What Soft Skills Should You Look For On Someone’s Resume?

A top recruit offers more than technical competency in today’s modern workforce. Traits like collaboration, self-awareness, and other similar attributes hold immense value on prospective resumes. Even individuals with basic communication abilities who excel in teamwork play a pivotal role in fostering a positive office culture and boosting productivity.

As you embark on your hiring process, look for these seven essential soft skills on your candidates’ resumes.

What Are Soft Skills?

Soft skills define how employees work, not necessarily what they work on. The term “soft” skills encapsulate those aptitudes that help individuals work well with others. Common soft skills include communication, active listening, time management, leadership, and compassion.

These traits apply to every job, no matter the industry you’re hiring for. Teamwork inspires a sense of company loyalty and accomplishment among your employees, which feeds into an organization’s overall success.

Stuck without a plan to hire when your freeze lifts? Don't worry. From the job description to onboarding, we'll help you be ready when your hiring freeze is over. Download.

What Soft Skills Should You Look For?

The traditional 9 to 5 workday is changing dramatically. Many employees no longer share one office space or even the same time zone. The basic structures that once supported natural team building are no longer a given; for this reason, soft skills are more critical than ever.

While there’s no perfect secret recipe to obtaining the right skills at your organization, here are some basic soft skills to look for on a resume and in the interview process.


Today’s employees must communicate across various platforms, including face-to-face conversation, phone, chat, videoconferencing software, and email. Communication skills are more than what somebody says. How they say it can be far more significant. Look for potential employees with extensive experience communicating through various modalities.

Active Listening

Sometimes, the best communicators are those with solid listening abilities. Active listening is one of the most essential soft skills to look for while hiring. When reviewing a resume, consider whether someone has experience in a customer service role or a similar position in which listening to clients is a crucial responsibility. Successful teams show curiosity for others’ ideas and create space for all members to share opinions. Actively listening, asking questions, and requesting clarification demonstrate respect for each other’s ideas.


Leadership skills are valuable, regardless of an individual’s seniority. Natural leaders help their teams stay focused and motivated. Review each resume for opportunities in which the candidate served in a leadership role, whether supervising an employee, training a colleague, or piloting a new initiative.


Trust is vital to a successful team. To build trust, staff must be punctual, organized, adaptable, and, most of all, dependable. Reliable employees help cover for others, even if it means taking on extra responsibilities or shifts. On a resume, a prospective employee demonstrates reliability through volunteer opportunities or examples of their commitment to deadlines.

Conflict Management

Even the best teams face conflict. Occasional disagreement is typical and can present growth opportunities for a group. Sometimes, the best ideas can grow out of healthy debate. However, such success demands your employees can manage conflict well.

Conflict management skills describe someone’s ability to provide and accept constructive feedback and take accountability for mistakes. On a resume, look for scenarios where the candidate helped solve a problem or navigated a crisis. Bonus points for individuals with mediation training or other conflict resolution credentials.


Creativity does not mean one’s artistic talent (though this could certainly be important for the job). A creative person is someone who can think outside the box. Employees with this ability can approach problems from different perspectives or identify areas where a company can expand.

They are solution-focused and imaginative. Consider ways in which the candidate is creative through their resume. Is there something they’ve included that’s particularly clever? Is the format they chose interesting or different? Do previous job responsibilities illustrate an experience in which they implemented new technology or developed a great idea?


While working across different digital platforms and time zones, simple organizational strategies are the backbone of a team’s success. Note how a candidate organizes their resume; is it clear, concise, and up-to-date? Are there basic spelling or grammatical errors? These details illustrate an individual’s natural sense of organization and attention to detail. Then, look for concrete examples of their ability to set meetings, draft agendas, take notes, develop reports, and other aptitudes.

Read Between the Lines

Knowing what soft skills to look for and then recruiting employees with those valuable characteristics will benefit your whole organization. However, you may have to read between the lines on each resume to determine whether a candidate naturally possesses these abilities. Contact us today for help identifying and hiring the best individuals to elevate your company’s sense of teamwork and potential.

Need Help Hiring?

Fill out the form below, and our team will contact you in as little as 10 minutes! Questions? Call us toll-free: 855-485-8853