11 Must-Have Soft Skills If You Are Looking for a Job
By: Xcel IQ
Hard skills versus soft skills…which is more important? Of course if you ask five people…you’ll get five different answers. The truth is, they’re both necessary to be a successful employee.
“Intelligence, knowledge or experience are important and might get you a job, but strong communication skills are what will get you promoted.”
~Mireille Guiliano, French-American Author
Employers today are putting a lot more emphasis on soft skills when looking for new hires. They are realizing that it doesn’t matter if someone is the smartest person in the world in their field…if she can’t communicate or interact with others, then her knowledge is not as useful.
That might sound a little harsh, but for most jobs it’s true. If you can’t get your point across to a group of people, explain why something is important, lead a team in the appropriate direction to get a project done, or persuade a customer of the value of your product, you will not be as valuable a resource as another employee who can do all of these things.
What is the difference between hard and soft skills?
Good question, because many people searching for a job may not understand the difference let alone the importance of both.
Hard skills are the skills you can be taught. They are usually specific for a particular job or line of work. Things like accounting, computer skills, machine operations, software development, graphic design, architectural design, financial planning, biochemistry, nuclear science, law…you get the idea. These are specific skills or knowledge needed for a specific job.
Soft skills are the people skills or interpersonal skills learned over a lifetime. These types of skills help you get along in the world. They allow you to interact with others, engage them, and get them to do things you want them to do. There are many soft skills but some are more important than others when it comes to getting hired over others applying for the same job.
The 11 most important soft skills you must demonstrate to a potential employer:
1. Communications – Clarity in both written and verbal communications is essential. You must be able to express yourself in a professional manner and be able to have others understand you. The most successful people are the ones who convey information in a clear and precise manner.
2. Listening – Part of being a good communicator is being a good listener. Giving the other person your undivided attention and understanding what they are saying before you try to answer their concern is paramount.
3. Integrity – Be honest and truthful in your words and your actions. Show consistency with regard to your values and principles. It goes a long way to gaining people’s trust.
4. Positive attitude – Keep your attitude upbeat. You’ll find that it’s contagious to those around you. Be polite and helpful to others.
5. Strong work ethic – Show up early for your appointment. Dress appropriately…even if others don’t. Always look and act professional. Use appropriate language and tone of voice.
6. Teamwork – The old saying goes, “there’s no I in teamwork.” Discuss the importance of being an active part of a team.
7. Problem solving – Use your creativity to come up with answers to problems. Provide positive solutions…not complaints or excuses.
8. Motivator – Be a self-starter and don’t wait for someone to ask you to do something. Take the initiative and take action.
9. Self-Discipline – Stay focused on the job at hand. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted or distract others. Use your time wisely and work efficiently. Continually work to improve yourself.
10. Accept criticism and learn from it – It’s difficult to be told you did something wrong or could have done it better. Put your ego aside, accept the feedback graciously, and think of it as a learning experience. You’ll do much better next time.
11. Confidence – Be confident in and trust yourself. You may not know all of the answers, but you do know how to ask the appropriate questions and learn. Study when you need to. Be prepared through research. Learn about the company before you go to the interview. Do your homework. Show those around you that you are the right person for the position.
You now have eleven crucial traits interviewers will be looking for when hiring new employees. Be professional, polite and show them you know what you are capable of doing. Don’t come across arrogant or self-righteous. Just relax, show confidence, and be honest. Let your strong soft skills shine through.
Employers are looking for people with strong hard and soft skills. Stand out and above the other applicants by demonstrating that you have both!