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.
What is read more? Your resume or your LinkedIn profile?
I would say at least in more than half of the conversations I have with job seekers, they end up asking me if they should have their LinkedIn profile written, or just their resume?
What do hiring managers read the most? The resume or a LinkedIn profile?
The answer is BOTH.
Resumes and LinkedIn profiles are both important because they serve different but complementary purposes in the job search process.
A resume is a formal document that is used to summarize a job candidate’s work experience, education, skills, and other qualifications for a specific job application. It’s usually submitted to an employer as part of the application process.
LinkedIn, on the other hand, is a professional networking platform that provides a digital presence for job seekers. It allows candidates to connect with potential employers, recruiters, and other professionals in their industry, as well as showcase their work experiences, skills, and accomplishments through their profile.
Together, a strong resume and LinkedIn profile can help a job candidate to present a complete and compelling picture of their qualifications and expertise to potential employers.
The resume provides detailed information about a candidate’s experience, while the LinkedIn profile provides context, endorsements, and network connections that help to bring the candidate’s qualifications to life.
A resume helps a job seeker to do the following four things:
Summarize work experience and qualifications: A resume provides a concise overview of a job seeker’s work experience, education, skills, and other qualifications, making it easier for employers to quickly assess a candidate’s suitability for a job.
Stand out from other candidates: A well-crafted resume can help a job seeker to stand out from other candidates by highlighting their strengths, achievements, and unique qualifications.
Make a positive first impression: A professional-looking and well-organized resume is crucial in making a positive first impression on potential employers.
Target specific job opportunities: A job seeker can tailor their resume to match the requirements and qualifications listed in a specific job posting, making it easier for them to show how their experience and skills align with the needs of the employer.
A LinkedIn profile helps a job seeker to do the following four things:
Build a professional network: LinkedIn allows job seekers to connect with potential employers, recruiters, and other professionals in their industry, which can lead to job opportunities and career growth.
Showcase expertise and achievements: LinkedIn provides a platform for job seekers to highlight their work experience, skills, and accomplishments, helping them to stand out from other candidates and demonstrate their value to potential employers.
Stay up-to-date in the industry: LinkedIn is a source of news and information about the job seeker’s industry, allowing them to stay informed about the latest trends and developments in their field.
Expand their visibility: By having a strong LinkedIn profile, job seekers can increase their visibility and be discovered by potential employers and recruiters, even if they are not actively searching for a new job.
A resume provides a formal document that summarizes a candidate’s work experience, education, skills, and qualifications for a specific job application, while a LinkedIn profile provides a digital presence that allows job seekers to connect with potential employers, recruiters, and other professionals in their industry, showcase their expertise and accomplishments, and expand their visibility.
Having both a well-crafted resume and LinkedIn profile helps job seekers to present a complete and compelling picture of their qualifications and expertise to potential employers, increasing their chances of being considered for job opportunities. By having both, job seekers can also target specific job openings, stand out from other candidates, make a positive first impression, and stay up-to-date in their industry.
In conclusion, having both a LinkedIn profile and a resume is crucial for job seekers as they serve different but complementary purposes in the job search process.
What do you think is most important? What gets more interest– your resume or your LinkedIn profile?
Don’t Give Up The Job Search Just Because The Holidays Are Near
I’ve been talking with job seekers lately who ask whether they should job search right now or wait until after the New Year.
The holidays are upon us and many worry it isn’t a good time.🎅
But–there are many benefits to continuing on with your job search.
🎄 𝐂𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐚𝐧𝐲 𝐛𝐮𝐝𝐠𝐞𝐭𝐬. Companies have new budgets in place to entice and hire #candidates. They are still #hiring and actively looking.
🎄 𝐌𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐦𝐚𝐥 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐞𝐭𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧. Your competition is less since many people decide to hold off until the new year. Plus, you will impress companies with your dedication and commitment.
