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How to Add Personal Attributes/Soft Skills in Your Resume/CV: A Complete Guide

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Personal attributes, often referred to as personal qualities or interpersonal skills or “soft skills”, are the innate characteristics that define who you are as a professional. In the eyes of discerning hiring managers, personal attributes provide a 360-degree view of your potential as an employee. Personal attributes on your resume go beyond the mere technical skills and experience listed, offering invaluable insights into your personality, work ethic, and how you interact and collaborate with others. As such, including your interpersonal skills in a resume or CV in the right format and narrative can more effectively express your qualifications as a professional.

This article is your comprehensive guide to leveraging personal attributes to their full potential in your resume/CV. We will begin by exploring the importance of incorporating personal attributes into your professional documents. We will then delve into the top 15 personal attributes to include, complete with practical examples of how to effectively weave them into your narrative.

The Importance of Adding Personal Attributes/Soft Skills on a Resume/CV

Including personal attributes in your resume/CV is a strategic necessity. Here are three compelling reasons why you should make them a prominent part of your professional documents:

Enhanced Employability 
Personal attributes provide a holistic view of your capabilities. They transform you from a collection of skills and experiences into a well-rounded candidate, thereby increasing your chances of securing your dream job.

Cultural Fit 
In today’s employment landscape, companies don’t just hire for skills; they hire for cultural fit as well. Personal attributes convey your alignment with the organisation’s values and mission, making it clear that you can seamlessly integrate into the team.

Memorability 
Inundated with resumes, hiring managers are more likely to remember those that stand out. A resume featuring personal qualities leaves an indelible mark, ensuring that you remain in the forefront of the hiring manager’s mind.

Examples of Important Soft Skills for Resume

There is no exhaustive list of best soft skills for resumes and CVs. Personal attributes are developed over time, often on the job and these attributes may differ from one job to another. Thus, the best practice is to include attributes that are relevant to your professional person. Below is a list of personal qualities for resume that are relevant across a number of roles:

Personal AttributeHighlighted Factor in CandidateRelevant Occupations/Roles
AdaptabilityAbility to thrive in rapidly changing environmentsProject Manager, Sales Representative, IT Consultant
LeadershipPotential to guide and inspire teamsTeam Leader, Manager, Director
Communication SkillsProficiency in articulating ideas clearlyPublic Relations Specialist, Teacher, Marketing Manager
TeamworkCollaboration and cooperative prowessHealthcare Professional, Software Developer, Event Planner
Problem-SolvingAptitude for navigating complex challengesEngineer, Analyst, Researcher
CreativityInnovative thinking and resourcefulnessGraphic Designer, Copywriter, Architect
Time ManagementEfficient allocation of resourcesProject Manager, Accountant, Executive Assistant
ResilienceCapacity to rebound from setbacks gracefullyMental Health Counselor, Salesperson, Athlete
IntegrityUnwavering commitment to honesty and ethicsLawyer, Auditor, Ethics Officer
FlexibilityWillingness to embrace new ideas and approachesConsultant, Entrepreneur, Artist
Decision-MakingAbility to make informed and effective choicesFinancial Advisor, CEO, Operations Manager
InitiativeProactive and self-driven approachStartup Founder, Sales Manager, Research Scientist
DependabilityConsistency and reliability in every taskAdministrative Assistant, Nurse, Technician
EmpathyUnderstanding and relating to others' perspectivesCounsellor, Social Worker, Human Resources Manager
Conflict ResolutionSkillful resolution of disputes peacefullyMediator, Human Rights Advocate, Customer Service Representative

Best Practices for Including Personal Attributes in Your Resume/CV

While you can represent your technical skills in a resume on an ordinal scale, the representation of soft skills requires a different approach. You can’t just list your interpersonal skills under a heading as a list of skills does not give hiring managers a bigger picture of how your personal qualities came into play in a previous job or role. Your personal attributes should be built into the narrative of your work experience section. You don’t need to spell out to recruiters that you’re a team player if your resume contains the exact information that shouts out loud that you are indeed a team player.

Following are some tips that we curated after going through the experience of writing thousand of CVs, each telling a different story about an individual’s professional history along with their interpersonal skills – 

Incorporate Stories 

Avoid the common mistake of merely listing soft skills in isolation. Instead, use evidence. Don’t just make an empty claim about a soft skill, always put evidence. For example, when highlighting leadership, narrate a concise anecdote about a project you spearheaded and the transformative results it yielded, like the following –  “Formulated and developed project plans for 2 complex projects back to back. Ensured on-time and on budget delivery for both the projects, which led to a signing of 2 long-term contracts with both stakeholders.”

Use Action Words 

Begin bullet points in your resume with dynamic action verbs like “formulated”, “implemented”, “evaluated”, “delivered” that reflect your proactiveness. For instance, if you’re emphasising your leadership skills as a team manager, you can start with “Improved overall team communication by increasing the number of planning meetings which reduced project turnaround times and backlogs by 20%.”   

Tailor to the Job 

Customise your personal attributes to mirror the specific job requirements. If the role demands strong communication skills, emphasise this attribute by recounting a situation where your exceptional communication led to project success. An example statement for your CV or resume would be something similar to the following – “Worked closely with customers to identify and address logistical issues. Implemented a core change in the system which increased customer satisfaction score by 80%.”

Quantify When Possible 

Wherever feasible, quantify the impact of your personal attributes. For instance if you want to iterate on how your decision making capabilities helped the company achieve a huge milestone, you can say something like “Formulated a new strategy to generate inbound leads. The said strategy successfully helped generate $600,000 in revenue singularly during the first quarter, which was 23% more than the previous quarter.

Personal attributes offer a window into your character, work ethic, and capacity to flourish in diverse work environments. Your interpersonal skills are weaved into your work experience and achievements and are equally considered important by hiring managers when analysing candidates. Remember, your resume/CV is your first introduction to potential employers, and personal attributes are the key to making an unforgettable impression.

Unsure about how to phrase your soft skills correctly on your resume? We’ve got you covered. At CV Writers, our team of professional CV writers know exactly how to bring out the best version of your professional journey on to your resume. Drop us a message or click here to book a FREE career consultation session with one of our expert career coaches.

Ben Wood
Ben Wood

Career Coach, CV Writer, CV Writers + ITCV Writers Practice Manager - Tech and Executive Profile Specialist

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