In today’s ever-changing work environment, soft skills play a pivotal role in determining professional success. Unlike hard skills, which are about a person’s skill set and ability to perform a certain type of task or activity, soft skills are interpersonal and broadly applicable in the workplace.
Here are five essential soft skills for professional success, along with examples of how to showcase them in your resume or cover letter.
Importance: Effective communication is crucial in any workplace setting. It involves clearly conveying ideas, listening actively, understanding others’ perspectives, and responding appropriately. Good communicators can inspire and influence people, fostering a positive and productive work environment. Think about the leaders you know who inspired you. What was one of their best qualities? I bet it was the ability to communicate with their team.
How to Use in Resume/Cover Letter: In your resume, include instances where your communication skills led to positive outcomes, such as resolving conflicts, delivering presentations that won significant accounts, or leading workshops that improved team performance.
In your cover letter, you might write, “I have honed my communication skills through various leadership roles, consistently ensuring clear and effective dissemination of objectives and fostering an atmosphere of open dialogue.”
Importance: Collaboration and the ability to work well with others are fundamental in most jobs. Employers look for individuals who can contribute to the team, share ideas, and support their colleagues to achieve common goals while not involving themselves in drama.
How to Use in Resume/Cover Letter: Highlight specific projects where your ability to work in a team was evident in achieving results. For instance, “Collaborated with a cross-functional team to increase project efficiency by 30%, demonstrating strong teamwork and problem-solving skills.” In a cover letter, mention how you believe in the power of teamwork to overcome complex challenges and bring innovative solutions to life.
Importance: The ability to identify problems, analyze underlying causes, and implement solutions is invaluable. Problem-solving skills show that you can navigate challenges creatively and effectively, a quality that is highly prized in any role. We like to use CAR stories (Challenge, Action, Results). What was the challenge you faced? What action did you take to change it? What were the results?
How to Use in Resume/Cover Letter: Provide examples of situations where you successfully solved a problem or made an improvement. For example, “Identified a bottleneck in the production process and implemented a new strategy that reduced delivery times by 20%.” Your cover letter could explain a scenario where your problem-solving skills led to a significant breakthrough in a project or task.
Importance: In a fast-paced work environment, change is constant. Being adaptable means you can handle unexpected situations with ease and remain flexible in your approach to challenges and new tasks. How can we forget the pandemic? Adaptability in a time of crisis wins every time.
How to Use in Resume/Cover Letter: Mention experiences where you had to quickly adapt to changes or learn new skills to meet the demands of your role. In your resume, this could be, “Adapted to a rapidly changing work environment by learning new software in a short period, which increased the team’s productivity by 15%.” In your cover letter, reflect on a time when your adaptability allowed you to successfully navigate a difficult situation.
5. Emotional Intelligence
Importance: Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage your own emotions and those of others. It involves empathy, social skills, self-awareness, and self-regulation. High emotional intelligence can lead to better relationships at work, improved leadership skills, and a positive workplace culture.
How to Use in Resume/Cover Letter: Highlight roles or situations where your emotional intelligence made a difference. This could be through conflict resolution, mentoring colleagues, or leading a team through a stressful period. For example, “Leveraged my high emotional intelligence to mediate a conflict between team members, resulting in enhanced team harmony and productivity.” In your cover letter, discuss how your emotional intelligence has been a key factor in your professional development and success.
Soft skills are increasingly becoming the differentiators between good and great professionals. By effectively showcasing these skills in your resume and cover letter, you can demonstrate to potential employers that you not only have the technical skills required for the job but also the interpersonal capabilities that will make you a valuable addition to their team.
Remember, the key is to provide specific examples that highlight how these skills have contributed to your successes and how they can be beneficial in the role you’re applying for.
It happened…the call about the executive job of your dreams opening up just came through via your contact, and the HR Director wants to see your resume. You might be ready to take the next step in your career, but is your resume ready for an executive-level position? Submitting a bland, non-focused resume with boring content will do nothing but get you taken off of the “call for an interview” list.
Moving on from a middle management position to the c-suite is not for the faint of heart, and your resume needs to show that you have the experience, skills, ROI, and drive to do the job, and do it well. Writing your resume is not just including your career history and where you received your degree, it’s more about creating a document that tells the complete story of who you are, what you have achieved, how you achieved it, and the value you will provide at the next level…in a creative and exciting manner. Below are 5 quick tips that will help you to ensure that your updated resume effectively states “I’m ready for the c-suite and you need to hire me”…
Your format matters – People judge books by their covers! Start with an eye-catching format. While you don’t need to put so much color on your resume that it looks like the 4th of July blew up on your piece of paper, a pop of color will appeal to the reader and help your document to stand out right from the get-go. A font style that is clean and business-like is just as important. Fancy scripts may look pretty, but they are difficult to read and you don’t want people having to work hard to read your text (and believe me, if they have to work hard, they aren’t going to read much past your name).
