Why you should drop everything and update your resume now!
If you met someone in line at the grocery store who was hiring for your dream job, would you be ready to send them your updated resume right then and there? If you can't say "yes" to that question...then keep reading. If you can say "yes", keep reading anyways because you may still want to take a second look based on the latest research.

Before we take a deep dive into what the research is telling us about how to write the best resume, let's get some important vocabulary out of the way. In this post, I'm going to be referring a lot to "soft skills". There are a lot of definitions online to describe soft skills but the basic gist of them all is that soft skills are the attributes, behaviors, and personality traits that you use daily to get work done and to get along with other people. They include skills such as; problem-solving, communication, dependability, adaptability, creativity, work ethic, and integrity, just to name a few. You may also hear them referred to as employability skills because we use the term more frequently when it comes to work and employability.

So, with that in mind, let's jump right in.

Why soft skills matter more than ever

All of the current research about employment and resumes leads to the same place...the importance of soft skills in on the rise. 

A 2017 Study out of Australia found that "Deloitte Access Economics forecasts that soft skill intensive occupations will account for two-thirds of all jobs by 2030, compared to half of all jobs in 2000. The number of jobs in soft-skill intensive occupations is expected to grow at 2.5 times the rate of jobs in other occupations. That’s a big workforce change, similar in magnitude to other major trends, like the shift from ‘bluecollar’ to ‘white-collar’ work, and the growing participation of women in the workforce."

Even more recent research coming out of the U.S. is consistent with these findings. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) published in their "Job Outlook 2024" Guide that "As a whole, employers are seeking candidates who both have work experience and demonstrate certain skills. The top-rated career readiness competencies continue to be communication, teamwork, and critical thinking skills. Additionally, problem-solving skills, the ability to work in a team, written communication skills, and a strong work ethic are the top attributes employers seek on candidate resumes." 

These are just two of the dozens of studies that all point to the same thing..."soft skills" (employability skills, or transferable skills, whatever you want to call them) matter to employers and if you hope to be gainfully employed, they should matter to you as well. So, how do you make sure that you have what it takes to compete with other potential job-seekers, especially if you are neurodivergent?

Neurodivergent individuals often have a rich set of soft skills developed through navigating a world designed for neurotypical individuals. For example, the ability to see patterns and solutions that others might miss, or the capacity for deep focus and innovative thinking in fields of interest, are invaluable in many sectors. When updating your resume, consider including specific examples of how your neurodivergent traits have contributed to your achievements. This could be problem-solving in a group project, leading a team with diverse needs, or creatively overcoming challenges during a volunteer opportunity. 

There are many reasons that highlighting your soft skills are important:

  1. Changing Job Market Dynamics: The job market is rapidly evolving, with an increasing emphasis on roles that require strong interpersonal and creative thinking skills. According to the World Economic Forum's Future of Jobs Report, skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, resilience, flexibility, and creativity are among the top skills employers are looking for today. For neurodivergent individuals, this shift represents an opportunity to highlight natural strengths that might not be as easily quantified but are equally, if not more, valuable.
  2. Diversity and Innovation: Companies are increasingly recognizing the value of diverse thought processes in driving innovation. Neurodivergent individuals often approach problems and challenges from different perspectives, offering fresh insights and solutions. Highlighting your soft skills on your resume demonstrates your potential to contribute to a culture of innovation.
  3. Collaboration in Diverse Teams: The ability to work effectively in diverse teams is crucial in today’s globalized world. Neurodivergent individuals can bring unique viewpoints to team dynamics, enhancing group creativity and problem-solving. By showcasing your ability to contribute positively to team environments, you emphasize your role in driving collective success.
Strategies to update your soft skills on your resume
Updating your resume to highlight soft skills involves more than just listing them; it requires thoughtful reflection on your experiences and achievements. Here are some strategies:
  • Use Specific Examples: Instead of stating you have “excellent problem-solving skills,” describe a situation where you used those skills to achieve a goal. For instance, “Developed a new organizing system for volunteer sign-ups, increasing participation by 30%.”
  • Quantify Your Achievements: Where possible, use numbers and data to quantify your impact. This could be through improvements in efficiency, cost savings, or time management. For example, “Streamlined the process for monthly reports, reducing preparation time by 20%.”
  • Tailor Your Resume: Different roles will value different sets of soft skills. Tailor your resume to highlight the most relevant skills for each application. Research the company and role to understand which of your strengths to emphasize.
  • Reflect on Feedback: Incorporate feedback you’ve received from teachers, employers, or peers that highlights your soft skills. This could be formal recognition or informal compliments on your work style or how you’ve handled certain situations. If you don't have that feedback yet, just ask for it! Most people are willing to help someone else out when asked.
By focusing on these aspects, your resume not only outlines your experiences and qualifications but also paints a vivid picture of how your unique blend of soft skills make you an invaluable asset. This approach not only aligns with the current trends in employment but also positions you for opportunities that value diversity of thought and innovative problem-solving abilities.

If you need help with applying for a job or writing your resume, don't hesitate to book your free consultation with me.

Resources and Tools to Consider
Career Exploration: O*NET Online
Career Service Providers: If you'd like to see if I'd be a good match to guide you through the Career and/or College Planning Process, book a free consultation with me today
Educational Planning: College Board
Executive Functioning Tools: Evernote
Interview Preparation: YouTube videos, including specific ones for those with neurodivergencies like this one.
Job Search: IndeedGlassdoor 
Resume Building: CanvaGoogle Docs
Self-Assessment: 16PersonalitiesMyNextMove 


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