How to Write Soft Skills on Your Resume

Your resume should contain the right soft skills to land a job. We’ve got the top 10 soft skills and 115+ examples by job type, experience level and resume format for you to add to your resume.

Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW)
by Eric Ciechanowski  Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) 
March 02, 2023  

What are soft skills?

“Soft skills,” like communication, teamwork and motivation, are personal abilities necessary to do a job.

They are sometimes called “people skills” or “interpersonal skills.”

They differ from “hard skills” like data analysis, typing, car repair or computer programming because soft skills are trickier to prove, demonstrate or measure.

Hard skills refer to what you do to succeed in a role; soft skills refer to how you do it. This matters because you need a mixture of both soft and hard skills.

Check out these examples of each to better understand the difference:

Hard skill icon

Hard Skills

Teachable, technical abilities, easy to quantify.

  • Machine operation
  • Programming
  • Database management
  • Electrical skills
  • Language competency
  • Sales and marketing certification
  • Bookkeeping
  • Project management
Soft skill icon

Soft Skills

Interpersonal or ‘people-centric’ traits.

  • Leadership
  • Resilience
  • Time management
  • Organization
  • Compassion
  • Creativity
  • Problem solving
  • Adaptability

Why soft skills are important

Whether you’re a CEO or a cashier at a coffee shop, you use soft skills in your daily work to interact with customers, colleagues and business partners. Even in highly technical roles, soft skills are necessary to write a good resume.

Top 10 soft skills

Here are the 10 most sought-after soft skills across all industries:

  1. 1Communication

    Employers seek effective communicators because they make workplaces more efficient and friendly. Both oral and written communication are highly valued.

    Communication skills examples:

    • Following directions
    • Messaging
    • Active listening
    • Giving feedback
  2. 2Leadership/management

    Thoughtful decision-making and the ability to guide and inspire others during stressful times are always in high demand. Good leaders create better workplaces.

    Leadership skills examples:

    • Delegation
    • Vision
    • Judgment
    • Conflict resolution
  3. 3Writing

    Clear written communication is a must-have for some jobs. Especially for remote work, it’s crucial to get messages across clearly and timely.

    Writing skills examples:

    • Emails
    • Taking notes
    • Memos
    • Social media posts
  4. 4Organization

    Good organization can increase productivity and decrease confusion in the workplace. People with a knack for creating systems for better workflow are highly prized!

    Organization skills examples:

    • Filing
    • Calendar management
    • Scheduling
    • Preparedness
  5. 5Adaptability

    If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that business needs to be able to turn on a dime to survive surprise events. Your ability to adjust, pivot and grow is crucial.

    Adaptability skills examples:

    • Stress management
    • Protocol adherence
    • Fast learning
    • Facing challenges
  6. 6Positivity

    Hiring managers want team members with a positive attitude because they work harder, get along better and overcome challenges.

    Positivity skills examples:

    • Friendly demeanor
    • Can-do attitude
    • Customer service
    • Determination
  7. 7Efficiency

    Your ability to get work done on time and make the most of your resources can save employers a lot. If the role demands fast-paced work, mention your efficiency.

    Efficiency skills examples:

    • Timeliness
    • Motivation
    • Self-management
    • Meeting deadlines
  8. 8Strategic thinking

    Thorough planning and strategy execution are essential for business success and help you deal with unexpected problems that may arise.

    Strategic thinking skills examples:

    • Problem-solving
    • Troubleshooting
    • Creative solutions
    • Analysis
  9. 9Collaboration/teamwork

    Working with others professionally and productively is part of every industry. Being a great communicator who knows how to deal with stress is a huge asset.

    Collaboration skills examples:

    • Teamwork
    • Brainstorming
    • Meeting suggestions
    • Rapport building
  10. 10Responsibility

    Displaying honesty, compassion and respect to customers, peers and management is how effective solutions form and workplace conflicts decrease.

    Responsibility skills examples:

    • Integrity
    • Trustworthiness
    • Empathy
    • Punctuality

Now, if you’ve got a handle on which soft skills you possess, skip straight to the writing process! You can use LiveCareer’s fastest tool, our Resume Builder. It will help you produce a resume in just 15 minutes!

That’s because our Resume Builder is automated. It walks you through the process of writing a resume step-by-step, like having an expert look over your shoulder.

It even suggests soft skills options that you can include on your resume. All you have to do is pick the ones that best apply to you!

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How to write soft skills
into your resume

While every resume should have a dedicated skills section, soft skills also should appear in other parts of your resume.

Here are some ideas about where and how to write soft skills into your resume:

Resume objective
  • Professional summary

    This is the first thing a recruiter will see on your resume, and it will benefit you to mention the top two or three skills you bring to the table. Make sure one of them is your top soft skill!

  • Summary of qualifications

    If you’re short on work experience, adding this section is sometimes helpful. It’s a standard feature mostly on functional, and sometimes combination format resumes.

