Conquent: Without Limits
Conquent: Without Limits
Kristen Fife's Blog

Resume Summary: Generic Soft Skills vs. Career Competencies

2009-05-21 00:56:30

I was at the Seattle Job Social last night, and I saw the same thing that is becoming a trernd nowadays. Using trite, generic meaningless phrases in your professional summary.

Examples: Critical thinker, Excellent Verbal and Written Communication Skills, Strong Cross-group collaboration, A strong leader known for the ability to motivate others.


Guess what? I rattled that off in about 30 seconds. Know why? *EVERYONE PUTS IT ON THEIR RESUMES*. And it tells me *nothing*. For my writer friends, this is an example where I want you to "show don't tell".

Here is what I want: I want your professional competencies versus your soft skills on a resume. Your competencies are the things you learn on the job that are endemic to your field and industry. A couple of examples:

Instead of "Excellent Verbal and Written Communication Skills" I would prefer:
-Trilingual (English, German, Dutch) marketing manager with experience creating localized international web-based ad campaign resulting in a $3M increase in revenue over six months across the entire business unit

Rather than telling me "A strong leader known for the ability to motivate others" try:
-Manager responsible for software engineering teams between 12-19 with a 22% increase in productivity by introducing Agile Development methodology.

You want to orient your reader immediately to *you* professionally.Statistics are huge. How many managed, % increase/decrease, $ revenue earned/overhead cut, hours/time saved on project implementation.

Or, at the very least, orient me directly to what your key *industry and professional skills are*. (OK, admittedly this is my opening summary statement):

Strong Talent Acquisition professional with diverse experience recruiting technology, finance/operations, HR, sales/marketing, legal, R & D candidates, Professional Services. Proven success of sourcing diversity candidates. Experience interfacing with executive staff and management. Excellent history of creating and implementing unique sourcing strategies. International recruiting initiatives.

The point is, give your reader information that s/he can work with, that makes you stand out as an individual and not as another list of generic skills that everyone else is using.

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