An exciting executive summary is a must – create a strong career summary that communicates what you have done in your career and the value you can provide at the next level. Include position and industry-specific keywords (not buzzwords…there is a difference!) that match your target position.
Highlight your biggest achievements – include a “Career Highlights” section to give a brief synopsis of your biggest accomplishments if you want. Hint: quantifiable achievements speak the loudest and make a stronger impact than just a bullet list of text. Graphs and charts tell a quick story as well!
Your career history needs to make a big impact in a small amount of time – if you are at an executive-level, it’s pretty safe to say that you have had quite a few years of employment under your belt. Focus on your most recent work experience, and don’t go back more than 15 years into your career history (you can summarize the earlier stuff). A chronological format is the easiest, most clean-cut way to do this. The exception – if your career goals/new job are unrelated to your current job…then you will want to use more of a function format to show that you DO still have the skills and experience for the job you’re trying to land.
Your education information is not as important as your career history – so move it to the end of your resume. Like your career history, degrees received 15+ years ago are probably not going to be as important to the hiring manager as your most recent career experience. Include your degrees and any relevant certifications, but remove the years. The degree is what is important, not when you received it, and announcing “I’m really old…” on your resume is probably not going to win points with the hiring manager. Minimize ageism by eliminating years if they go beyond fifteen. Wow them with your accomplishments and skillset instead.
If you are being recommended for that coveted c-suite position, be sure you have a resume that can back-up up the recommendation. Don’t embarrass yourself (or the friend that recommended you) by submitting a bland resume that does nothing to market you as the ideal candidate for the job. Instead, take the time to update your resume and maximize your chances of being the candidate whose next phone call is “we’d like to offer you the position”!
Should Your Executive Resume and LinkedIn Summary be the Same?
Every executive should know their resume and LinkedIn profile should be treated differently. If not, it’s one of the first things executive resume services will point out. But what about the summary section of each? Many people make the mistake of using the same summary for both their resume and their LinkedIn profile, thinking a hiring manager won’t think twice about it. The truth is hiring managers look at both and want to see different information to learn as much as they can about you before calling you in for an interview. Here’s how to differentiate your summaries.
Your LinkedIn Summary Should Be Longer
Your resume needs to be condensed as much as possible. If you’re like many people, you tend to be a little too wordy on your resume, so executive resume services can help tighten up your sentences for you. On the other hand, a LinkedIn profile writer will tell you the more detail you can provide, the better off you’ll be. You want to be specific with your strengths, what you bring to the table and offer a brief summary of your career up to this point. Think of your LinkedIn summary as a way to pull back the curtain a bit and give a recruiter or hiring manager a glimpse of who you are outside of just a name on a resume.
Formal vs. Informal Tone
Part of your LinkedIn profile development should be writing in an informal tone and showing a bit of your personality. In other words, when a person reads your LinkedIn summary and then hears you speak, they should be able to easily identify you as the same person. Of course, an informal tone can’t be confused with unprofessional, because you still have to present a professional demeanor on your LinkedIn profile. Just tone it down a bit from the formal language used in your resume summary.
Why It’s Important For These Summaries To Be Different
A hiring manager wants to know as much as they can about you upfront before they even invite you for an interview. So if you simply copy and paste the text from your resume summary to your LinkedIn summary, it either indicates you aren’t taking your job search seriously or you may have something to hide. This is why a good LinkedIn profile writer will create their summary separately from their resume summary, while still pointing out all the important facts about them. Professional Resume Services knows exactly what hiring managers and recruiters look for in high level candidates. Job candidates may not think their resume or LinkedIn summary is important, but the reality is both are looked at closely. If you’re in need of some help with your LinkedIn profile development or anything to do with your resume, feel free to reach out to us at any time for assistance.
How Researching Desired Companies Can Help Your Executive Resume
Not too many people looking for a new job have success with blindly sending out their resume to various companies. Companies can receive hundreds of applicants to any given job posting every single day, so they won’t waste their time reading a generic resume. When writing a professional resume today, targeting the specific company you’re submitting your resume to will help yours stand out. A hiring manager will notice and appreciate the homework you’ve done on the company, and they’ll take a closer look at the value you bring to the table. Here are other ways your research of companies will pay off in your job search.
Tap Into The Hidden Job Market
When you have a list of a few companies you’d consider working for, do as much research on them as you possibly can before writing a professional resume. The hidden job market simply means jobs aren’t posted online or anywhere else. Candidates may find out about these jobs at networking events or through other connections. Once you’ve researched the companies of interest, tap into this hidden job market by reaching out to current employees to understand what challenges they face and what value you bring to the table.
