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How to write a strong resume

It turns out that personality is every bit as important to getting a job as technical competence according to a 2014 Career Builder survey
It turns out that personality is every bit as important to getting a job as technical competence according to a 2014 Career Builder survey
Photo by Andrew Burton

It turns out that personality is every bit as important to getting a job as technical competence. A 2014 Career Builder survey shows 77 percent of employers believe traits like work ethic, dependability and attitude are just as important as job knowledge. Surprisingly, 16 percent say these “soft” skills are more important than “hard” skills such as knowing how to operate a computer.

Use soft skills in resume writing

Whether you are writing resume for a job search or you are the person reviewing resumes, you should study these job competencies and find a way to describe your positive attributes for each.

Use these top ten skills

More than 2,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals surveyed in February 2014 told CareerBuilder these are the most important skills to look for when hiring. The parentheses indicate the percentage of persons interviewed agreed that this skill is important. Anyone writing a resume should include them when describing job successes.

Recall specific instances when you demonstrated the skill

Use one or more of the following traits when describing your accomplishments in each job listed on your resume. Describe a specific situation and how you demonstrated the skill. For example, emphasize work ethic or dependability by describing how you stayed on task to finish a difficult assignment, prove your self-motivation with how you took on challenging assignments or your team orientation by how you collaborated on a team with a successful outcome.

Strong work ethic (73 percent)

Your resume should describe how you were diligent and worked hard on a project to achieve success. Give a number for the outcome, such as increased sales by 50 percent. That jumps out at the resume reader.

Dependable (73 percent)

Tell about how you were reliable, responsible, and dependable and fulfilled obligations. Using the above work ethic example may suffice. Simply describe the obstacles you encountered on a project and how your organization depended on you to see it through to a successful outcome.

Positive attitude (72 percent)

Your resume should be written with a tone of being pleasant and good-natured, showing a cooperative attitude. It can be especially effective to show how you kept a positive attitude in a high stress situation.

Self-motivated (66 percent)

Your resume should show a willingness to take on responsibilities, strive to be competent and that you are exerting effort toward mastering those tasks. Also, show that you set personal goals and try to succeed at those goals. The goals should be personally challenging and high-achieving. Describing obstacles and your persistence to overcome them is a plus.

Team-oriented (60 percent)

Give examples of how you enjoy working in an organization together with a group of people. Describe your interpersonal orientation as pleasant, cooperative, and sensitive to others and being easy to get along with.

Organized, can manage multiple priorities (57 percent)

Let the reader see how you handle multiple responsibilities. Offer examples of how you manage your time and the time of others well.

Work well under pressure (57 percent)

Your resume should evidence maturity, poise, flexibility, and restraint in coping with pressure, stress, criticism, and setbacks, personal and work-related problems. Describe how you were flexible in a fast-paced workplace or undergoing substantial change.

Effective communicator (56 percent)

Being able to communicate information and ideas in writing and in speaking so others will understand is important. Your well-written resume will help but you really want to give an example of influencing others orally and in writing.

Flexible (51 percent)

It is doubly important to show flexibility because it proves you can work well under pressure. Showing how you respond positively to change in the workplace gives evidence of your competence in both areas.

Confident (46 percent)

Maintaining a healthy level of self-esteem can be tricky. Too much bravado can torpedo your application. However, describing leadership in any small project or initiative goes a long way demonstrating your own powers, abilities, qualities and judgment. Trust in yourself as you describe your past accomplishments.

Survey methodology

Harris Poll conducted this online survey on behalf of CareerBuilder between February 10 and March 4, 2014. They asked 2,138 U.S. hiring managers and human resource professionals from a variety of organizations about their hiring practices. The writer of this article cross-referenced the survey competencies to the Department of Labor O*Net Content Model so the reader can use a full and complete description to build a better resume.

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