skills are those non-technical skills that enable you to navigate a professional environment, work well with others, and achieve your goals with complementing hard skills.
Sometimes called transferable skills, they're less about your qualifications and more about your personal attributes and how you interact with others; often, they're transferrable and applicable across most jobs and careers. (What is an example of a soft skill that’s also easily transferable? Well, if you have a knack for communicating across departments, that cross-functional collaboration skill is relevant in education, marketing, software, sales, customer success, and more.)
Soft skills vs. hard skills
In contrast to soft skills, hard skills are more specific abilities that can be defined and measured. Sometimes called technical skills, they often refer to technical knowledge or training necessary to perform particular jobs in particular industries. (For example, Google Suite, Salesforce, Python, data analysis, or accounting.)
Why are soft skills important?
While the right technical skills and expertise indicate the tangible way you get from point A to point B, your work ethic, attitude, communication skills, emotional intelligence skills, and a whole host of other, more personal attributes drive your success and impact in the workplace.
Soft skills enable you to navigate the complexities of interpersonal relationships, guide teams toward achieving their goals, and contribute effectively to your organization's bottom line.
And for the most part? It doesn't matter what field, industry, or career you're in. Soft skills count.
For instance, strong leadership and negotiation skills can propel projects forward in software development, while problem-solving skills can lead to innovations in science. Communication skills aid in effective collaboration for educators, and adaptability help administrative assistants respond swiftly to ever-changing responsibilities. Good time management can boost the productivity of project managers, and integrity can build trust within a marketing team.
Breakdown of soft skills categories
Understanding how soft skills break down into different groups can help you identify the types of skills you already have and where you have opportunities for growth.
Communication skills are integral in nearly every professional setting. They facilitate a clear and effective exchange of information, ideas, and emotions.
- Verbal communication is used to relay information or share your point of view.
- Non-Verbal communication involves body language, facial expressions, and other forms of physical presentation to complement verbal communication.
- Written communication is how you craft words to deliver information—crucial for persuasive copy, effective emails, reports, proposals, and more.
Problem-solving skills refer to approaching difficulties or complications and finding effective solutions.
These core skills involve critical thinking, analysis, creativity, resilience, and decision-making. And they're valuable because they allow you to successfully tackle obstacles and find solutions to complete projects and tasks.
Leadership and management skills
Leadership and management skills involve guiding, directing, and influencing others toward a common goal.
Leaders need a mix of soft skills to inspire trust, motivate teams, delegate tasks, and make strategic decisions. Key leadership skills include emotional intelligence (EQ), conflict resolution, coaching, and strong communication skills.
Teamwork and collaboration skills
Can you work effectively and peacefully with others? If so, your strong teamwork and collaboration skills can bring people together to achieve shared goals. In fact, there are few professional settings that don't require some semblance of cooperative dynamics.
So what does that look like?
Teamwork and collaboration skills involve active listening, communicating clearly, cooperation, being open to feedback, and successfully managing conflicts.
Creativity and innovation skills
Creativity and innovation skills involve the ability to think outside the box, come up with new ideas, and approach problems from different angles.
And while these skills are valuable for traditionally 'creative' roles, such as graphic designers or copywriters—they're also becoming increasingly important in many roles and industries as companies strive to differentiate themselves from the competition.
Soft skills examples in different professions
Ultimately, soft skills are vital in just about every job and in every sector. And much like resume strengths, they can complement your biggest career wins.
So let’s take a look at some top soft skills examples from across professions and industries that impact relationships, work ethic, productivity, performance, and success.
