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Stop Using These Soft Skills on Your Resume Immediately

Every resume needs a “Skills” or "Core Competencies" section to showcase a list of all your abilities and capacities. It’s a crucial part of selling yourself to prospective employers. Indeed, even affordable resume writers in Denver CO often put lots of time and effort into crafting the best lists of skills.

However, there are certain skills – especially soft skills – that you’re better off leaving out of your resume. By including them, you could be harming your chances of impressing an employer and getting the job you seek. This guide will look at some of the most basic, boring, and irrelevant soft skills to delete from your resume right away.

image of a male and female saying no way with the words "Skills to not include on your resume"

Mistakes to Avoid When Listing Your Soft Skills

Soft skills are important. There’s no doubt about that. But what exactly are soft skills? Employers want to know about them, and you can’t leave them off your resume entirely and hope to make a good impression. However, a lot of jobseekers make the same mistakes time and again when highlighting soft skills on their resumes.

Here are some examples to look out for.

Soft Skills You Should Avoid Using In Your Resume

Bullet points are absolutely worth including in your resume. They help to break down information and make it easy to read for recruiters. However, too many applicants simply write out lists of boring and vague soft skills that look like this:

  • Communication

  • Creativity

  • Teamwork

  • Organization

  • Eager

  • Ambitious

  • Motivated

  • Punctual

  • Customer focused

  • Team Player

  • Effective

  • Results Driven

  • Problem Solver

  • Flexible

  • Excellent Communicator

  • Highly Qualified

These kinds of soft skills are far from convincing. In fact, in many cases, they’re a sign of laziness, as it looks like the applicant has simply copied and pasted a list of generic skills from a website. In short, recruiters won’t be impressed by these one-word soft skills. Instead, they need to see real proof of your soft skills in action (more on that below).

image showing bubbles on the left and bubble on the right. Bubbles on the left show keywords for hard skills like "Teachable, Specific, Ability" and bubbles on the right show soft skills like "Communicate, Empathetic, Listen"

Vague Soft Skills

Vagueness is something else that recruiters hate to see on resumes. Vague statements or soft skill lists simply take up space on the paper, offering no real value and doing nothing to impress employers. There are certain soft skills which sound particularly vague and are often better left out or replaced with something more specific.

Examples of vague soft skills include “Reliable,” “Flexible,” and “Hardworking.” Often, there are much better alternatives you can work into your resume that have clearer and more specific definitions. Rather than “Reliable,” for example, you could sell yourself as “Excelling.” Instead of “Hardworking,” you could highlight your problem-solving skills or analytical abilities by using verbs or action words like "Demonstrated".

Irrelevant Skills

One of the golden rules of resume writing is that you should always tailor your resume to suit the role you’re applying for. It needs to be filled with relevant content that proves why you’re the best fit for that particular job. That goes for the soft skills, too. Your resume needs to highlight soft skills that matter for the job in question, and any irrelevant skills should be removed.

Let’s say you’re applying for a role as an archivist, for example. That kind of work has a specific list of relevant soft skills, like precision, ability to work independently, and organization. There’s not much need, therefore, to focus on soft skills like “Teamwork” or “Communication,” even if those skills are crucial in other lines of work.

list of words showing hard skills vs soft skills

Typos and Other Mistakes in Your Skills List

This one applies to every part of your resume, not just the soft skills list. Recruiters hate to see typos and other mistakes in the text. It shows a lack of professionalism, and it can be particularly ironic if a candidate claims to be “Organized” or “Attentive to Detail,” when they have errors in their resumes. That’s why it’s always crucial to proofread a resume before sending it out.

How to Demonstrate Soft Skills Correctly on a Resume

As mentioned, soft skills have a place on every resume, but you shouldn’t just add them at random or include lists or skills that are vague or irrelevant. Instead, here are some smarter and more convincing ways to demonstrate your soft skills to employers.

Incorporate Soft Skill Mentions in Other Resume Sections

Let’s say that you want to show recruiters you’re a good leader or manager. You could simply write “Leadership” as a bullet point in your “Skills” section. But, as explained above, that’s not very convincing. It’s much more effective to demonstrate soft skills like this in other resume sections and back them up with proof or context.

In the “Experience” section, for example, you can highlight previous roles you’ve had where leadership was important. Discuss how you “Led a team” in the past or “Took the lead on projects” to show how you’re comfortable in positions of authority. Similarly, if you want to show that you’re a good communicator, mention how your past work has included team projects or “customer-facing” positions.

Match Your Skills to the Job Description

As stated above, one of the biggest mistakes that applicants make is submitting a generic resume with information that isn’t relevant to the role they want. To avoid this, always make sure to read through job listings and requirements. Then, use that information to tailor your resume accordingly, including all the elements that the employer wants to see.

For example, a job description might mention ideal candidates being adaptable and strong communicators. From there, you can adapt your resume to highlight examples of you adapting to different roles and situations. You can also include experiences that demonstrate your communication skills to sell yourself as the ideal candidate for the job.

Avoid Soft Skill Mistakes on Your Resume

Vague or irrelevant soft skill lists could be the reason your resume keeps getting rejected. The best resume and LinkedIn profile writing services can help you make the necessary changes. Alternatively, you can try updating your resume by yourself, trimming out skills that aren’t worth talking about and putting the focus on your most valuable and relevant capacities, instead.

Remember to cut out any boring bullet point lists that don’t serve any real purpose. Additionally, try to show off the skills you’re most proud of by backing them up with stories, evidence, or explanations of how you put those skills to use. With these improvements, your resume should stand a much better chance of producing a positive reaction.

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