What are Soft Skills and Why Do They Matter?
When searching for a new job, most people know they need to structure
their resume to reflect the skills they possess that are specific to the position for which they are applying. After all, you want the employer to know you are qualified to handle the responsibilities of taking on a role in their company’s success. However, many people don’t realize the importance of soft skills and how they can give you a competitive edge when searching for employment.
You may be asking yourself, “What are soft skills?” Soft skills are a combination of personal traits, habits, and values that enable hiring managers to determine whether or not you will be a good fit in the office. They are valuable because they are transferrable to any position within the company. By analyzing soft skills, employers can gain an understanding of the kind of person you are, and identify numerous qualities that can make or break your chances of snagging the job.
Now, like hard skills, the soft skills employers look for vary from company to company and job to job, but some are more commonly sought after than others.
Employers want to know that you can communicate your thoughts and opinions in a way that co-workers and clients alike may understand. Can you listen to others’ thoughts and opinions as well?
Do you have a strong work ethic? Are you driven to do your absolute best to ensure the job gets done? Are you motivated, determined, and enthusiastic about the position?
Can you use critical thinking skills to find creative solutions to alleviate any problems or obstacles that may pop-up?
Do you believe in your own abilities? Are you confident you can handle the position you are applying for? Can you accept and learn from criticism?
Can you prioritize assignments and manage your time wisely to finish projects by the given deadline?
Do you work well in a team? Can you lead if necessary?
Can you be flexible and adapt to changing, fast paced environments?
As I mentioned earlier, these skills will vary from company to company, but this is a good starting point to understanding the types of skills employers like to see in their prospects.
Communication, work ethic, critical thinking, problem solving, confidence, time management, flexibility and adaptability, and the ability to work in team environments are all very desirable traits in a potential hire. Knowing which of these and other soft skills will translate to the role you are applying for, will help you to design you resume specifically for the company you are applying to, and help your resume stand out amongst the competition.