How to Make Your Resume Stand Out (Part 2)

Time for part 2! Last time, we talked about some basics with hard skills. Now it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work on those soft skills. As you do this, remember how valuable these skills are! For the most part, they cannot be taught. Therefore, they carry a lot of weight.

There’s no “i” in team!

With teamwork/relationship building, how can a resume demonstrate to readers you have what it takes? I mean, anyone can just write the words on the resume, but that’s “telling” instead of “showing.”

Maybe you were in a role that involved working across different departments. That certainly shows the ability to work on teams (and multi-task as well if you had to balance needs of all these departments). Or perhaps you worked in an account management role where you built and/or maintained client relationships. How many clients were in your book of business? To really clarify, you’ll want to give some indication so readers know the volume of your work.

Now really dig in

What point in the life cycle of a client did you play a part? Were you the initial contact who set things up and passed it along? Did you handle the relationship from soup to nuts? If you were one step of many, you were likely working as part of a team of people handling account management. Happily, this is another example of working on a team that you can showcase on your resume. If you handled every step of account management, you can focus more on your client relationship-building skills since you weren’t as team-based.

Are you seeing how this works? When you start to dig deeper, you can usually find all sorts of ways to express these soft skills and really make your experience pop.

Nearly everyone can demonstrate strategy and problem solving

Seemingly reserved for higher-level roles, these soft skills actually apply to numerous positions. Many in administrative support roles may be quick to say they don’t have examples, but that’s rarely true!

Handled any projects lately?

If you spearheaded a project to implement a new phone system, you had to strategize and problem solve. If you handled a scanning project, you had to strategize and problem solve. When you handled a project from beginning to end, you had to strategize and problem solve. You had to plan your work, do the work, and troubleshoot along the way.

On the other hand, maybe you didn’t do all the work on the project because it was too big for one person. Maybe you were the individual who brought all the pieces together and synthesized the overall project. Well, great news! Now you’re showing ability to strategize, problem solve, and work on a team.

If you weren’t the planner but instead were one of many who contributed to the overall project, then you also worked on a team and accomplished a specific goal. Either way, you have a lot here in terms of potential resume content.

How to incorporate this new info

When adding this soft skills detail to your resume, you don’t have to become verbose. But at the same time, don’t undersell yourself by saying “facilitated implementation of new phone system” or “involved in update of office phones.” Ask yourself what you did in the beginning. Maybe you had to research vendors, the process, and outcomes for a presentation to directors. Maybe you had to compare vendors and get multiple quotes as part of that presentation and summarize differences between what each vendor offers for the quoted price.

Once a direction was selected, maybe you steered the whole process. Most likely, you had to anticipate the process, ask questions, prep the team, and catch problems before they started. Then there’s the aftermath—troubleshooting and maybe some growing pains. Doesn’t that make one simple bullet point on “facilitation” seem underwhelming in comparison to the reality? It will also seem underwhelming to readers. These are all marketable experiences that bring value. Be sure to use them!

Still stumped on how to come up with examples?

Behavioral-based questions are a great resource to use for inspiration. These types of questions are meant to make you think deeply and critically about your experience instead of just glazing over it superficially. They force one to think of specific examples and elaborate on processes. For that reason, these questions can turn up information you can use to “show” versus “tell.”

Written by Adam Lafield, Recruiter & Marketing Specialist