- Active listening
- Conflict resolution
- Cultural sensitivity
- Emotional intelligence (EQ)
- Interpersonal skills
- Stress management
- Analytical skills
- Attention to detail
- Decision making
- Medical ethics
- Physical stamina
- Problem sensitivity
- Quick thinking
- Adaptability to Change
- Audience understanding (specific to your industry or target audience)
- Branding expertise
- Conceptual thinking
- Critical thinking
- Consumer behavior understanding
- Data-driven decision making
- Digital media
- Market knowledge (specific to your market)
- Organizational skills
- Project management
- Strategic thinking
- Trend awareness
- Active listening skills
- Business acumen
- Change management
- Financial literacy
- Goal-setting or goal-oriented
- Leadership skills
- Performance management
- Resource management
- Risk identification
- Strategic planning
- Talent management
- Team building
- Assessment skills (educational and personal)
- Classroom management
- Conflict resolution
- Counseling skills
- Cultural sensitivity
- Curriculum development
- Effective knowledge sharing
- Instructional design
- Lifelong learning
- Presentation skills
- Public speaking
- Record keeping
- Research skills
- Student engagement
- Time management
- Writing skills
- Closing skills
- Cold calling
- Customer retention
- Direct sales
- Lead generation
- Objection handling
- Relationship building
- Sales cycle management
- Social selling
- Strategic market insight
- Strategic prospecting
- Territory management
- Aesthetic sense
- Artistic expression
- Brand identity
- Collaborative product development
- Color theory application
- Concept development
- Creative skills
- Graphic design
- Industrial design
- Intuitive user interface design
- Spatial reasoning
- User-centric design thinking
- User-centric web design
- User-centered problem solving
- User-centered prototyping
- Visual communication
- Visual ideation
- Critical analysis
- Ethical conduct
- Financial leadership
- Insightful data interpretation
- Organizational proficiency
- Regulation awareness
- Resource optimization
- Spreadsheet proficiency
- Strategic tax guidance
- Transparent financial reporting
- Treasury knowledge
- Trust building
- Attention to detail
- Cognitive flexibility
- Critical thinking
- Entrepreneurial mindset
- Influence and persuasion
- Pattern recognition
- Quantitative research
- Regression analysis
- Stakeholder management
- Statistical analysis
- Strategic thinking
- Systems analysis
- Systems thinking
- Adaptive design thinking
- Aesthetic harmony
- Cybersecurity awareness
- Design gamification
- Digital story weaving
- Ethical user persuasion
- Flow state attainment
- Growth mindset
- Intuitive design sensibility
- Stakeholder management
- Technological intuition
- User empowerment
- Web performance artistry
How to demonstrate soft skills in a resume
Demonstrating soft skills on your resume throughout various sections offers a more holistic view of your capabilities and strengths. Dispersing them adds richness and depth that helps paint a more complete picture of your professional profile and showcases your well-rounded skillset.
So what sections should have examples of your soft skills?
Incorporate soft skills in your professional summary, or short professional bio, to enrich your most notable accomplishments.
For example, if you're detail-oriented and highly organized, one sentence of your professional summary could look like this: "Detail-oriented and highly organized project manager with 15+ years of experience orchestrating successful projects and delivering them within strict timelines and budgets, resulting in an average cost savings of 10% per project."
Include them in your work experience achievements to complement your hard skills to illustrate how you effectively achieved impressive impact in your day-to-day activities.
So, let's say, If you increased conversions by 3x through A/B testing design, including a soft skill like exceptional problem-solving abilities could help illustrate how you effectively identified and implemented data-driven solutions, resulting in significant improvements in conversion rates. As a resume accomplishment, that would look like:
"Achieved a 3x increase in conversions through meticulous A/B testing, effectively utilizing data analysis to identify and implement data-driven solutions that optimized website performance and user experience."
Create a dedicated "Skills" section to highlight hard and soft skills related to those in the job description in a stand-out way.
A list, whether using bullet points or skills separated by commas, draws attention to your diverse range of abilities and highlights the unique qualities you bring to the table as a professional. A dedication section emphasizes your well-roundedness, showcasing that you have technical expertise and essential communication and interpersonal skills that are valuable in various work environments.
A partial "Skills" section for a senior copywriter could look like:
- Cross-functional collaboration
- Data analysis
- Google Analytics
- Relational leadership
Highlighting soft skills with Teal's Resume Builder
The best practice for adding soft skills to your resume is to incorporate them in each section to elevate your entire professional profile—and you can do this with the free Teal AI Resume Builder.
Step 2: Click the "Resume Builder" icon in the left navigation panel. Then, from here, you can choose an existing resume or click the "New Resume" button at the top right.
Step 3: To add soft skills to your professional summary, scroll to Professional Summaries, click the drop-down button, then click "Add Professional Summary." Create one from scratch, or click the "Generate With AI" Button.
Pro Tip: Teal's AI functionality pulls keywords for resume (like technical skills, soft skills, and other important language) from the job description of any role you've saved in your Job Application Tracker and from details in your work history and other professional experience.
Why is this important? Because it helps you tailor your resume for any role you're applying to. As a bonus, you can edit the content to add any other soft skills you want to highlight.
Step 4: To add soft skills to your work experience achievements, from the Resume Builder, scroll to Work Experience. Then, click the drop-down button. Click "Add Work Experience" to create a new section or "Add an Achievement" in an existing work history.
Step 5: To add soft skills to your "Skills" section in the Resume Builder, scroll to Skills, click the drop-down button, then "Add Skills." Here you can list your skills individually in addition to incorporating them into a paragraph or achievements.
How to tailor soft skills to specific jobs
Tailoring soft skills to a specific job involves understanding what the hiring manager or recruiter is looking for and then presenting your relevant soft skills in a way that matches these needs.
