How to Highlight Soft Skills in a Resume to Land a New HR Role

By Mary Southern December 8, 2022
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How to Highlight Soft Skills in a Resume to Land a New HR Role

​Resumes should be updated regularly to reflect soft skills that have been developed on the job. Certain soft skills are vital to being a successful and effective HR professional.

Here is an overview of soft skills and suggestions on how to add them to your resume to show how you are the right person for the job.

A List of Soft Skills

While it would be great if employers would include in every job description all the soft skills applicable to that specific role, that's nearly impossible. The list would be overwhelmingly long. The good news is that there is a list of soft skills relevant to most HR positions.

Soft Skills Relevant to Most HR Positions​
​Empathy
​Communication
​Teamwork
​Decision-Making
​Adaptability
Writing
​Problem Solving
​Collaboration
​Public Speaking
Confidentiality
​Mentoring
​Active Listening
​Time Management
​Conflict Management
​Ethics
​Research
​Strategic Thinking
​Organization
​Administration
​Work Ethic
​Cultural Sensitivity
​Leadership
​Emotional Intelligence
​Integrity

This list is provided with a caveat: Do not copy and paste all of these skills into your resume.

Be selective in which skills apply to you and sprinkle them throughout your resume. Read on to see how this was accomplished in a sample resume.

The Sections of a Resume

To know where to insert soft skills into a resume, it is important to understand how a resume is formatted. Resumes usually include a minimum of five sections:

  1. Contact information and professional title.
  2. Executive summary.
  3. Skills.
  4. Work experience.
  5. Education.

Let's review each one to see how to insert a soft skill into almost every section.

Contact Information and Professional Title


Directly beneath your name and contact information is a perfect place for soft skills; here, we have employee engagement and belonging. This immediately attracts the hiring manager's attention.

To create a stronger resume, think about the skills you have that relate to the position you're targeting. What have you contributed to your current company—maybe a new program or an improved process? If so, list "Program Development" and "Process Improvements" under your title.

Executive Summary and Skills


Think of the executive summary as a pitch that gets the reader excited to learn more and another prime place to list soft skills. What soft skills appear in this executive summary?

The answer: innovative, analytical and visionary. Soft skills are also included in an indirect way. One example is "enabling a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I)." This reflects the cultural sensitivity soft skill from the list above.

Skills

The section titled Core Strengths & Value Impact in the example is a fancy way to say skills. This is a great spot to insert soft and relevant hard skills. Again, don't just copy and paste the entire list. Instead, include skills mentioned in the job description itself. There will be an opportunity to add other skills in the experience section.


As in the executive summary, in the professional experience section you may describe soft skills using wording that is both direct and indirect, but try to stick with mostly indirect wording.

What soft skills appear in this description? In the first bullet point, collaboration is described. The next soft skill indirectly mentioned is decision-making. In the third bullet point, strategic thinking is showcased. Let's look at a second example of the professional experience section.


In this example, soft skills include planning, time management, innovation, collaboration, adaptability, communication and more. Each soft skill is indirectly mentioned by showing how this person used those skills to secure impressive achievements.

One great way to showcase accomplishments on your resume is by using the C.A.R. method.

Education


You might think that education is a lot like contact information and that you can't include any skills in this section, but this isn't true. While soft skills will not likely show up in this section unless you include information about your volunteer activities, hard skills will be on display. But by sharing educational achievements, you demonstrate the soft skill of being eager to learn.

Now it's your turn to identify the soft skills you have and get them into your resume. By using the examples above, you will be able to confidently show how you are the best candidate for the job and land that interview.


Mary Southern is the founder of Resume Assassin in Austin, Texas, and offers more than 12 years of experience in resume writing, human resources, and career and academic advising. She has helped thousands of professionals across a variety of industries break into a wide range of leading companies. Learn more at www.resumeassassin.com and connect with Mary at www.linkedin.com/in/mary-southern

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