Identify The Company’s Challenges
One key to writing resumes that get you hired is identifying the company’s specific challenges, so you can offer a solution. You have to include your hard skills on your resume, but incorporating soft skills is equally as important. The unique aspect about executive resume writing is every word has to offer value to the employer. You have to be able to demonstrate how well you would fit in with the culture, as well as how you can handle day-to-day tasks.
Differentiate Yourself By Offering Unique Value
Any executive resume writing expert will stress the importance of differentiating yourself. One of the best ways to do so is by talking to other higher-level employees at the specific companies you’re targeting. Take note of what they say works well in their organization, as well as what they are working on to improve. Incorporate a mix of those points when writing a professional resume will help yours stand out among the rest. Professional Resume Services is here to point you in the right direction when it comes to executive resume writing. We take the time to ensure every word on your resume matters, and will go to great lengths to help your resume stand out. If you’re in need of help getting started with researching companies, writing your resume, preparing for an interview or any other step in the job search process, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at any time.
The Ultimate Ways to Relax Before An Executive Interview
One of the first steps to getting the job you’ve always desired is finding a way to land an interview. But once you finally get the interview, it’s only natural to experience some nerves and anxiety before and during it. With all the time you spent writing resumes that get you hired, you can’t let a few nerves get in the way of completely dominating your interview. With that said, here are some proven ways to help you relax before you go into your executive interview.
Music Can Be Soothing
Even if you’re not a music lover, listening to the right type of music prior to your interview can help calm your mind a bit. Your heart rate is probably already elevated as you’re traveling to the interview, so avoid upbeat tunes. Instead, find some soothing music, like some classical music, to relax your mind and thoughts. You may be surprised at how relaxed you feel after just a few minutes.
Eat, But Don’t Overeat
When you’re preparing for your interview a few hours or minutes before it begins, it’s easy to forget about eating. The best professional resume writers will tell you to eat a small snack, like a granola bar, crackers, fruit or even as much as a sandwich. Walking into an interview on an empty stomach can make you jittery and cause you to not think straight at times. However, be careful with the amount you eat as well. Overeating can make you feel a little lethargic and cause you to not have as much energy as you need.
Work on Your Posture
Writing resumes that get you hired will only go so far. Your presentation during an interview is critical as well. Working on your posture also can help calm down some of your nerves and anxiety. When you’re sitting in the waiting area, be conscious about sitting up straight. And before that, practice standing straight up with your shoulders back. Simply incorporating good posture will increase your confidence levels and naturally decrease your nerves.
Be Confident in Your Preparation
You’ve visited an executive resume writing service, practiced interview questions and completed diligent research on the company you’re interviewing with. Confidence is one way to alleviate some anxiety, so trust that your preparation is good enough to do well in your interview. Thinking of yourself as an asset to the potential employer will also help you go in with the mindset of them needing you as much as you need them. Professional Resume Services is an executive resume writing service, but we also help our clients throughout the job search process. Whether we can help you brush up your resume, social media accounts or provide advice on nailing an interview, we are always available to talk to you. Feel free to contact us at any time for more advice to help you feel more confident prior to your interview.
Executives can work diligently and do extensive amounts of research to know what to put on a resume, only to struggle with landing a job. There’s a lot of contradictory information on the internet regarding the best executive resume format, the content that should be used in a resume, and more. When you can sort away the myths from the facts, you’ll be in a better position to have success in your job hunt. Here are a few of the most common myths you may have heard.
A Good Resume Guarantees A Job
There are no guarantees in life, and writing an effective resume won’t guarantee you a job either. In fact, many times a resume won’t even ensure you get your foot in the door for an interview, especially if sending out emails to people who don’t know you or haven’t heard of you. Numerous factors go into sorting through resumes for recruiters and hiring managers, so the only thing you can do is your best when writing a resume. However, it’s important not to get discouraged, because it could be factors other than your resume preventing you from landing an interview.
Include As Much Information As Possible on One Page
Another myth is your resume has to be limited to one page, so you should cram as much information as possible on it. The top resume writing services will tell you a two-page resume is perfectly acceptable and even better, especially if you have many years of experience and a significant list of accomplishments. The worst thing you can do is try to fit it all on one page. The best formats are easy to read and incorporate white space throughout the document, so avoid the temptation to stuff as many words as you can onto a single page.
You Can Never Overuse Action Verbs
Action verbs are important when writing an effective resume. What many people don’t realize is there is a difference between a weak action verb and a strong action verb related to resume writing. Weak action verbs include words like “managed,” “supervised,” and others. They are weak because everyone uses them. The overuse of these verbs make them less important, so it is entirely possible to make your resume sound boring when you incorporate them. Instead, focus on actual results rather than the process you went through to achieve the results.
