Why Technical People Need Nontechnical Skills on Their Resumes
Having worked for many years as a senior chemical engineer and computer simulation applications engineer, with a degree from MIT, I know employers want potential hires with advanced technical skills and a demonstrated ability to increase those skills. However, employers today are not only interested in technical skills; they are also interested in “soft” or nontechnical skills such as:

  • Ability to communicate clearly and at different levels of the organization

  • Experience working in a virtual environment, with teams scattered over a wide area

  • Ability to contribute to or lead a team

  • Willingness to take responsibility for and solve problems

You may be concerned that you do not have these soft skills. But they can be gained through volunteer work; on-the-job projects, presentations, and research; participation on committees and boards; and enrollment in business, financial, leadership, and/or communication seminars. In addition, keep in mind that you need experience, not expertise, in these areas. Your soft skills in leadership, for example, may be shown by leading three people on a volunteer project; you do not need to lead a staff of hundreds.

As a technical person, you may feel it is sufficient to show your education, accomplishments, and skills in technical areas; but soft, nontechnical skills can easily be worked into your resume by a professional resume writer. And those skills may tip the balance in favor of an interview, as recruiters and hiring managers see that they are also gaining (for example) a communicator and team player who will immediately bring value to their organization.