You’re looking for a job but so are a lot of people. A lot of your competition for positions have the same skill set you do. Unless you have some fantastic experience , you may be one of many applicants that have very similar resumes. What will distinguish you from the other candidates? Your soft skills.
What Are Soft Skills?
Think of soft skills as your personal skills. They are personal attribute-driven general skills such as the ability to give and receive feedback, work collaboratively, and manage time. They are usually self-developed as opposed to hard skills that are developed through schooling or work experience. They may come naturally to you or they may be something that you have worked to develop through personal growth opportunities.
Why Are Soft Skills Desirable?
Soft skills may seem basic and simple but they are difficult for employers to find so they are impressed by candidates who can demonstrate them. Research has shown that a person’s soft skills can be just as good of an indicator of a person’s job performance as the hard skills they possess. Employers recognize that they can train just about anyone to do anything but there are some things that can’t be trained. If the applicant isn’t bringing those skills to the table in the beginning, the chance of them acquiring them over time is slim.
A Positive Attitude And Outlook On Life
A positive attitude makes all the difference in a work environment. It can do wonders in turning a department or company around. Having employees who possess a positive attitude can also be contagious. Employers will seek out this energy since it only takes a few negative people to bring down a department. People want to work with people they like. They are drawn to people who are easygoing, optimistic, and even fun to be around.
Drive And Work Ethic
This is one you won’t learn in school. It’s either part of your DNA or your parents taught it to you. Employers struggle to find employees who make work a priority. Employers are looking for employees that take initiative, are reliable and can do the right job the first time. Employees with drive and work ethic are always hungry for more. They chase success in their job, no matter what job they are doing. You won’t see them settling for mediocre and this usually applies to all areas of their lives. These innate attributes are out of the control of an employer no matter that type of training they provide.
Communication And Interpersonal Skills
This is a broad category. It can be anything from how to talk to clients to how well you get your point across in inter-office emails. More than just clearly speaking the language, communication skills involve active listening and excellent presentation and writing capabilities. If you have a chance to take a class on communication skills, it’s well worth your time. It is one of the most crucial soft skills in any job in any industry.
For a results-oriented employee, good time management skills are key to getting assignments accomplished and finishing them on time. Time management is more than just working hard and not goofing off. It means getting the most out of each day and getting the most important things done first. It can be the ability to delegate assignments to others when needed and learning to manage your time to create maximum efficiency.
Unless you are working in a job where you are completely independent and have no interaction with others, being a team player will be critical to your success. This means believing that others know how to do the job and having the faith in them to do their part. The bigger the company you work for, the higher the likelihood that you will be a part of more than one team. In addition to being able to work with others, it is also the ability to display empathy toward others which is unfortunately hard to find.
This could, quite possibly, be the most important of all of the soft skills. No matter what the job is, most employers are looking for someone who can grow beyond that job. In order to be an effective leader, you need all the other soft skills as well. Leadership skills can really be seen as a combination of all the others. Leaders are people who can not only work well with a team but can take the reins and make the rest of the team better.
Ability To Digest New Information And Learn Fast
The world is constantly changing and we are seeing this happen at a faster and faster rate. This applies to the business world as much as any other. Employers have less and less time for training and are looking for employees who can learn their job and learn it fast. This doesn’t mean just learning the job once. Odds are your job will be constantly changing as technology and business practices change. Showing the ability to adjust, learn new skills and learn them quickly will make you a valuable asset.
Ability To Work Under Pressure
We live in a fast paced, high pressure world and this is especially apparent in business. Everything seems to be moving faster and faster. This kind of pressure can break a lot of people and not being able to handle it will hurt the whole team. Employers want to know that you’re not afraid of a challenge, that you can manage stress well and that you don’t shy away from high pressure situations.
Problem Solving Skills
Since problems are inevitable, employees who are able to find solutions to daily challenges that arise are most valuable to an organization. This can sometimes mean that when you are unable to find a solution you aren’t afraid to seek out the advice of others. Employers want to know you can think logically and come up with ways to work around problems. This kind of thinking leads to innovation and improvements within the company.
The way companies do business in today’s competitive market is changing all the time. The ability to remain adaptable helps an organization move forward and stay current with the times. The ability to pick up on new technologies and adjust to changing business surroundings is critically important now more so than ever.
Think of your soft skills as accessories to your training in your field. By themselves they can’t qualify you for a job but when paired with your hard skills they can make you a much more attractive candidate. Be sure to include them on your resume and be prepared to demonstrate them in your interview.