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How to List Soft Skills on a Resume: Best Skills and Examples

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Soft skills are highly valued even if you are less experienced with technical or hard skills. They include your abilities to relate to others and your employability, which is just as important as the ability to physically perform the work. Employers can train hard skills, but soft skills require personal development. These tips will help you understand soft skills, how you can develop them and how to list them on your resume.

What are soft skills?

Soft skills are the behavioral skills necessary to plan, communicate and work with others. Unlike hard skills that you learn through step-by-step instructions, soft skills are how you relate to others and to work. They include the ability to communicate and collaborate with others, manage your time and commit to completing your work.

How to list soft skills on your resume

Listing soft skills on your resume can show that you work well with others. 

Here are some ways to include soft skills on your resume:

1. First, include some soft skills in your resume objective or summary

Your resume objective or summary introduces your professional achievements or ambitions. You can use it to include one or two of your soft skills. The skills you mention in this section should be the most aligned to the company’s objectives for the role. 

2. Second, list soft skills on your resume directly within a ‘Skills’ section

If you have a separate section on your resume for listing relevant skills, include soft skills. For clarity, consider grouping technical or functional skills separate from soft skills.

3. Lastly, include soft skills on your resume within descriptions of your experience

You can also include soft skills in your experience section. For example, you may include ‘leadership’ in a bullet point about how you led and successfully completed a project. As another example, you may address communication in a bullet point about improving project performance by facilitating communication between different project teams.

How to improve soft skills

Improving soft skills requires self-awareness, patience and practice. To improve these skills, start by developing an awareness of your skills and which ones you would like to improve. 

Here are some steps to consider when working to improve soft skills:

1. First, reflect on your skills

Every situation requires the use of soft skills, whether it is communicating with others or being on time for appointments. In each situation, reflect on the outcome and how your actions affected the outcome. Then, identify things you could have done differently to improve the situation.

2. Then, request feedback from someone you trust

Explain which skills you are working to improve to a trusted friend or colleague and ask them to provide constructive feedback about your soft skills. This allows you the opportunity to get an objective opinion about your skill and how you can improve.

3. Next, study soft skills

Research the soft skills you want to develop, then implement what you learn in your day-to-day routines to practice and strengthen the skill. Since soft skills are behavioral, you may need to practice different techniques to learn what works best for you.

4. Last, attend workshops or seminars

Workshops or seminars designed to improve soft skills provide the opportunity to learn about and practice these skills in a structured environment with immediate feedback. Workshops or seminars may include activities and role-play to provide the opportunity for attendees to build practical experience developing new skills.

Examples of soft skills

Soft skills include a variety of skills that improve your ability to work well with others, complete tasks on time, as well as develop and maintain relationships. Learning and developing these skills can improve your work relationships and increase job satisfaction. 

Here are some examples of soft skills:

Communication

Communication is the ability to express ideas in ways others can understand. It involves the ability to clearly communicate your own ideas as well as listening to and understanding the ideas of others. Communication includes verbal or nonverbal cues in either oral or written form and requires working with others to make sure everyone understands. 

Leadership

Leadership is a combination of soft skills including effective communication, a positive attitude, empathy and collaboration. These skills allow you to motivate others and delegate tasks.  Confidence in your abilities and decisions is also representative of strong leadership skills. Strong leadership skills establish you as a trusted colleague and build your credibility as a reliable teammate. 

Time management

Time management is the ability to plan and prioritize your time. It includes accurately assessing how long tasks will take and planning tasks accordingly to make the most of your time and meet deadlines.

Teamwork

Teamwork is the ability to collaborate with others and work toward a common goal. Several soft skills improve your ability to work in teams including effective communication, empathy and respect. Teamwork involves contributing to the team effort, valuing others’ contributions and taking responsibility for your share of the workload.

Motivation

Motivation is the ability to commit to performing a task and following through with that commitment. It can be external or internal. The rewards and consequences you expect are considered external motivation. Internal motivation is the way work makes you feel. A sense of purpose or gratification from work is an example of internal motivation. Understanding and identifying your motivations help you commit to performing the tasks to achieve your goals.

Conflict resolution

Conflict resolution is the ability to work with others to overcome disagreements and achieve mutually beneficial outcomes. Different conflicts require different resolution strategies such as accommodation, compromise and collaboration. The ability to resolve conflicts at the lowest level shows that you can work well with others.

Most jobs require managing your work and working with other people. Applicants with strong soft skills are effective communicators, team-oriented, highly motivated and accepting of feedback. While it is important to demonstrate the necessary technical or functional skills to perform a job, soft skills are just as important to successfully plan and prioritize work as well as work with others.