Many job seekers focus on their hard skills on their resumes and during their interviews. While having the technical know-how required to manage work duties is important, there is much more that goes into being a great candidate than your task-oriented abilities. Soft skills can actually help set you apart from the crowd and may increase your chance of being selected by an employer.
Often, soft skills are those that aren’t clearly defined. They are similar to personality traits as they can’t be described in concrete terms or acquired through tried-and-true training methods. For example, communication skills are a soft skill most employers hope to find in their candidates. But how a hiring manager defines those skills may vary from one to the next.
Even though the idea behind soft skills can feel a bit ambiguous, it is important to work them into your resume and interview. If you aren’t sure how to work them in, or which ones to highlight, here are some tips to get you started.
In most cases, working with others is a requirement of the job. So, being able to show you are a team player that works well as part of a group can help you land a new position. One of the easiest ways to demonstrate these skills is to reference them specifically. For example, if you headed up a team during a successful project, mention the accomplishment. Additionally, you can discuss team triumphs and challenges overcome during your interview.
Being able to work in harmony as well as being equipped to manage conflict will appeal to hiring managers, so don’t hesitate to use an instance or two to highlight these abilities.
When an interviewer asks you how you manage conflicting deadlines, project changes or shifting priorities, they want to know how easily you adapt to these challenges in the workplace. Being flexible is critical in a fast-paced work environment, especially in environments that are customer-driven.
When the question is inevitably asked, make sure you have a strong example to lean on. This can be anything from a project deadline being pushed forward unexpectedly to providing support to two high-level managers and having to ensure all of their needs were met in a timely fashion.
All jobs require problem-solving at some point. Often this includes being resourceful and creative to make sure tasks are completed properly. If you have an example where you had to finish a project with less than ideal tools or had to come up with a solution to an issue that had never come up before, feel free to tell the tale.
Even completing a project that experienced an unexpected budget cut or higher than anticipated expense can qualify if you had to adjust your approach to bring it to completion.
Communication is partially about delivery and partially about being receptive. You have to know when to speak, how to convey the information and when to stop and listen. Even body language is a factor in communication.
From a resume standpoint, if your previous work involved presentations to clients or other employees, that is a sign of communication skills. So, even if your experience is limited to presenting project updates at team meetings, feel free to include it as an example.
On the other hand, an interview is essentially a live demonstration of your ability to communicate effectively. That is why practicing interview answers and making sure you listen when the interviewer speaks is so important. By handling an interview with the same skills involved in other presentations, you can showcase your abilities when they matter most.
If you are interested in learning more about presenting your soft skills to employers or you are looking for a new position, the recruiters at The Squires Group are here to assist. Contact us and speak with a member of our recruitment team today.