4 'highly coveted' soft skills hiring managers want to see on your resume

Recruiters say that "highly coveted" soft skills, like time management and communication, are worth highlighting the next time you update your resume.


As the U.S. economy slowly recovers during the coronavirus pandemic, and the tens of millions of people on unemployment seek out new job opportunities, many will be refurbishing their resumes to send out to prospective employers.

If you're sprucing up your resume in hopes of catching the eye of recruiters and hiring managers, don't forget to highlight some of your soft skills, like your ability to manage time and communicate well, either in your resume intro or as bullets under your previous job experience.

"Employers can teach new hires technical skills to ramp them up," says Vicki Salemi, career expert at Monster, "but soft skills are often more highly coveted."

Here are four soft skills to highlight on your resume, according to career experts.

Ability to work well on a team

Do you jump in to help colleagues with tasks that overwhelm them? Find tools to improve the team's workflow? Leave extra time every day to think about your team's, or your company's, big-picture goals?

If you're a strong team player, make sure to talk that up in your resume, says Brandi Frattini, CareerBuilder's talent acquisition lead. Highlighting that you're collaborative shows prospective employers you'll be easy to work with and will help the team succeed.

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As many as 56% of people would prefer a mix of working from home and from the office when it becomes safe to return, according to a June 2020 Monster poll of 1,613 U.S. respondents.

As companies figure out the best way to serve their workforce's needs during the pandemic, and as remote work continues to be a popular mode of operation, Frattini suggests showing on your resume that you're self-motivated, meaning that you can work independently and take initiative.

This lets prospective employers know they can trust you to get tasks done, even in an environment when they can't necessarily see what you're doing and the team isn't physically together.

Communication skills

"Communication skills and your ability to foster and develop relationships are particularly important right now," says Salemi. People who work from home "rely on technology as an avenue to continue developing and honing work relationships" and as a way to keep their bosses up-to-date on what they're accomplishing.  

Provide details that show potential employers you're comfortable communicating in a variety of ways, that you're forthright about what you need and where your work stands, and that you're clear in your messaging.

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Time management

If you're organized, detail-oriented, and can meet a deadline, highlight your ability to manage time well in your resume.

Again, with so many companies sending their employees to work from home, letting your future bosses know that even without them sitting next to you, looking over your shoulder, you can be relied on to complete your work on time, will give them confidence in you as an employee.

How to feature soft skills on your resume

One thing to keep in mind as you incorporate your soft skills in a resume is, "What's the story behind them?" says Frattini. That is, how did each of these come into play in your previous work?

Rather than simply listing your skills, use achievements and details of your work to illustrate them, she says: "Telling that story [of how you applied them] is going to be how that can come through."

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