Insight Blog

Highlighting Soft Skills to Get the Job You Want

Highlighting Soft Skills to Get the Job You Want
There’s no doubt that, when you’re applying for a new role, your technical competencies are the first to be considered by a potential employer. This is understandable, especially when certain positions demand highly specialized skill sets. Coming shortly behind hard skills are your soft skills. These are the abilities and traits that don’t have degrees or certifications associated with them (unfortunately). They’re ones that have been ingrained in you (sometimes when you weren’t even aware of it). But, they have become who you are, both professionally and personally. 
Even though soft skills are important, and they capture attention from potential employers, candidates often overlook them when it comes to their resumes, cover letters, and interviews. To stand out among candidates, include content in your resume that illustrate these traits and assimilate them into your responses to interview questions. Trust us – potential employers will notice.

Let’s take a look at soft skills that we, as search consultants, hold valuable in candidates we are considering for our clients and what they exactly mean.

1.  Communication

Yes, we all know what communication is. But, we have to elaborate on this soft skill because it is the most important quality a prospective employee, or really anyone, can have. Let’s face it, while there are many variations of communication skills, verbal communication trumps others because it’s usually the first impression you make.
Believe it or not, there are job candidates who go into interviews and barely speak, and they provide the bare minimum when responding to questions. Note: Don’t be one of those people. Instead, exude confidence and a positive attitude (hopefully you have both). Articulate your thoughts, and provide depth in your responses. A potential employer wants to know more substantial information than what is listed on your resume, and they want to see how you convey it verbally. Having strong communication skills relay to many different qualities of an employee, such as abilities to build rapport easily, get along with co-workers, be a team player, and maybe even take the lead on projects. 
Other types of communication abilities are writing and conducting presentations. Not everyone is proficient in these so, if you have them, be sure to find ways to demonstrate them.

2.  People skills

How well do you get along with others on your team, direct reports, superiors, and customers? How do you build rapport? How do you influence people?

3.  Leadership

Have you been responsible for a team? If so, describe that experience and your managing style. How do you motivate and empower your team and colleagues?

4. Innovative and progressive mindset

Do you stay abreast of trends in your industry and/or career specialization, and how? Are you always thinking of new and better ways of doing your job, or how your organization can excel? Are you afraid of change, or do you welcome it?

5.  Adaptability

Are you flexible and resilient? Are you adaptable to changing market and workplace conditions?

6.  Self-regulation

This can tie in to adaptability. How do you respond to stressful or challenging situations? Do you readily assume responsibilities for your actions and work?

7.  Self-awareness

Are you aware of your strengths and weaknesses? What do you do to improve upon them? How do you respond to constructive criticism? 

8. Decision-making

How do you typically make decisions? Are there situations in which you feel comfortable making quick decisions and others in which you gather the appropriate information first?  

9. Problem-solving

How do you process challenges and difficult problems, and develop solutions? 

10. Attention to detail

Do you excel at details? Do you have a process for ensuring you are paying attention to specific information and procedures? 

11. Ability to hire and mentor a team

If you have been in a position in which you had to hire employees, what were the recruitment methods you utilized, and how did you evaluate candidates? Once they were hired, were you responsible for training them? If so, how do you typically train co-workers and direct reports? Do you enjoy hiring and training others?  

12. Self-motivation

Would you consider yourself ambitious? If so, what motivates you? Do you hold high standards for yourself and others? What are your career goals, and how do you work towards them? 
After considering the above, we are confident you will agree with us that soft skills are important. That is why it is essential to communicate them during a recruitment process. In doing so, you will certainly differentiate yourself among candidates, and maybe even your future co-workers.  Make no doubt about it, these are the qualities that will help you to excel in your career and achieve your goals.