Most jobs require hard or technical skills and soft or people skills. Although technical skills are necessary for most positions, 57 percent of leaders say soft skills can be even more important.
Although soft skills are more difficult to learn and measure, they often make the difference in hiring decisions. Employees who relate well to others usually have more successful careers, and bring more value to their organizations.
If you are looking to improve and focus on your talents, here are four of the most sought-after soft skills in the current job market.
Which Soft Skills Are Most Valuable to Employers?
Effective communication is essential for any organization. When hiring, employers are looking for a variety of traits falling under the communication label. These include verbal, written and listening skills, as well as the ability to read nonverbal cues or body language. The best way to improve communication is through ongoing practice. Pay attention to everyday interactions and evaluate your strengths and shortcomings. Courses on writing and presenting are helpful, also.
Not everyone will be the CEO or founder of a corporation. However, companies need leaders, both formal and informal, at all levels of their organizations. Leadership skills range from decision making to accepting responsibility, and strategic planning. To build your abilities, look for chances to become involved in projects, initiatives or committees. If these opportunities do not exist in the workplace, consider volunteering or becoming involved in community organizations.
Teamwork takes communication skills to the next level. Employees not only must understand one another, but also cooperate sometimes despite differences. Even if you work primarily by yourself, you still need to build relationships, to offer and accept feedback and to recognize the contributions of others. As with communication, practice and self-assessment are keys to becoming a better team player.
In a rapidly changing world, companies are looking for employees who are flexible. Technologies and business models change seemingly overnight. Therefore, workers must be able to learn quickly and to stay dependable when faced with unpredictability. Although some people are more adaptable than others, you can build this skill. Stay up-to-date on recent technologies in your field and try new things. Pay attention to your resistance to change and push yourself out of your comfort zone when necessary.
How to Highlight Soft Skills
Give Specific Examples
Vague phrases such as “Strong leadership skills” are meaningless. Instead, use examples and stories. “Co-founded and chaired a safety leadership committee that reduced accidents by 50 percent annually” provides details and proof concerning your ability to lead.
Demonstrate Skills in Person
Employers will be looking for skills like communication on your resume, in your interview and on your post-interview thank-you note. Be prepared to put your soft skills into action in real time.
Are You Having Trouble Finding a Great Job?
FirstStaff’s job placement specialists can help you build your skills and match your talents to the right position. If you are looking for light industrial, administrative or professional opportunities in Little Rock, Arkansas, search our available jobs today!