So what are the best ways to tailor your soft skills to the role you're applying for?
Read the job description thoroughly: The job description often offers insight into what soft skills are required, or character traits are preferred. Look for words or phrases that indicate behaviors or personal qualities, like "team player," "good communicator," "self-starter," "proactive," "detail-oriented," "problem-solver," etc.
Research the company culture: Understanding a company's culture can also give you an idea of what soft skills they value. For example, if the company values innovation, they'll likely appreciate soft skills like creativity, problem-solving, and adaptability.
Match your skills to the job: Once you've identified the key soft skills required for the job, you should match these with your own. But remember, honesty is critical, so only incorporate the skills you actually have.
Quantify when possible: Finally, while it can be challenging to quantify soft skills, if you have concrete examples of your results (like "Improved team productivity by 20% through effective communication and conflict resolution"), this offers insight into how you used those soft skills to have an impact.
Following these guidelines and tailoring your soft skills for each application ensures your resume aligns with the role's qualifications as much as possible—helping you stand out as a capable and qualified applicant.
Top 10 soft skills for resumes in 2023
In today’s market, some soft skills make all the difference in your qualifications and fit for a role. So what are the top in-demand soft skills for resumes employers are looking for in 2023?
- Adaptability: The rapid pace of change in many industries means that employees must adapt to new situations and changes in direction quickly and efficiently.
- Communication: Good communication ensures that you can express ideas clearly and understand the perspectives of others— which is vital for team collaboration.
- Creativity: With increasing automation, creativity has become a highly sought-after and differentiating skill. It's essential for problem-solving and developing new ideas or strategies.
- Emotional Intelligence (EQ): In the same vein, with increases in automation and technology, EQ is a differentiating skill because the technology simply doesn't have it. EQ involves recognizing, understanding, and managing emotions and identifying and acknowledging those of others. It's key to fostering productive and positive workplace relationships.
- Critical Thinking Skills: The ability to analyze situations, consider multiple solutions, and make sound decisions is invaluable in many roles, particularly as most markets face increasingly complex challenges.
- Leadership Skills: Even if you're not applying for a management role, the ability to inspire and motivate others, take initiative, and provide direction is a valued skill.
- Collaboration: In the modern workplace, projects often involve cross-functional teams, so the ability to work effectively with others is crucial.
- Problem-solving: The ability to identify issues and develop effective solutions is a core skill that shows employers you can add value in any situation.
- Resilience: Being able to bounce back from setbacks and keep a positive attitude in the face of adversity is an attractive quality for employers dealing with fast-paced, high-stress environments.
- Time Management Skills: This involves the ability to prioritize tasks, work efficiently, and meet deadlines, which is critical in virtually all roles.
Pro Tip: To learn more about personal skills that can help you land a job and grow your career, read up on interpersonal skills for a resume.
Harness your soft skills for success
In today's job market, standing out from the crowd is more important than ever, and your strong soft skills can be a differentiating factor. They reflect your personality traits, adaptability, emotional intelligence, ability to collaborate, and much more. They make you human in a digital world and provide a unique value that technology can't replicate.
Teal's AI Resume Builder is designed to help you put these all-important soft skills front and center. With Teal's suite of tools, you can weave your best soft skills into your resume in a compelling and professional manner—truly reflecting your abilities and potential.
Sign up for Teal today and start building a standout resume that showcases your best skills in a way that resonates with employers and positions you for success.
But remember, your development doesn't stop once your resume is finished. Like any other skills, your soft skills need to be continually honed and developed as your professional journey continues. Take every opportunity to nurture your skills to unlock your full potential.
Resume soft skills FAQs
Q: What are soft skills, and why are they important?
A: Soft skills are interpersonal and behavioral abilities that facilitate effective work and collaboration, and they are important because they contribute to a productive and positive work environment.
Q: What is the difference between soft skills and hard skills?
A: The difference between soft skills and hard skills is that soft skills are about how you work, such as your great communication skills or teamwork, while hard skills are technical or specific abilities, like data analysis or coding.
Q: What are the best practices for how to list soft skills on a resume?
A: To list soft skills on a resume, include them throughout your resume sections, along with providing specific examples of how you've applied them in your work.
Q: What are the best practices for how to enhance soft skills for career growth?
A: Enhance soft skills for career growth by seeking out opportunities to practice them, like taking on leadership roles or participating in team projects, and consider professional development or coaching if needed.
Q: Can soft skills be learned or improved?
A: Yes, soft skills can be learned and improved through practice, self-reflection, and sometimes through training or coaching.