🎄 𝐌𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞. Things are winding down at your company due to the holidays and end of the year, so you have more time to focus on #job search
🎄 𝐏𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐠𝐨𝐨𝐝 𝐦𝐨𝐨𝐝𝐬. People are generally in better moods around the holidays. More time off, seeing family and friends (via remotely this year, unfortunately), shopping, and reflection. It’s a perfect time to reach out and start a #conversation.
I asked career professionals on LinkedIn what their thoughts were on the subject. Read what they have to say:
Hannah Morgan, Job Search Strategist, Career Sherpa: November and December are great months for conversations and you are so right, many companies are either trying to fill roles that are still vacant now or line up candidates to hire Jan. 1. Don’t put on the brakes!
Ed Han, Talent Acquisition Geek, Recruiter: As a corporate recruiter: let me reassure your readers & followers that if the job posting is up, I AM READING APPLICATIONS.
Scheduling interviews may take longer, but if it’s open, that hiring manager has funds earmarked towards that hire and is anxious to use them, because they’ll get asked if they really need the position or not by their boss, or their boss’s boss.
Nicole Reyes, Sn. Technical Recruiter:I’ve noticed that many hiring managers want new hires to start in January of the new year, which means they’re willing to schedule interviews with candidates this time of year. It’s worth your time to search for a position during this period, even if the search is a bit slower because people will be out of the office more with the holidays.
Greg Roche, Career Transition Coach:Take your holiday card list and see who you can connect with in person. Send them a card too, but use this list as a way to get back in touch with people who are important to you, but likely haven’t talked to in a while. This helps you practice connecting and you never know where it might lead Erin.
Andrea Yacub Macek, Top Job Expert to Follow, Career Coach: The best time to network, market, and job search is when you are ready to do so in your season of life. If you need to take a break, do so, and if you want to continue networking or job search, do so; there are always benefits. These are some significant reasons you asked Erin Kennedy to continue instead of stop.
Asking your boss for a raise can be one of the most anxiety-inducing things you ever do at your job. Because of how nerve-wracking it is, many people wait too long to get the raise they deserve. Too many people fail to understand that there’s no reason to be anxious about asking for a raise, especially if you’ve been working hard and helping the company grow. However, there are some ways to ask for a raise that are better than others and have a higher likelihood of getting you what you deserve.
Even if your manager praises you daily, you’ll still need to give them a reason why you deserve more money, and you should be prepared to negotiate your rate. Here’s tips on how to ask your boss for a raise.
Your resume has changed since you applied for your current position. As you’ve worked for the company many years, you’ve picked up new skills and found new ways to help the business expand. Whether you have quarterly or annual performance reviews, the odds are you’ve received positive feedback since your last review. Keep all the praise you receive organized, so you can use it to build your case for why you deserve a raise.
You should also give yourself an evaluation. Make a list of all you’ve accomplished for the business. If anything goes above and beyond your job duties, make a note of what it is and how often you do it. You should also add any long hours you’ve worked to the list and include everything from your managers’ reviews to coworkers’ feedback.
Have Data Prepared
People respond best to facts and data. If you want a raise, you’ll need to bring numbers to the table. Now that you have a list of all of your accomplishments, try to add details by adding numbers when possible. You can even use invoices to track your pay stubs.
For example, if your department benefitted from your work, try to include how they benefited, such as an increased rate of productivity or time and cost savings. Be as specific as possible. If you increased sales by a certain percentage or led a team who did, add that to your list. Bringing details to the conversation gives proof as to why you deserve a bump in pay.
Consider the Future
Employees ask for raises because they have a track record of working hard and succeeding. However, managers and bosses need to know you’re looking for an opportunity to grow within the company, and not just for the money. When you ask for a raise, consider talking about next steps, more responsibility, or what is necessary to rise to the next level. You can also come prepared with a detailed explanation of where you see yourself within the company and where you want to go in the future.
Check the Handbook
Knowing when to ask for a raise can help you be successful in getting gone. For example, an upcoming performance review allow you to advocate for yourself to HR or the business owner so you can get a raise exactly during a time when the company is considering your future with them.
Your employee handbook will give you an idea about how raises and promotions are handled within your company. While these career milestones can happen at any time, they typically happen during performance reviews, which allow you to prepare for the right moment to ask for a raise.
