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5 Soft Skills You Need To Get Hired And Thrive
So you landed an interview after getting the training required for a new career. Congrats! Hopefully you’ve been trained by some of the best teachers in the state. You’ve studied, practiced, and perhaps even perfected the technical skills required to excel in your potential new role.
If someone asks you to perform the duties of your potential new position you could do it blindfolded. But what are your soft skills? Do you know what soft skills are?
Before you get too confident about an interview you should ask yourself some questions. Can you have a conversation? Can you make eye contact? Do you know how to interact with people from different backgrounds? Can you engage socially to the point where you make people comfortable?
If the answer to any of the above questions is no, it won’t matter how good you are at coding, or welding, or being a mechanic, or whatever skills you’ve acquired for a potential career. You won’t get the gig and it will have nothing to do with your technical skills because while technical skills ensure you can do the work, soft skills ensure you can thrive in a career.
Soft skills are just as important as hard (technical) skills. These are more nuanced, yet equally as important.
"We call them different things but soft skills are nothing new. They're the intangible qualities employers seek in their employees," Ellen Darcy, a career consultant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, recently told the Chicago Tribune. "They're the type of skills that you're expected to have—the ability to listen to others, the ability to communicate with your coworkers, the openness to constructive criticism. They're the skills that you bring to a job that aren't always identifiable on your resume."
There are many soft skills, but Darcy points to five specific skills she feels every perspective employee should possess.
1. Strong interpersonal skills. If you have strong interpersonal skills, you are someone who realizes the benefits of cooperation. You're a person who knows when to speak and when to keep your mouth shut. Sometimes it's as simple as a positive attitude and a pleasant disposition.
2. Communication skills. We'd like to think that our communication skills are judged by how we speak with each other but in reality, the most important part of communicating is how well we actually listen to each other. If you're a person who can sit across the table from others and soak in their opinions and ideas, your communication skills are strong. "People underestimate the importance of effective communication via email but really, if you're sending poorly structured and poorly supported emails, you're going to look incompetent," says Darcy.
3. Research skills. People who have the curiosity to look things up either after or before they speak show the thoroughness employers look for when hiring. It's one thing to be able to offer a bunch of concepts with little regard to their history or effectiveness. It is something else entirely to do even a minimal amount of research on those concepts so you can explain what has and hasn't worked.
4. Problem-solving skills. "Problem-solving skills aren't necessarily just for managers. The most effective employees are those who don't have their name on the title of the proposal but are the ones who, while doing the grunt work, figured out ways around the impasse that could impact their goal," says Darcy.
5. A strong work ethic. Your resume may list the numerous accomplishments throughout your career but it is your responsibility to subtly verbalize how hard you worked to achieve those accomplishments. Sure, you can mention things in your interview like your willingness to come in early and stay late, and you can share anecdotes about how you and others pulled off a Herculean project in an unfriendly environment, but you really can't prove a work ethic until you are actually working. That's why the first few months of a job are so important. If your coworkers and your manager see you working hard on your task at hand, they'll know that you're a person who can be counted on to do more.