  • Skills section

    Having a solid mix of hard and soft skills here is critical. It’s accepted practice to list six-to-eight skills in total. Bullet points tend to be easier to read, but you can separate your skills by commas if you need to save space.

  • Work experience

    Highlighting soft skills in your work history explanations is very impactful. Pepper your bullet points with soft skills or use active verbs like “led,” “oversaw” or “guided” to reinforce the fact that you have the leadership qualities the company wants.

  • Technical Skills

    If the role you’re applying to is in a highly specialized field such as tech or construction, it’s good to mention the tools and programs you’ve mastered for your career.

Soft skills examples
by career type

Here are some examples of soft skills suited for each industry and career field:

calculator icon


  • Accuracy
  • Clear communication
  • Responsibility
  • Prudent judgment
  • Organization
  • Continuous learning
  • Strategic planning
  • Efficiency
  • Deductive reasoning
  • Recordkeeping
  • Foresight
  • Honesty
admin icon


  • Organization
  • Scheduling
  • Taking initiative
  • Attention to detail
  • Executing commands
  • Meeting contribution
  • Assisting management
  • Error proofing
  • Cross-functional
  • Privacy
  • Project enhancement
customer icon

Customer service

  • Focused listening
  • Empathy
  • Problem-solving
  • Calming personality
  • Sticking to script
  • Friendly demeanor
  • Depersonalization
  • Professionalism
  • Taking responsibility
  • Relatability
  • Telephone etiquette
pen icon


  • Imagination
  • Vision
  • Decision making
  • Accepting criticism
  • Sharpening ideas
  • Sense of harmony
  • Intuition
  • Timing
  • Balance
  • Anticipating reaction
  • Client communication
marketing icon

Digital marketing

  • Creativity
  • Collaboration
  • Empathy
  • Trend awareness
  • Positive suggestions
  • Incorporating criticism
  • Eagerness to improve
  • Passion
  • Multitasking
  • Connecting
  • Straightforwardness
education icon


  • Patience
  • Clear speaking
  • Holding presence
  • Social justice awareness
  • Judgment
  • Thought leadership
  • Inspiring performance
  • Compassion
  • Conflict resolution
  • Clear explanation
  • Student engagement
health care icon

Health care

  • Integrity
  • Work ethic
  • Teamwork
  • Patient empathy
  • Calm under pressure
  • Confidence
  • Following protocol
  • Precision
  • Time management
  • Patient instruction
  • Stress prevention
management icon

Management roles

  • Vision
  • Executing ideas
  • Determination
  • Charisma
  • Warmth
  • Motivation
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Innovation
  • Leadership
  • Team growth
  • Project direction
sales icon


  • Dedication
  • Tenacity
  • Sociability
  • Time management
  • Identifying needs
  • Persuasion
  • Networking
  • Self-motivation
  • Following up
  • Respectability
  • Perseverance
code icon

Web development

  • Puzzle-solving
  • Creative solutions
  • Enthusiasm
  • Team spirit
  • Troubleshooting
  • Storytelling
  • User understanding
  • Visualizing
  • Narrative flow
  • Following instruction
  • Mindfulness

Soft skills examples
by experience level

The soft skills you choose can vary highly based on your experience level. While most employers are seeking great communicators at every level, here are some examples of how your soft skills on a resume might develop over time:

No experience

  • Leadership roles
  • Attention to detail
  • Organization skills


  • Critical thinking
  • Strong communication
  • Interpersonal skills


  • Effective communication
  • Active listening skills
  • Efficiency


  • Culture building
  • Project management
  • Excellent presentation skills

Career change

  • Critical thinking
  • Adaptive learning
  • Active listening

Soft skills examples
by resume format

The functional and combination resume types are skills-based, providing an excellent platform to show soft skills differently. The chronological resume is a better fit for job seekers with a relevant work history and career progression they want to highlight.

Resume Example

Chronological format:

The chronological resume has a shorter dedicated skills section but remains the resume standard for a reason. It draws attention to significant actions an employee has taken, as shown through short narratives in both the summary and work experience sections.

Who should use this resume format:
Mid-career professionals and executive-level job seekers benefit from the chronological format. It provides the perfect layout for a long work history and instances of significant career progression.

How soft skills should appear on this resume format:
The work history section is a great place to show the result of your soft skills. You can write a few sentences detailing an event or action that required great leadership, efficiency, or teamwork and then explain the outcome through a numerical metric, for example: “Increased productivity 30% through active involvement in more direct communication programs.”

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Resume Example

Combination format:

The combination resume is a good choice for job seekers, as it balances your skills next to your work history, giving them equal weight.

Who should use this resume format:
Professionals who want to show off skills and experience should opt for a combination resume. It’s also great if you are an entry-level worker with relevant outside experience, a mid-career worker with transferable skills, an executive-level applicant displaying certifications and a long work history, or a career changer trying to highlight their impact in multiple fields.

