The Soft Skills, or Intangibles, on your resume

January 1, 2022

When you’re building your resume, some aspects are obvious: The names of your employers, the dates (I suggest the month and year format) the city and state, and your role/title. Then under each of your jobs, you’ll list the job activities – what you did and what you accomplished. These components should be listed for all your jobs, going in reverse chronological order, for at least 10 years if you’ve been working that long. (There’s more info on tenure in your resume in another post here: https://onpointrs.com/blog/f/how-much-of-your-career-history-should-you-list-on-your-resume)

Another component of what to list may not be so apparent, and some people don’t think to include in their experience section: the intangibles. These components include how you fit in (are you a Leader, a Manager, or a Team Contributor), your timeliness style (do you tend to work in long project cycles, or is your role or style to “put out fires”), and your collaboration dynamics. This last one can be challenging. Some people’s roles by nature may be more isolated (a book editor may have less regular interaction with many people than a team manager would), but at the end of the day, unless you live off the grid and forage for your food, you need to interact with people!

How you fit in

If your usual role is to be a Team Contributor, you’ll want to describe how to fit in on the team. For example:

“Collaborated with six (6) other team members on a major phase of an overall 6-month group project to implement Salesforce across the enterprise. Sub-Lead for a small group that was responsible for the ERP interface”.

If your usual role is to be a Manager, you’ll want to display to the audience the scope your management. This should include the size of the teams you’ve managed, and some overview of what those teams do. For example:

“Directed three (3) teams, each consisting of seven (7) resources, to stand up the enterprise-wide global CRM/ERP strategy for the international company. Overall Manager for 25 people, including technical and support members. Project came in on time and under budget, and impacted over 10,000 employees world-wide.”

If your usual role is to be a Leader or Executive, you want to educate the people reading your resume on your overall “big picture” impact on the company. For example:

“Responsible for the global technology strategy for the North American division of the company. Accomplishments included working with key C-suite stakeholders to propose and implement a complete overhaul of all technology stacks and platforms, an off-shore call center, and technology infrastructure for a customer contact team. Directed the CIO division, which included as many as 75 technical resources, and 25 support people, in the region.

Your timeliness style

This one’s a bit easier. Because of the nature of their jobs, some people work on repeatable tasks week-in and week-out, others work on long project cycles, and other people work in a more hour-to-hour way. This will be obvious to you since you do it, but for your audience, you’ll need to specifically guide them on how you work.

Your collaboration dynamics. 

Again, the nature of your role(s) dictate this and it may be apparent to you, but if you’re looking for a new role outside your current company, you’ll need to educate your audience. Readers will want to see how you work with other people, and to what extent. For example, when I was in Corporate Recruiting, I had a paragraph like this on my resume:

“Attended regular team meetings with Talent Acquisition colleagues to discuss candidates and any new recruiting process changes. Arranged weekly status meetings with key stakeholders to review open roles and strategize on execution tactics.”

If you’d like some help in remaking your resume to implement these changes and get noticed by companies, get in touch with me – The guy who’s been reading your resume for 20 years!

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