Having soft skills can be the deciding factor for an employer when choosing between job applicants. These skills are difficult to quantify but are crucial for fitting into a job, company, and work environment. During the pandemic, hiring managers are placing more importance on identifying soft skills beyond what is listed on a candidate’s resume.
To increase your likelihood of being hired, as a job seeker, it’s crucial to highlight your soft skills, such as empathy, open-mindedness, and communication, in your job application, resume, or cover letter. You also need these soft skills in jobs requiring leadership, such as teaching or sales positions, since you may need to delegate responsibilities and guide teammates or customers. These roles require good negotiation abilities and the ability to accept constructive feedback, another soft skill. Employers can assess these soft skills with interview questions that ask about specific situations in the workplace. For example, they may ask how you handled a difficult client or coworker.
While hard skills are specific to a particular profession, soft skills are more general and transferable. If you’re switching careers or changing direction within your industry, these are the skills to highlight on your resume.
For example, compassion is a soft valuable skill in any field. It helps team members to feel valued and understood. Compassion also assists with leadership, as it is essential for building trust and maintaining workplace cohesion. Flexibility is another critical soft skill, significantly as work environments change.
Tech employees often need to work together even in the most isolated roles. This is why teamwork skills are some of the most sought-after soft skills by hiring managers. Consider asking a friend or mentor to evaluate your ability to collaborate. They can give you honest feedback on your soft skills and help you set goals for improvement. Being able to communicate is another soft skill employers value. This means explaining technical ideas in ways that are easy for non-technical people to understand, such as through graphic presentations or using everyday language. It also means knowing how to resolve conflicts among team members without letting your emotions get in the way.
Problem-solving skills are a top soft skill employers want in their employees. It’s a crucial part of being an independent worker and demonstrates you can handle challenges without relying on the boss for guidance. It’s also essential to show you how to solve problems by sharing examples from past roles. You can use storytelling during interviews to explain the obstacles you faced and how you solved them. Employers will also look at how you handled a problem independently, such as missing a deadline or dealing with an angry customer. It shows you’re proactive and successful. This is a desirable soft skill for any profession.
During a job interview, the candidate must demonstrate flexibility in handling different tasks. This is particularly significant for roles that require frequent interactions with people. Hard skills are abilities that necessitate extensive education and hands-on training over several months or even years. For instance, these skills may include typing proficiency, foreign language expertise, project management aptitude, and analytical thinking. In contrast, soft skills can be acquired through self-assessment and practice. Job seekers can develop these skills by enrolling in a certification program or taking classes at their current workplace. They can also participate in team projects that allow them to hone these skills.
Having strong leadership skills can be a game-changer in any position. Not only does it allow employees to lead teams but also to take charge of their professional development. Employees can better assess their strengths and weaknesses and work with a coach to improve them. Measuring hard and soft skills is more accessible, but there are ways to do so. One example is conducting a workshop where employees role-play workplace situations. For instance, they can practice resolving a conflict with a customer before their supervisor or training and development representative. Then they can apply those skills to real-life scenarios.