Give Them a Number
Asking for a raise and not knowing how much you want or need to stay with the company can be detrimental to your cause. If you want a raise, you should have a number in mind—determining the amount and sharing it with your boss is the reason why many people have anxiety in these situations. However, if you have done your research and know your value, as well as your contributions to the company, you feel confident in what you think is fair, and, you’ll have a higher chance of success.
Don’t forget, your boss may try to negotiate. So be prepared to compromise. Consider other non-monetary perks, such as vacation, education benefits, etc. air rate would be by 10%.
Book a Time
This is not a discussion that you want to have in the hallway. Book a time with them when you know they’ll have nothing else on their mind. Consider the company schedule, as well as their responsibilities.
Asking for a raise can be intimidating, but the worst thing that can happen is being turned down. Most people will not get fired because they want more money. HR professionals expect that almost all employees will eventually ask for a raise or a promotion to improve their work/life balance.
By practicing with your friends and family, you can make the ordeal less stressful. You’ll be able to go into the meeting anticipating what your boss will ask or how they’ll reply to certain parts of the conversation.
Matt Casadona has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a concentration in Marketing and a minor in Psychology. Matt is passionate about marketing and business strategy and enjoys San Diego life, traveling, and music.
Are you thinking that 2022 is the year you really want to score that executive-level position with your company? Or for a completely new organization? Either way, you’re going to want to have your marketing tools ready for the new year-new job search adventure, and being able to present hiring managers and recruiters a targeted, executive-level resume is the first step in the process.
Whether you haven’t updated your resume in 20 years or two, it’s still necessary to take a long inventory of what is currently on the resume, what needs to be added, and what you can do to make it better. Here are a few tips to get you started…
Everybody knows that you should have your contact information, work experience, and education on your resume. However, this information still needs to be strategically written and displayed, so that it stands out and doesn’t just look like a pile of information you quickly plopped on a piece of paper.
In your contact information, include your name (professional), relevant credentials (CPA, MBA, PhD, etc.), phone number (mobile is preferred), email address (personal-not work or school email), and your location (city/state is sufficient). Your name should be bigger and stand out more than the rest of your information, which should be displayed professionally, either after or underneath your name. Include the word “LinkedIn,” and link your resume to your online profile, if, and only if, your online profile is complete and optimized for your new job search. (It needs to send the same message as your resume.)
Your career history needs to start out with a strong title. PLEASE do not use the words “work” or “employment” in your title. Think of how an executive would talk about his/her career. “Professional Experience,” “Career Narrative,” or “Career Chronology” are some other options. Write this section so that it is keyword-saturated, achievement-focused, and achievements are quantified where possible. If you were a sales leader or in a position where you made an impact in growing business or revenue, this is your opportunity to share this information! Use creative/colored bullet symbols to separate your achievements, and ensure that your job titles and years in each position are accurate.
If you are a new graduate, your education information can be listed at the top of your resume. If you are NOT a new graduate, this section should follow your career history and, depending on how long ago you graduated, you may want to leave the years out of this section. If you make the title “Education & Credentials” (or something of that nature), you can also include any relevant certifications and professional development/training here.
THE EXECUTIVE NEEDS:
Now that you have the basics started, there are other things you need to include in your resume to tell your story, appeal to the reader, and ultimately market yourself effectively for the job you’re vying for.
Use industry-specific keywords and powerful descriptors to paint a brief introductory picture of who you are, what you have done, and the value you can provide in an executive-level role.
Branding is KEY! Come up with a branding statement or at least some type of title at the top of your career summary, so that the reader knows immediately what level you’re at (or want to be at).
What are you known for? What are you good at? What do you love to do? What do you want to continue to do in your next role?
You could also just use a few key terms or even multiple titles (COO, CFO, etc.) to show the reader this information.
If you want to communicate some of your best career successes, adding a “Career Highlights” section just before your employment history is a great idea. Include 3-5 bullets of your biggest career achievements (successful programs you’ve implemented, process improvements, cost reductions); anything that shows where your leadership resulted in a positive outcome for a client or an organization.
