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Resume Tip: Support Your Soft Skills with Facts

AUTHOR:      Melinda Freels, SPHR
PUBLISHED:  January 1, 2005

Some job seekers believe that personal characteristics do not belong on a resumes because they can be interpreted as ?fluff.? The truth is that fact-filled resumes filled with nothing but hard data are boring and ineffective. On the other hand, resumes that contain nothing but unsupported self-praise are unbelievable. In either case, these are the resumes that get passed over.

While your resume should convince the reader of your personal attributes, it?s not the inclusion of personal traits that make resumes superficial, it?s how the characteristics are presented. With this in mind, remember that all employers seek three common things: solid communication skills, integrity, and a strong work ethic. Take a hard look at your resume. Did you randomly throw in some of the characteristics mentioned above without making supporting statements to substantiate them?

Here?s an example of a superficial sentence: ?Strong communication and marketing skills.? Sounds good, but where are the supporting facts?

A better statement is: ?Displayed outstanding marketing techniques, relationship-selling strategies and persuasive closing skills that generated $350K per month in product revenues.?

See the difference? In the first sentence, simply stating ?strong communication and marketing skills? isn?t enough to convince a hiring manager that your claims are true.

The revised sentence takes a different approach ? not only is the message communicated that results were actually achieved, it lets the hiring manager know that you possess the necessary skills that made it happen.

Presented properly in a professional resume, experience and characteristics can be communicated effectively. Bottom line: your resume is your opportunity to communicate not only your education, experience and skills set, it?s an opportunity to market yourself as someone that possesses soft skills that employers value.

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