The Soft Skills Dilemma: Communicating Interpersonal Skills In Your CV

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In the fast-paced world of recruitment, where hiring managers spend mere seconds glancing over a CV, the representation of skills is paramount. While most of us are adept at showcasing our technical qualifications, it’s the softer, interpersonal skills that often get overlooked, leading to the so-called ‘soft skills dilemma’. These skills, which include communication, teamwork, and empathy, can set you apart from the sea of similarly qualified candidates. 

So, how do you effectively communicate these skills in your CV? Here are some essential pointers to guide you.

1. Harness The Power Of Resume Templates

Classic resume templates have stood the test of time for a reason: they’re clear, organized, and immediately recognizable to hiring managers. These templates shine by emphasizing work experience and educational qualifications. To ensure that your softer attributes aren’t overshadowed, incorporate them seamlessly within this tried-and-true structure. 

Consider adding a dedicated section or sidebar that highlights your interpersonal skills. Using bullet points or brief narratives, illustrate specific instances where you’ve employed these skills, demonstrating to potential employers the tangible impact of your intangible assets within the familiar framework they appreciate.

2. Quantify Where Possible

The greatest challenge with soft skills is that they’re, well, soft. They can come across as vague or generic. One way to provide more substance to your claims is by quantifying them. 

For instance, instead of merely stating “excellent team player”, you could say “Collaborated with a 5-member team to complete projects 20% ahead of schedule”. By giving numbers and context, you make your skills more tangible and believable.

3. Use Action Verbs

Your CV is not just a list but a story of your professional journey. And to make it compelling, you need action verbs. When detailing your soft skills, words like “collaborated”, “mediated”, “spearheaded”, and “facilitated” can breathe life into your descriptions, painting a clearer picture of how you operate in a team or workplace setting.

4. Gather Testimonials

What better way to validate your soft skills than to have others vouch for them? While traditional CVs may not have space for testimonials, you can always incorporate a line or two from a colleague, supervisor, or client who has praised your interpersonal skills. 

Just be sure to keep them relevant and concise. You can also include a brief note indicating that further references are available upon request.

5. Highlight Extracurricular Activities

While professional experience is essential, sometimes, our soft skills shine brightest outside the confines of our 9 to 5 jobs. Maybe you’ve captained a local sports team, organized community events, or volunteered for a cause close to your heart. These activities are goldmines for showcasing leadership, teamwork, organizational skills, and more. 

Dedicate a section in your CV for such activities, ensuring you relate them back to the soft skills they demonstrate.

6. Customize For The Job

Just as you’d tailor your CV to highlight specific technical skills for a particular job role, the same goes for soft skills. Every job description will have subtle hints about the kind of interpersonal attributes the employer values. Whether it’s the ability to work under pressure, mediate conflicts, or build cross-departmental relationships, ensure your CV reflects those specific skills prominently.

7. Reflect Soft Skills In Your Cover Letter

Your cover letter presents another excellent opportunity to showcase your interpersonal skills. Instead of just reiterating what’s on your CV, delve into narratives. 

Share stories that give insight into how you’ve resolved conflicts, motivated teams, or gone the extra mile to achieve customer satisfaction. This anecdotal approach can be incredibly persuasive and offers a depth that a bullet-pointed CV might miss.

Conclusion

The soft skills dilemma need not be a dilemma at all. With a thoughtful approach and a keen understanding of what potential employers seek, you can turn this challenge into an opportunity. 

Remember, while technical skills may get your foot in the door, it’s often your interpersonal abilities that secure your position in a company. So, invest time in portraying them effectively on your CV. In doing so, you’re not just listing qualifications but weaving a compelling story of a well-rounded professional ready to make a mark.

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