There are two types of skills that employers look for: hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are those skills that are usually written on a resume, such as computer languages, typing speeds, years of management and tools utilized. Soft skills are those skills that are conveyed as a result of your accomplishments. Examples of this type of skill are communication and interpersonal skills, and motivation levels. To be effective, soft skills should be tied into accomplishment statements. The key to marketing your hard and soft skills successfully is developing effective accomplishment statements.

Writing accomplishment statements can make people feel like they are bragging. However, writing them can be effective without turning the employer off by being boastful. Employers like to have skills and experience written in a straightforward manner, without exaggeration. It is important to select accomplishment statements that are relevant to the position you want. Tailor your accomplishment statements to match the qualifications that the employer wants. Every person who has held a position, whether paid or volunteer, has accomplishments. Even if your task was repetitive and routine, you have had accomplishments! Use specific examples when you describe your skills -- ones that you are proficient in and are proud of. By doing so, you will be seen as confident and motivated.

Volunteer work can be utilized, when necessary, on a resume. It is important to remember that the work must be relevant to the job you are interested in. Be sure to develop accomplishment statements that reflect your skills and qualifications. In the cover letter you may mention that it is volunteer work or you may mention it in the resume by putting volunteer work in parentheses, after the employer name.

If your volunteer or community service work is extensive, be sure to include the scope of the project, your responsibilities, skills you utilized to implement the project and the result. List the experience in chronological format. It is usually not a good idea to list political or religious organizations in a resume unless you are applying for a job in this type of area.

Be sure to mention the "soft skills" that you have utilized. For example, motivational level, dependability, energy level and punctuality. You can weave a personal motivation statement or desire to work statement into a cover letter. However, illustrating soft skills is most effective when they are tied into accomplishment statements.

Below are some questions that may assist you in developing effective accomplishment statements.

  • Did you introduce a new system? Procedure?
  • How did you save the organization money?
  • Did you increase production? Improve morale? By how much?
  • Did you develop new techniques for getting the job done faster?
  • Did you improve the quality of a product or service?
  • Did you enhance the life of an individual?
  • Did you increase someone's daily living skills?

There are numerous positions where workers deal directly with and for people—teachers, social workers, nursing, etc.—and their accomplishments and/or results are often not quantifiably measurable.