When you are applying for a new tech job, how do you know what information to include about yourself?

It’s certainly tempting to list as many of your soft skills and experiences as possible. Wouldn’t it be awful if the skill you chose to leave off, was the very thing the recruiter or hiring manager needed to see?

Luckily, there are some tips and tricks to make sure you include the soft skills that every decision-maker needs to see.

Here are some tips and tricks to make sure your soft skills stand out properly on your tech CV.

two casually dressed women sit talking across a table

How to showcase your soft skills.

Provide context.

The overarching problem with many CVs is that hiring managers can’t see the wood for the trees.  Without context and supporting details, your accomplishments are just a list. Your reader will be none the wiser.

Highlighting your soft skills is important. However, without including the context around your work, your CV won’t stand out.

Add real-world examples.

Many job seekers use a list of adjectives when attempting to highlight their soft skills on a CV.  They either do this in a dedicated section or as part of their personal statement or profile.  Neither method is particularly effective, mainly because you haven’t provided proof to back up your claims.

Even with your soft skills, it’s a good idea to create context around the skill. You can do this by using story telling within real work examples.

How to create context around your soft skills.

Here are some examples of commonly used soft skills and the ways in which you can create meaning for the hiring manager.

  • “Creative”

Many candidates claim to be creative. To back this up, try to include examples of how you have approached a problem and how you used creative problem solving to get to a solution.

  • “Adaptable”

If you are claiming to be adaptable, include an example of where you have adapted to a change in your role or mid project.

  • “Excellent communicator”

Here, you should evidence examples of instances where you have successfully collaborated or negotiated with others. Include any occasions where you have led a team here too, especially if this was across multiple locations or departments.

  • “Team player”

This claim should be backed up by any team projects you’ve participated in, or examples of where you have successfully worked with others.

How to showcase your personal development.

You may think that it is just your technical skills that can be improved through hard work and dedicated effort. Not so. Your personal development is also something you can include to highlight your soft skills.

Here are some ways to showcase your soft skills through personal development.

  • Include training courses you’ve attended.
  • Qualifications you’ve gained.
  • Awards or accolades earned will be evidence of tenacity and hard work.
  • Relevant extra-curricular hobbies or projects.
  • Communities you are a participant in – either in person or online.

How to successfully demonstrate team leadership and responsibility.

When it comes to leading a team, facts and data are critical. Once again, the context is key, so you should try to be as detailed as possible. For each leadership responsibility you include on your tech CV, give context around the following

  • The number of people.
  • Was it remote, hybrid, or in person?
  • Was it across sites or locations?
  • What were the retention rates of the team?
  • Did you offer any mentorship/coaching to junior team members that enabled a progression for them?
  • How did the team progress the work or be successful?

This section may not be relevant for everybody, but certainly, if you are seeking a senior role, you need to include real work examples of leadership.

How to successfully demonstrate team working.

If you are more junior, and you haven’t led a team this section is for you.  Most roles require some element of teamwork and collaboration.  As a result, teamwork is an essential soft skill to include on a CV.

To positively demonstrate team working, you should focus on the role and the responsibilities you held within the team.

Your focus should be on examples of

  • Collaboration
  • Cooperation
  • Communication

Soft skills and tech CVs.

Soft skills are becoming more and more critical to employers. Just because the job you are applying for may have a tech focus, it doesn’t mean your soft skills are any less important.

To know which soft skills to focus on, really read between the lines of the JD. This should give you some clues about which skills you should highlight.

  • Do you need to interpret data?  You are detailed and analytical.
  • Do you need to lead to manage external stakeholders? You are a strong communicator.
  • Do you need to offer guidance around strategy and product? You are curious and always learning.

The JD will help you identify the skills you should highlight, so remember to tailor your CV accordingly.

Many of your competitors will probably have the same technical stats as you. Often, you and your peers will be developing at the same rate and so will be on a par in terms of ability and commercial experience.  This makes highlighting your soft skills effectively on your tech CV even more important.

Did you find this useful? The Employee Advice section of our blog has more articles just like this one. Why not head on over and have a look around!?

About the author: I manage the recruitment for a range of digital roles for my clients on both a retained and contingency basis. I specialise in senior and confidential appointments, always giving a first class representation of a client’s employer brand.

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