Communicating the Value of Soft Skills
When the skills you have are hard to quantify on a resume.
I recently decided to re-enter the job market. After 15 years at a loan management software company, ending as the product manager and overseeing the customer service department, I wanted something different. My job had reached a point of cruise control.
After thinking for several months, I determined that I wanted to go in an entirely different direction with my career. Rather than relying on a skill set in banking and product that I had spent so long developing, I was going to turn to my original passion: writing.
When I graduated from college, the landscape was much different for writers. The only career paths that seemed to earn a living were journalism and publishing a book, and I wasn’t interested in either of those. I was “good at” banking, so I went that route, even though my degree was in English.
I’m at the point where I am heavily applying for jobs that include “solid writer” in the list of desired skills. However, I am finding that a whole new skillset has emerged that I don’t have. For many jobs in content writing, the list of skills often includes SEO, analytics, A/B testing, and more.
My husband took a new job last year, and he found one quickly. He is a software developer, so his resume is filled with hard skills like the programming languages he knows and the certifications he has.
My resume? Shows a completely different field of work than what I’m trying to pursue. Somehow I need to translate the skills I have into a completely different career path.
I have thought back to my first semester of college when I came home for Thanksgiving break. I visited the community bank where I had worked for several years as a teller. The bank EVP/owner was in the break room, and I proudly told him that I was going to be a “Finance major.”
He gave me a Look. “Don’t be a Finance major,” he responded, “Be a Liberal Arts major and show any potential employer that you can write, and you can speak.”
That stuck with me. And it was true: everything I know about banking and product, I learned. I could memorize banking regulations and underlying standards. I taught…