Can Soft Skills Make or Break You on a Military Resume?

In an article recently posted on Yahoo! HotJobs entitled, “Six Soft Skills that Could Land you the Job,” Larry Buhl entertains the notion that intangible qualities could give job seekers the competitive edge.So in other words, if there are two equally qualified candidates competing for the same job opening, the candidate who, for example, “works well with others” may snag the position.Given the fact that today’s job market is relatively laden with job seekers possessing genuine hard skills, qualifications, and certifications that are normally in high demand, there may be something to this.

The following are the six skills cited as some of the best to flaunt in order to gain the competitive edge:

  • Team Player
  • Excellent Communicator
  • Goal-Oriented Self-Starter
  • Leadership & Team Building
  • Sense of Humor
  • Flexibility & Multi-tasking Ability

View the full article.

Transitioning military job seekers certainly possess most, if not all, of these intangibles.However, at , I typically avoid overtly stating soft skills such as “excellent communicator” in a military resume because anyone can state that they are an excellent communicator (and nearly everyone does).So where is the value added?Furthermore, it reads as “fluffy” and can illicit an eye-rolling response from hiring professionals.But there is a compromise.I recommend stating the soft skill and then backing it up with hard evidence.For example:

  • “Excellent Communicator – Selected to brief the Deputy Secretary of the Air Force on controversial manpower research findings recently published in…”


  • “Excellent communication skills demonstrated by award-winning instructional techniques; one of two technical experts selected from a pool of 75 to train 200 advanced electronics technicians in a classroom setting.Called ‘the most innovative instructor to date’ in a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal citation.”