Soft skills are important to many jobs you apply to, but writing them on your resume doesn’t look very impressive. Most soft skills are vague, and it’s very easy to claim you have them on a resume without being able to prove it. One successful approach is to remove all soft skills from your resume’s skills section and weave them throughout your cover letter instead, providing evidence to back up your claims of these skills. You should make sure that you choose soft skills that are tailored towards whichever job you’re applying for, too. But, which soft skills are worth including in a cover letter, and how should you write about them? Here are a few.
This is especially crucial if you’re applying to a management position or even anything where you’ll require independence and firm decision-making. Instead of just pasting the word ‘leadership’ on your resume, cull from your prior managerial experience – tell a story about times your leadership was the reason behind successes and solved problems. Explain what tactics you employ as a leader to ensure positive results, and how you applied them to whichever story you used.
If you don’t have managerial experience, you can still look to places where you were able to take charge at former jobs. Did you wind up being the one to lead a struggling team to an answer? Did you come up with an idea at a former job that wound up being a big help to the team at large? If you have little to no work experience at all, you can even look back to projects at school or clubs you were in for your examples.
Writing that you have “good communication skills” on your resume tells an employer nothing, and can become redundant if you prove yourself a good communicator in the interview anyway. Communication is just too big of an umbrella term to shove into one label. So, when you discuss your communication skills in your cover letter, narrow it down.
If you’re applying to an actual communications job, discuss your written ability or knack for executive communications. But, if you’re applying to a retail job, you might want to discuss your penchant for interpersonal communications and how persuasive you can be. The more specific to the job you can get, the better.
Much like communication, this is another soft skill that has a lot of potential definitions, and you need to tailor it to the job. If you’re an artistic person applying to creative jobs, you need to discuss your past creative work and the measurable successes of them. But, you might just be referring to your ability to think creatively, and want to discuss how thinking outside the box helped you throughout your career.
Another great way to showcase creativity when applying for a job is to step your application package up from the average one. People applying for artistic jobs should be custom designing their own application package templates, for instance – it’s a great way to show off your graphic design skills before the hiring manager even looks at your portfolio. Or, maybe you’re applying to work as a copywriter, so, get creative with words. Sell yourself in your cover letter like you’re selling a product. If you do something like this, you don’t even need to detail your creativity in your cover letter, let alone under your resume’s skills section – the application package speaks for itself and allows you more room to discuss other skills.
Most jobs require collaboration, whether with co-workers, clients or solely the boss, so it’s great to highlight that you’re a team player in your application. Don’t just leave it at that, though – what was the context of the team you’d previously been on? How many people were on the team? What’s the evidence that you all worked well together? As long as you can explain your part in collaborating with the team to reach an end goal, your cover letter will let your teamwork skills shine through.
A good way to decide which soft skills to include in your cover letter overall is to take ideas straight from the job posting. Alter the wording the company uses, and take cues from what the job posting entails. As long as your soft skills are detailed, tailored and, most importantly, have a wealth of evidence to back them up, they’ll look great in your cover letter.
Does your application still need an extra boost? Purchase one of Style Nine to Five’s Job Application Templates!
Emily Morrison is a media professional with passions for writing, film and popular culture.
Featured Image: Adobe Stock