How soft skills should appear on this resume format:
Soft skills can appear in various ways in a combination format. You can highlight excellent communication and organizational skills in a bulleted list. Or, describe your team management abilities in your professional summary or work experience section. This will draw attention to a specific moment of innovative thinking in your summary of qualifications.

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Resume Example

Functional format:

The functional resume is the best way to enhance your skill set for those new to an industry, entering the workforce, or returning to work after a long period of unemployment.

Who should use this format:
People with no direct work experience and those making career changes can put their industry-relevant skills and educational background at the forefront of their resume in this format. It’s an excellent way to show employers that you have the qualifications they are seeking.

How soft skills should appear on this resume format:
The Professional Skills section of this resume is where soft skills shine. By choosing your top soft skill, this section provides three or more instances where you can explain how you used “leadership” or “collaboration” in your experience and the positive results.

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4 tips for writing your skills section

Even if you are new to the workforce, it’s possible to write a resume that provides examples of the soft skills you’ve developed in other areas of your life, such as school, sports or volunteering.

Take some time to think about it and ask your friends and family for their thoughts. Group interactions also provide a good source for figuring out what soft skills you already possess. Are you usually the group leader on projects? The one that reads the rules before starting a board game?

Here are four tips for writing soft skills into your skills section:

Choose Your Format

  1. Target the right skills

    Your skills list should reflect the job ad. These are the skills employers want to see! Do a very close reading of the job post or ad. Echo back every skill that you possess in your resume. It will help show you’re the perfect fit for the job and will help you pass an applicant tracking system or ATS. ATS is software companies often use to weed out applicants.

  2. Tell a story

    Bring your skills to life in your professional summary or cover letter. For example, if you have sales experience, your summary could include something like: “Friendly sales associate brings 3+ years of experience at following instruction, rapport building, and closing deals.”

  3. Self-interview

    To see which skills describe you best, think about how you would answer questions like: “How did you solve a problem at work?” “What do you do when you disagree with a client or manager?” or “What’s the best way for you to give or receive feedback?” It’ll clarify your work style and prepare your mind for an interview.

  4. Create special sections

    If you use a combination or functional resume format, you should add separate sections that provide samples of your skills in action. A summary of qualifications is a great way to include accomplishments showing the use of a particular skill and the positive results accomplished.

5 ways a resume builder can help
you write your soft skills

Our professional Resume Builder is a tool that can help you create the strongest resume possible.

That’s because our resume builder uses AI to target the most sought-after soft skills for your role!

It is an excellent way to ensure your “skills” section matches up with the examples of how you used soft skills in your “experience” section.

Here’s how a resume builder can help:

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  1. Content suggestions
    The builder provides prewritten text you can select from to add the right phrases to your resume.
  2. Job-specific skills
    After answering a prompt about the job you’re applying to, our builder targets its suggestions to this role!
  3. Keyword recommendations
    Based on our internal research, our builder suggests keywords that will help you land the job.
  4. ATS-friendly resume templates
    Applicant tracking systems weed out candidates from the job hunt. Make sure you beat the bots by using an ATS-approved design!
  5. Customizable sections
    You can add custom sections or change the layout of your resume with just a single click.

Soft skills FAQ

Are soft skills the same as transferable skills?

Soft skills and transferable skills are similar. They refer to abilities that can easily carry from one industry to a completely different job.

For instance, if you work on a construction crew your skills in teamwork and communication are just as useful if you work in a restaurant or warehouse.

During the pandemic, due to the number of people changing careers, it became more common to call them transferable skills. However, both are appropriate and refer to the same universally needed abilities.

Can I improve my soft skills?

Yes, there are many ways to improve your soft skills.

You can read books or take classes online to improve your leadership, communication, and public speaking skills.

Or, put your skills into practice by participating in volunteer work or community events that interest you. Even joining a local sports team may help!

The basis of excellent soft skills is interacting and working well with others, so even something like working on a project with a close friend can improve your interactions and communication with others.

I work in a highly technical field. Do I still need soft skills?

Critical thinking and interpersonal skills rank high on an employer’s checklist across all industries. So even if you are the most experienced with a technological platform or have the proper programming knowledge, soft skills are key.

Most recruiters and potential employers want a candidate with the right soft and technical skills, someone who can perform the tasks at hand, work with their team, and fit in with the company culture.

How do I use soft skills to show an employer I can adapt to multiple situations?

Soft skills like “adaptability,” “attention to detail” and “attentiveness” already show through actionable demonstrations that you can adapt to change; it’s honing these skills that will set you apart.

About the Author

Eric Ciechanowski

Eric Ciechanowski Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW)

Eric Ciechanowski is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), certified by the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (PARWCC). He graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans with a B.A. double major in Creative Writing and Philosophy. His career background includes fields as diverse as education, hospitality, journalism, copywriting, tech and trivia hosting.


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