Getting Started Resumes & Cover Letters

4 Tips to Sneak Soft Skills in Your Resume

Written by Miranda Pennington

What should your resume looks like? There are plenty of standard resume tips and resume best practices out there, but only a few provides actionable tips. Here are some savvy tips you can incorporate soft skills into your resume. It’s often easier to just list your last five positions than to think of creative ways to sell your personality, but consider these steps to include soft skills into your resume!

1. Use Soft Skills Mentioned in the Job Posting

When in doubt, always harvest from the ad that told you the job was available! Odds are they’ll mention “detail-oriented” or “enthusiastic and self-motivated” if that’s what they’re looking for. Others may want someone well-equipped to work closely with a team or someone who thrives working in solitude. Once you’ve decoded what they’re looking for, think of how you can signal that you possess those qualities by showing, not just telling.

2. Use Relevant Verbs

One way to subconsciously clue your future boss in to your exceptional soft skill abilities is the verbs you choose. Once you know what you want to convince your boss you’re able to do, choose strong verbs to assign a responsibility to, and have at it!

Communications Skills

Addressed, Arranged, Collaborated, Communicated, Developed, Influenced, Mediated, Negotiated, Proposed, Reconciled, Resolved, Synthesized

Creative Skills

Adapted, Composed, Created, Designed, Established, Introduced, Originated, Planned, Revised, Revitalized, Solved

Helping Skills

Advocated, Aided, Assessed, Contributed, Demonstrated, Guided, Motivated, Resolved, Supplied, Supported, Volunteered

Organizational Skills

Arranged, Catalogued, Categorized, Collected, Compiled, Filed, Generated, Logged, Maintained, Routed, Scheduled, Standardized, Updated, Verified

Teaching Skills

Advised, Coached, Coordinated, Enabled, Encouraged, Facilitated, Instilled, Trained, Tested, Transmitted, Tutored

3. Provide Concrete Examples

Whenever you’re stuck, think of the STAR method—“Situation, Task, Action, Result”—to back up what you did, how you did it, and why it matters.

  • Situation: “As the medical clinic’s head receptionist…”
  • Tasks: “…responsibilities included maintaining schedules, administering paperwork, filing appointment records…”
  • Action: “….and developing a systematized approach to the coordination of care between offices.”
  • Result: “This coordinating system has now been adopted by all five clinics in the building and facilitates clearer communication and speedier medical care across the clinic.”

4. Highlight Your Leadership Qualities

Emphasize the roles in which you’ve supervised others, developed flagship protocols or policies, or headlined important projects! Once again, make sure you have specific examples to support each instance. If you make it to the interview, you’ll want to illustrate your claims with quantitative experience.

About the author

Miranda Pennington

Miranda K. Pennington is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared on The Toast, The American Scholar, and the Ploughshares Writing Blog. She currently teaches creative nonfiction for Uptown Stories, a Morningside Heights nonprofit organization. She has an MFA from Columbia University, where she has also taught in the University Writing program and consulted in the Writing Center.