Present your soft skills without sounding ridiculous

Having the right soft skills is often relevant to the degree of success even in rather technical positions, which is why their presentation can play a decisive role in the outcome of a job application.

Unfortunately, many applicants present their soft skills in the same way they mention their technical skills. They simply state them as facts like in the following examples:

As an honest person, I always handle financial matters reliably.
I am highly motivated and results-driven.
I am a team player and get on well with my superiors.

At the same time, most of them do not feel very comfortable with that approach and rightly so. Not only does it sound awkward when you talk about yourself in such a way but it also misses the actual goal of convincing the hiring manager of your soft skills.

Why that approach must always fail

Let me use the first example of being honest to explain the problem. An honest person can correctly claim to be honest, yes, but what do dishonest people do? They lie. And because they do, they will present themselves as being honest too. In other words: everyone will claim to be honest and no one will ever present the opposite. This is why such a statement is entirely worthless and just sounds ridiculous.

Does that mean you should not or cannot present your soft skills? Not at all! There actually is an elegant way to do it.

What to do instead

The way out is easier than you may think. Instead of throwing around empty claims, you should present tangible results of your work for previous employers that imply the existence of the soft skill in question. In terms of our three examples above, a solution could look like that:

My work as a cashier during the last 5 years has never been confronted with any internal complaints and got confirmed as 100% accurate in 3 unannounced external audits.
I was able to complete the project 2 months ahead of schedule and at a cost of 20% under budget.
After becoming the spokesperson for the team, its staff retention increased from 45% to 85% within the following 12 months and later improved further to 90% now.

As these examples show, you can leave out the typical soft-skill adjectives completely and still make a highly persuasive impression on the hiring managers.