Often in these blogs I speak about achievement, hard skills, soft skills, knowledge, and experience. Here briefly are definitions of those terms with examples:
- Achievements describe what you accomplished by applying your skills, education, and experiences—for example, “Saved $250,000 annually by renegotiating vendor contracts.”
- Hard skills are those you accumulate through education and experience, such as the ability to code software, speak Italian, build a house, or audit finances. The best way to demonstrate hard skills is to incorporate them in an achievement. They can also be listed briefly at the top or bottom of the resume (language fluency or financial skills are often handled this way), depending on their importance to the job.
- Soft skills include leadership, teamwork, and the ability to handle difficult situations (for example, difficult customers)—anything that reflects on who you are as a person. These are best shown as part of achievements: “Led team of technical writers and designers in developing user manuals.” If you simply state that you are a great leader, the hiring manager or recruiter has no incentive to believe you. You must demonstrate through an achievement that you practiced your leadership ability and that your leadership had an effect on the company.
- Knowledge includes education, both college degrees and continuing education through workshops, seminars, post-graduate courses, and so on. (High school education is generally not mentioned unless you are applying for your first job as a teenager.) You should mention if you are working toward a degree or if you fulfilled some of the requirements toward a degree.
- Experience includes board memberships, volunteer work, participation in professional organizations, publications, and relevant hobbies (for example, membership in a softball team when you are applying to sell sports equipment).
Your resume should highlight achievements, hard and soft skills, education, and experience because they are unique to you and make you stand out from the competition. Whether you call it “branding” or a “unique value proposition” or any other name, what employers want to know is why they should hire you and not the other guy.
Having trouble identifying and writing about the achievements, skills, knowledge, and experiences that make you a valuable employee? Contact Robin’s Resumes® for the help you need.