Strong tech skills may be the foundation of your resume, but soft skills are what will make it stand out.

Rapidly improving generative AI tools left many companies scrambling to accelerate their AI strategies, with demand for people with the right tech skills soaring.

However, the demand for so-called “soft skills” has been increasing just as rapidly in the world of work.

According to recent research, more than 70% of companies are experimenting with generative AI, and 65% of business leaders have decided to either increase their AI budgets or create an AI strategy for the first time.

Understandably, this means many tech workers will be focused on up-skilling to keep up; if you’re one of them, don’t make the mistake of overlooking “soft skills.”

Showcasing your soft skills will give you an edge in industries where there might be several equally qualified candidates going for a role, and developing the right soft skills can also ensure that you are poised to quickly adapt to an ever-changing work landscape.

What are soft skills?

The vast majority of soft skills all boil down to this: how you work with and interact with others. It’s no surprise then that they are often simply called “people skills.” They are an umbrella term for the abilities you need to have to be able to collaborate, communicate and work effectively with others.

Why soft skills matter in the age of AI

The most pertinent reason soft skills are worth developing and highlighting, now more than ever? Soft skills can’t be replaced by AI. Even the most cutting-edge generative AI tool is unable to empathize or navigate complex, interpersonal relationships.

In a survey of over 1,000 U.S. employees, while almost eight in ten companies have plans to use AI technology in the future and plan on up-skilling staff accordingly, 84% said new employees must also possess soft skills (and be able to demonstrate them in the hiring process). This number climbed to 90% at companies that have 500 employees or more.

Communication was regarded as the most important soft skill by almost a quarter of respondents, followed by problem-solving (21%) and time management (19%), thought leadership; adaptability and self-motivation were up there too.

What’s more, the World Economic Forum’s 2023 Future of Jobs report showed that analytical thinking and creative thinking remain the most important skills for workers right now, alongside resilience, flexibility and agility.

How to highlight soft skills on your resume

One of the hardest things about showcasing your soft skills is that they are so intangible. Unlike accreditations, completed training and metric-based achievements, it can be tricky to know exactly how to showcase your soft skills. Here are a few ideas:

Provide a targeted overview

Kick off your resume with a summary of your experience as well as your skills. It’s important to tailor this for the job you’re applying for and list the soft skills that you feel would be important to that particular role.

Be specific

Ensure your resume features a succinct and well curated skills section, listing both your hard and soft skills. For example, your hard skills might include software skills like C++, Python and HTML while your soft skills could include teamwork, reliability and strong decision-making capabilities.

Look beyond your job list

The great thing about soft skills is that they can be developed outside of your 9-5. Think things like coaching or volunteering at your local sports club, mentoring, public speaking or taking part in leadership training.

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