Think “results-rich” statements when you are deciding on what to add. Think METRICS. Where did you generate millions in cost savings? What strategies or deep dives did you conduct to see where there were holes and money drains?
How are your problem-solving skills? Do you shine when listening and communicating to your team? Are you good at critical thinking? What about conflict management? Don’t underestimate the power of your soft skills. Companies are hungry for that balance.
Board Leadership & Affiliations
Companies want to hire executives who have industry knowledge and can work with Boards of Directors and/or other c-suite teams. Include your memberships in professional organizations, as well as any board experience you have (paid/volunteer).
How were you able to flex and adapt during the pandemic? What changes have you made, contributed to, or implemented relating to the pandemic? What role did you lay?
Want to level up? Then you better level up the look of your resume. Your format needs to stand out just like your content, so PLEASE, do not do a simple black/white, 12-point Times Roman font for your entire resume! Add some pizzazz! A little bit of color goes a long way in getting your resume to stand out in the pile–and is also very appealing to the eye.
Additionally, including language proficiencies (if you’re seeking a global position), honors, awards, publications, etc., anything that can help the reader to truly get to know you in the brief few seconds taken to scan the resume.
These are just a few things you can do to ensure that your resume is on target to give a strategically written chronology of exactly who you are, what you have accomplished, and the value you can provide in an executive-level position in 2022.
The Executive Interview: Tips to Get You Through the Process and Win the Job
Don’t freak out! Even if you haven’t interviewed for a job in years, there are plenty of things you can do to show a potential employer that you are THE best candidate for the job. While the application/hiring process has grown into a more technical event, the way employers interview executive-level candidates has not. Here are a few tips to help you nail the interview and get to the next step – being offered the job!
Get Your Ducks in a Row…
The HR Manager scheduled the interview, so you know the timeframe you’re working with to be fully prepared to knock their socks off at the interview. Keyword: prepared.
What are Your Ducks…
Map out your trip to the company and know how long it will take you to get there. If it should take you 20 minutes, allow yourself at least 30. Don’t forget about construction, trains, etc.-if you show up late, the interview will be over before it even started.
Spend some time researching the company. Know its product, customers, culture, mission, and financials. Being able to speak the company’s language is key in letting the hiring manager know that you really want to be their newest team member. Check out their social media presence as well. If they found you on LinkedIn, then they probably have a company profile set up on the site as well. View it, know it.
Plan your attire before the day of the interview. Do you need a suit? Or will a tie and dress pants suffice? Leave the dangely jewelry and smelly perfume/cologne at home. You don’t want to set of an asthma attack in the interview room, or even worse make them to have to fumigate the place when you leave-that just would not sit well.
Practice makes perfect….or at least may help! Review your resume and be able to speak in detail when talking about your career history. Research some common interview questions and be prepared to answer THE big question, “Why should we hire you for this position?” Be prepared to share concrete examples of business you’ve won, sales goals achieved, obstacles that have challenged you, and even things you’ve failed at and how you overcame those failures (just not too many of these…). Do you even know what your selling points are? Bottom line – know your strengths and weaknesses and be able to speak candidly about both during the interview.
Have your own list of questions for the interview committee, because you know you will be asked if you have any. Try to stick with questions related directly to job/company information and steer clear of asking about salary levels or benefits…save those for after they give you the job offer.
Supporting Documentation to Have on Hand…
Your Resume: Have enough copies of your resume ready to pass out to the people interviewing you. It is very common to have 4-5+ people interviewing you at the same time for a high-level position.
References/Recommendations: Have copies of your reference page and any letters of recommendations you have received. You may not be asked for them, but if you are-you will be ready.
Presentations: In today’s tech-savvy world, it would not be unheard of to have candidates using some type of media presentation to market their skills and expertise. At your level, financial achievements may speak louder than words, so including charts, graphs, etc. would paint a clear picture of the impact you’ve made during your career.
