Whether your established at your job or looking for the next great gig, soft skills and showcasing them is how you will stand apart and ultimately get hired and get ahead.
Essentially, soft skills encompasses those intangibles that we don’t necessarily learn in school. A lot of it is our personality, who we are, and how we show off to the world.
These soft skills, or “people-skills”, such as communication, collaboration, confidence, taking criticism, all are just as important to our work and those hard skills we develop in the classroom or on the job.
It can be hard, especially for job seekers to highlight these soft skills, but it’s not impossible. It’s important to show you, how you listen, ask questions, show your confidence, and how you can lead yourself and others towards successful outcomes.
Consider these tips for how to develop and demonstrate soft skills that will be vital to your career growth.
Examples of Soft Skills Employers Want
Organization and specific jobs will require different soft skills. Regardless, there are some qualities that almost every employer will be seeking. These soft skills make you unique and will add value to the culture,so you are seen as a huge resource that gets things done and helps your organization continue to thrive.
Consider these important soft skills:
- Communicate effectively. Strong communication skills are important everywhere, not just at work. Learn to listen to what’s being said. If you’re not sure, ask questions. Listen, repeat what’s being said and take notes when needed. Follow up with people, get their feedback and continue to share information that’s informative and helps collaborate more effectively.
- Solve problems. Rising to challenges and addressing business needs is central to any job. Learn to lean into adversity. You don’t have to like it, but you can learn a lot. In reality you’re going to be known as someone who can get stuff done and will continue to advance and grow in your endeavors, which can take you far in your career and in life.
- Express creativity. Do what makes you stand out. The work you do may be very black and white, however you can still be creative and showcase that you are a superior resource that has vision and energy to make a difference.
- Be confident. Feeling sure of yourself and your abilities encourages others to see you more favorably. Believing in yourself also makes it easier to be assertive and take on more responsibilities. Don’t lie necessarily or put others in danger, but don’t shy away from learning new things and doing your work highly effectively.
- Think positive. Whatever position you’re applying for, your future boss and co-workers will be asking themselves if you’re someone they want to work with. An upbeat attitude suggests that you’ll be pleasant and helpful. Always smile, show appreciation and be thoughtful will go a long way.
- Collaboration. Now more then ever it’s important to communicate and have effective teamwork skills that further the project and fulfill the vision ahead. Show that you’re a team player and can help each other win.
- Being adaptable. It’s been a year of lots of change. Being flexible and open to change make a huge difference in the production of our work and our team. Offer to work from home or the office. Rotate shifts if needed. Learn other roles, help the team stay on schedule and on task and do what you say you’ll do.
- Time management. Being early is being on time. Learn to show up, be ready, and schedule each day, down to the minute if needed. Work in family time, recreation. Learn to be productive and manage time extremely well. If you find yourself slacking, which will happen, understand what your doing and refocus.
- Stress management. Let’s face it, stress influences us all. Those who can manage it and find ways to cope can really make a difference on our personal and professional lives and responsibilities we face.
- Productivity. Staying on task can be challenging. Especially when working from home, and possibly having distractions during the work day, such as children or using technology in our meetings. Those who can coordinate and keep productive have a real advantage.
- Customer Service. We all encompass different roles in our work, however, those who interact direct with our customers have the greatest influence on our company. It’s a must to keep these customers happy and continue to work with the brand that you help make.
How to Develop Your Soft Skills
Few colleges offer majors in time management or resilience. However, you can strengthen any soft skill through practice and continued improvement. Over time you will get better and more suited to increase your effectiveness.
Try these effective practice techniques:
- Ask for feedback. Your family, friends, and coworkers are a good place to start. See what they have to say about your strengths and areas where you might want to grow. Get their opinion and use them to continue to advance your own skills.
- Study success. Find someone you admire for their work ethic or critical thinking. Ask what they do and what their opinion are. Look for ways to adapt their methods to suit your own personality. Read books, listen to audios of speakers, leaders, Ted talks, and those who are leaders in their crafts.
- Use your job. If you’re currently employed, seek out opportunities to practice your soft skills. Study what works with customers, log responses, ask questions, how can you do better. Also look to join a group for leadership, communication, or start your own and help others and yourself continue to grow.
- Take courses. Adult education programs at your local college and online courses cover many valuable topics. Learn more about conflict resolution, communication, public speaking, or anything that seems of interests and can help expand your knowledge.
- Volunteer your services. Support a worthy cause while you pick up new skills. Contact a group that interests you and propose a project that suits your mutual goals and abilities. Key is don’t be afraid to learn something new.
How to Demonstrate Your Soft Skills
Showing our soft skills is important but can be tricky, especially to those possible employers who don’t yet know you. Try these ideas to help you convince employers that you’re a strong candidate and know what you’re capable of.
Use these strategies to show your expertise in soft skills:
- Read carefully. Position descriptions may state the soft skills desired or offer plenty of clues. See if the company focuses on attention to detail and grasping the big picture or both. Ask questions during the interview about what you see and read about the company.
- Provide examples. When you claim to have a soft skill, back it up with a compelling story. Use examples in your cover letter, resume and through the interview.
- Show up on time. If you want your hard and soft skills to have a chance to be evaluated, you need to be punctual. Arriving a little early to your interview shows that you’re responsible and considerate of their time and yours.
- Follow up. Be sure to return phone calls and send a thank you letter and emails to those you met with. Try to get names right and positions of those you met with. If your not sure, call and ask.
Make yourself a more valuable asset by enhancing your communications and thinking abilities. Your resume may look great and have great experience. That alone won’t necessary land you the gig however. Just like you practice your craft, practice communication, listening, your ability to be flexible and scheduling your time. These are all important to really stand out.
Emphasis your experience with you prior teams. Accomplishing tasks on time, under budget, solving problems efficiently and getting through stressful situations while continuing to make successful outcomes a reality.
We are all unique, with our own creativity and skills and can make the workplace fun and rewarding for all of us. Your soft skills are fundamental to your success!
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