Resumes Aren’t Too Important Anyway
There may come a time when you hear resumes simply aren’t important anymore. The old saying “it’s not what you know, but who you know” is true to an extent. However, no matter what your connection is with someone, a poorly written resume isn’t going to do you any favors. A quality resume may not land you a job on its own, but a bad one can definitely put you out of consideration quickly. Further, the human resource department will need to have a copy of your resume on file, so thinking you won’t need one won’t help you. Professional Resume Services knows about every myth there is regarding executive resumes. We are one of the top resume writing services because we focus on the facts and research exactly what employers want to see. If you have any questions about crafting your resume, or about a possible myth you may have heard, feel free to contact us at any time for advice.
Do you want to know a secret about resumes and cover letters? Employers sometimes put more emphasis on a cover letter than they do a resume, so not focusing on yours can significantly reduce your chances of landing a job. It’s easy to spend a lot of time crafting your resume and not focus on the other important aspects of a job application. An executive resume cover letter gives an HR manager a glimpse of who the person really is behind a resume, so it deserves some time and attention. Another good reason for a cover letter is that even though you hear that many recruiters don’t read them, there are also many recruiters that WON’T read your resume without a cover letter. Here are some other reasons why your cover letter is important.
Cover Letters Make You Stand Out
Standing out is difficult to do when you think about the hundreds of resumes an HR manager has to sift through for any given job post. Your cover letter gives you the chance to fill in any blanks left in your resume, such as employment gaps, transitions, achievements or anything else. Instead of being a supplement to your resume, your cover letter should be an extension of it to tell your complete career story to your potential employer.
Cover Letters Show Your True Self
When writing cover letters for resumes, you have the opportunity to show your personality. Companies want to hire someone with the right skills and experience, but also someone who will fit culturally. Writing in a natural tone will show your true self and help an employer decide if you would be a good fit with the team. If it doesn’t seem like you would fit in well, then you’ll save time by not going to an interview or getting hired only to find out you simply don’t get along with your co-workers.
Sell Yourself With Your Cover Letter
Finally, your executive resume cover letter gives you the chance to sell yourself. You have a blank page to say whatever you want to about yourself, so don’t hold anything back. Let the employer know what you can offer them, how you’re best suited for the position you’re applying for and what your short-term and long-term goals are. Keep it concise, but get your point across clearly with the goal of making the HR manager impressed enough to want to meet you in person. Professional Resume Services is here to help write resumes and cover letters for executives searching for a new job. We focus on all the details of a job search and know exactly what recruiters are looking for in a cover letter. To learn more about how we can help you enhance any aspect of your job search, feel free to contact us at any time.
How and When to Follow Up After Your Executive Job Application
It’s human nature to want to receive a response very shortly after sending in your executive resume for a job application. However, the reality is an HR manager likely has to filter through hundreds of resumes on top of their other job duties, so a quick response rarely happens. That doesn’t mean you should never follow up though. Your executive resume writing service will tell you there’s a right time to follow up, as well as a right way to go about it. Here are some tips to consider once you’ve sent in your resume.
Wait At Least One Week to Follow Up
The HR manager or recruiter likely won’t be contacting anyone for at least one week, so give them time to sort through the stack of resumes. Another tip to consider is sending in your follow up in the middle of the week, since Monday’s are generally the busiest days and Friday’s are more relaxed.
Choose Email Over Other Communication Methods
When writing an effective resume, you likely sent your job application for consideration via email. But even if you didn’t, your follow up should still be sent over email rather than a phone call or an in-person visit. Those two methods demonstrate aggressiveness and could be perceived as pushy. Email shows you’re interested in knowing the status of your application, but will give the recipient time to respond at their leisure.
Consider LinkedIn For A Follow Up
An HR manager’s email inbox may have been flooded with new applications, including yours, so sending a message through LinkedIn could be a welcoming change for them. Just be sure you’ve focused on your LinkedIn profile development prior to reaching out, since your profile will likely be looked at closely. A LinkedIn message could prompt the HR manager to dig through their stack of resumes to find yours, since matching a name with a face is ideal in most situations.
Show Interest Without Being Desperate
Desperation doesn’t look good on anyone. Instead of simply asking what the status of your application is, send in a letter of recommendation along with why you’re interested in working for their company. The key to an effective follow up is giving them something to remember you by. Professional Resume Services is here to help you with anything related to your executive job search. Whether you need some assistance with your LinkedIn profile development, writing an effective resume or knowing what to include in your follow up email, we are here when you need us. Feel free to contact us at any time to learn more about our services.