The Big Day is Finally Here…
Arrive for your interview 10-15 minutes early. Give yourself a quick pep talk in the car, check your teeth for spare remnants of your last meal, dry the sweat from your palms (baby powder works), and head into your interview. As an executive, you are expected to be calm, cool, and collected in any situation.
Greet the receptionist with a smile and be personable. First impressions are still important.
Smile when you are introduced to each person on the interview committee and remember, a firm handshake shows confidence.
Keep your hands on your lap or folded on a table to avoid tapping or appearing jittery. Make eye contact with the person asking you each question and try to look at the entire interview committee a little as you are answering a person’s question.
Preparing for your interview, bringing the right supporting documentation, and showing that you are confident in your abilities while speaking to individual members of the interview committee will help you to show them that they have picked the most qualified and deserving candidate for the job – YOU.
With the recent global pandemic crisis, many of our nation’s businesses, education institutions, and entertainment venues have either lowered or ceased operations completely.
However, if you are in an active job search mode, there are plenty of ways you can still focus on your job search within the safety of your own home. Meaning…don’t use a global crisis or “social distancing” as excuses to stop your job search (March Madness is out-so do you really have anything else to do?).
Here are some tips for staying on top of your job search and getting closer to landing your dream job, even if you have to do so from home.
Fine-tune Your Resume:
Even if you are working remotely from home, you can still find time to dust of your old resume and get it ready for your job search. Focus on updating your achievements, skills, professional development activities, and of course any employment/promotion changes since your last update. Be sure your format and writing quality align with today’s standards, and last but not least, proofread the entire document to ensure it does not have any typos or other errors. If you need help, don’t hesitate to hire a professional resume writing service.
Beef Up Your LinkedIn Profile:
Be honest―when was the last time you actually updated your LinkedIn profile? As this is the biggest professional networking/job search site in the world, you need to use it– and use it daily! Like your resume, your profile needs to contain content that is current and well-written. Are the skills you have on your profile relevant to the skills/qualifications listed in the postings you’re applying to? When was the last time you changed your profile picture? When you created your profile in 2014? Use this site for everything it has to offer―join groups, check out job postings, add to your network, reach out for recommendations, update your settings so recruiters can contact you, etc. With so many people working remotely, you know they are going to be online and not at the water cooler.
Reach out to colleagues and other industry-specific clients who may know of openings in their own workplaces. Email, text, or pick up the phone and call these individuals and let them know you’re looking to make a change in your career. If you’re interested in certain companies, go to their websites and learn more about what they do and if they’re hiring. If so, reach out to the “contact” person listed on the site. Get your name out there!
Plus, during a time of crisis is when people band together in unity. This is a great time to deepen your network even more. Reach out, offer free advice (relating to what you do if applicable), join discussions, and help where you can.
Prepare For Your Interview:
If you’re really ready for a new job, then you really need to be ready to nail the interview. Do you have an interview strategy or style? In today’s professional world, many companies start out with a phone interview, prior to bringing you on-site. How do you sound over the phone? Confident or shaky? Practice answering potential questions and with a voice that is upbeat, full of confidence, and markets you and your credentials. If you’re interview is done via video conferencing, Skype, or FaceTime, then you’re probably also going to need to work on how you will look as you’re answering questions. Practice in the mirror so you can see your facial expressions (my face gives everything away, unfortunately… does yours?).
Do your homework! Know who your audience is (this can be done when talking with the person(s) scheduling the interview with you), as well as the culture of the company so that you have an idea of what to wear to your interview. Gather all of your supporting documentation (resume, references, certifications, etc.), and lastly, look at the travel logistics from your home to the location of the interview, if you do actually have to meet in-person at the company or another remote site.
As with any crisis, there are always things to do to stay positive and keep moving forward in your job search and in life. You may not be able to meet with a hiring manager or recruiter in person for the next few weeks, but you can get yourself prepared to do so in the very near future. While we are all trying to deal with our own version of “Social Distancing”, it certainly does not have to stop job seekers from pursuing their dream jobs. This includes you!