Your soft skills, the so-called “soft factors” of your personality, can determine whether or not you are invited to an interview. Soft skills are also known as key qualifications. HR managers use them to measure how well you fit into the company – or even more so – into a particular team.
What do soft skills include?
In contrast to hard skills, soft skills are not professional qualifications. Soft skills define you and your personality. They are roughly divided into personal, social, and methodological skills and competencies.
Acquiring and deepening soft skills is something that open-minded and interested people will have for a lifetime. Personal and social characteristics or talents are often obtained and developed from an early age, such as independence, assertiveness, empathy, or team leader qualifications. Into methodical skills such as rhetorical skills, presentation techniques, or analytical thinking are only trained or perfected in a degree or professional life. If you keep in mind the rapid development of technology and digitization, it becomes clear that lifelong learning is inevitable nowadays.
How to incorporate soft skills into your resume
“Soft skills belong on the resume?” That is the most common question we get from students. Our answer: Packing soft skills on your resume is not a must. However: the resume is the most important document nowadays. It is read before the cover letter – provided that the cover letter is still being observed.
In another article, we talked about the importance of hard skills such as computer literacy. A credible representation of your soft skills is equally important. Reasonable because it is not enough to write off the properties required in the job advertisement:
“I am flexible, able to work in a team, and have great empathy.” That would be too easy! And not believable enough.
If your soft skills in your resume lead, you need to briefly explain what occasion you have acquired these skills and deepened. One or two sentences are enough. For example:
Flexibility and the ability to work in a team. During my internship at (name of company), I quickly integrated myself into the existing team and proved my adaptability.
Further formulation examples for essential qualifications
Self-management and resilience. During the whole of my student days, I did part-time jobs to earn some extra money. I have continually succeeded in balancing my studies and my career.
Intercultural skills, a social commitment. I’m very interested in other cultures. So I spent a semester abroad at the university (name of the university, place) and gave tuition young people in the group of my home town.
Quick grasp. In my internship at (name of company), I was allowed to take on responsibility for a project after a one-week training period.
What do HR managers read from the soft skills?
As mentioned at the beginning, soft skills describe your personality. HR professionals are very interested in whether, for example, you have worked alongside your studies, whether you are involved in social engagement or a small honorary position, or whether you have acquired further qualifications in addition to your studies.
From this, they deduce how self-organized and how determined you are, whether you are ready to contribute to the good of a community or how interested you are by taking additional courses, for example.
Important but be careful! Too much of a good thing is of little use. Your presentation has to stay authentic. One possibility is to choose key qualifications in such a way that they roughly match the required qualifications.
Another variant is to describe those soft skills that you have perfected in summer jobs, internships, or during your studies. This way, you have verifiable examples at hand, which you may even be able to substantiate with job references or course confirmations.