3 Ways to Promote Your "Soft Skills"
August 28, 2019
Writing, problem-solving, adaptability, work ethic, time management, communication, leadership, are just a few of the many skills commonly referred to as “soft skills” and historically viewed as less important than more technical skills. However, employers are increasingly more interested in these “soft skills.” Kena Sears Brown, the-Director of Continuing Professional Education & Workforce Initiatives here at Goodwin College is passionate about this topic and when I asked her about her thoughts on “soft skills,” she said, “Professionals must adapt to the new hybrid job economy—one that demands a combination of skills that aren’t usually found on the same resume (think left brain meets right brain). Think of a marketing professional who must have expertise in statistical analysis or a project manager who should bring creativity, visual design and teamwork to the table. According to Burning Glass Technologies, one in eight job postings is now highly hybridized and hybrid roles are expected to grow twice as fast as jobs overall (21 percent over 10 percent in the next decade). These once coined “soft skills’ are clearly now essential skills one must possess to succeed, remain competitive and employable in today’s workforce.”
Last week, Marina D’souza – a Drexel BS in Environmental Engineering student ’20 and President of Drexel’s chapter of the Society of Civil Engineers asked me how to best promote these essential skills on LinkedIn or on one’s resume.
There are three key ways to promote these essential skills:
1. Identify Your Top Essential Skills
The website Simplicable has pulled together a comprehensive list of “87 Soft Skills.” They divide the list into specific categories: communication, leadership, influencing, interpersonal, personal, creativity and professional. Comb through that list and choose your top 10 or 15! Make sure you have at least one skill from each category, and preferably two from the first three categories. You are not limited to 10 or 15, you might excel at six of the 12 skills listed in the communications skills category–great!
2. Link your tops Essential Skills with Your Experience
Look at your resume (you should have a master resume) and determine which experiences directly link with the essential/power skills you identified. For example, if you chose writing as one of your top skills, then you need to look for those experiences where you have demonstrated strong writing skills. If you chose mentoring from the leadership list, then find the experience on your resume where you have demonstrated mentoring experience.
You can even create an essential/power skills resume (for your eyes only) to help you better see how you have effectively utilized these skills over time.
3. Highlight These Skills in LinkedIn and on Your Resume
Since employers are looking for these essential skills, you need to ensure you are marketing those skills.
Resume – on your resume, you will use these essential skills as buzz words to demonstrate your skills repertoire. For example, if you work in an institutional advancement office where you create written material to entice donors, you might have the following bullet point using two essential skills: writing and storytelling.
Increased e-mail solicited donations by 20% by crafting effective written content that creatively tells the story about the those who benefit from ABC Org’s mission and the greater impact on the community.
LinkedIn – of course you can use the same bullet points on your LinkedIn page, but you also have another option–that of space. On LinkedIn, add a description of your essential skills to the “About” section. Mine reads:
A faculty member and department head at a leading US university dedicated to both the academic and career pursuits of my students. An effective communicator with strong presentation and public speaking skills, who is a strategic planner, mentor, and influencer. Also, highly self-aware with a high EQ and an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit.
As you can see, I highlighted 10 essential skills. I chose the ones that best spoke to my career goals. My CV and my experience listed on LinkedIn will demonstrate more, but it is important to choose no more than 10 for a narrative.
These skills are no longer consider soft, they are now essential. In order to market yourself as an essential skills powerhouse to stand out to potential employers begin with the list of skills, link them to your experience, and then package them together on your resume and on LinkedIn.
Anne Converse Willkomm
Assistant Clinical Professor
Department Head of Graduate Studies