Greg Twemlow, Founder of The Skills Studio, says that the job market no longer refers to "hard" and "soft" skills as a binary. Recruiters and HR professionals now appreciate that you can't have one without the other.
Working to tweak your resume for the job market can be a challenge, especially if you have yet to secure a new role since the pandemic's beginning. The recruitment landscape looks different now, as hybrid positions are everywhere. Soft skills are now more relevant and valuable than hard skills.
What are soft skills?
Soft skills, often called "people skills," are also known as common or core skills, and also known as core competencies. The Skills Studio pedagogical model and related training programs develop these nine skills:
4. Self Manages
"I like to think about whether a person has career-ready competencies or universal competencies," Twemlow says. "As we grow in these areas, it's important to recognize that these are universal competency areas that all working professionals need to have at the ready. The more we can be mentored and cultivate the nine skills, the more success we can achieve in our careers."
"An employee can't just focus on technical skills and never utilize the soft skill set or grow their soft skill set," Twemlow adds. "Someone charged with primarily doing a single task – for example, data entry – will still need to communicate and collaborate with their coworkers and their managers, understand the higher reason, the purpose of this data, and other strategic factors of their work."
Why do we need soft skills?
Twemlow notes that soft skills are essential because they increase employee fulfillment by creating an environment with friendly, curious, and competent workers. They also maximize learning potential, as those with soft skills enable a person to reflect on criticism and build leadership skills constructively.
Soft skills in the hybrid world
The most common soft skills, or universal competencies, have changed as the hybrid world has evolved. A recent survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) on the most desired soft skills for new hires found that Self-Management and Analytical Thinking are two of the most important behavioral competencies.
"Analytical thinking is typically the largest gap that employers are identifying," Twemlow adds. "This means we need more people who can use a little knowledge, ask questions, lean in with curiosity, and apply that knowledge to other situations to think more globally or connect the dots across different situations."
Additionally, specifically in the hybrid workplace, employees who are confident Persuaders are vital for a team to function effectively.
"Some of the soft skills in the hybrid workplace are heightened, such as Listening, Writing, and Persuading," Twemlow says. "So these are the abilities a talent manager would want to screen for in a hybrid employee. In a hybrid workspace, there is an expectation that you will be more autonomous."
Resume writing in the hybrid era
Mr Twemlow notes that resumes for hybrid roles are different to resumes for in-person or fully remote positions, and you've got to thoroughly outline why you're a solid fit for the job.
"When you're applying for a remote or a hybrid position, you need to be calling attention to your well-developed skill sets in areas that make you a more qualified candidate for remote work."
Your skill set should indicate that you have an ability to self-manage, the skills and tools to be productive working remotely from the office, and the ability to collaborate effectively from a distance.
"You need to be able to highlight how autonomous you are and how you can operate outside of an office structure while also fostering teamwork and collaboration in a setting that doesn't default to those talents just because you're in an office," Twemlow says.
Should I specify soft skills on my hybrid resume?
Twemlow says that the short answer is yes – soft skills are essential to highlight on your resume if you're applying for a hybrid role.
"In today's careers, people are never going to be wholly in-person or remote," he says. "So working across teams with different people in many different places is incredibly important. People must highlight their skills relating to skills like cultural EQ and showcase their talents in building teams, working collaboratively, and making independent decisions that are in the organization's best interest."
As for how you should phrase these skills on a resume, Twemlow says you should refrain from listing them outright, as it doesn't paint a complete picture of who you are.
"An applicant should be reading the job description and customizing their resume to that job description," he says. "Most important is to show, not tell. Talent managers want to see examples of skills, not just say that you have skills. Explain how you have applied your skills to benefit past employers."
As you're describing your past roles, in the area where you put details about your accomplishments, think of creative ways to phrase your abilities referencing your inventory of soft skills.
The key takeaway: customize your resume
While you might think that soft skills would get glazed over by resume-scanning software before any talent recruiter could see them, Twemlow says it's still worth your time to cater your resume to a role.
"Typically, the size of the company correlates to whether they're using an automated system," he notes. "An automated system looks much different across sectors as well. Some automated systems will screen for certain words, or certain phrases, while some actually send out the full resume to the screening professionals or the HR professional for screening."
However, whether you're sending out a resume to a person or an automated system, Twemlow concludes that a generic resume looks weaker than one that's been thoughtfully personalized for a specific role.
© Copyright Greg Twemlow 2022