A job description usually contains a listing of specific hard skills that are necessary for anyone applying for the position. These often include industry expertise, technological capabilities and leadership experience. Soft skills don't usually appear in job postings, but they're crucial to professional success and just as important. Brush up on these soft skills to become the kind of candidate firms hope to find.
Communication is one of the most important soft skills for professionals in any industry. Modern workers use a staggering variety of channels to transfer information: email, text, instant messages, social media, project management software, video chats and phone calls, just to name a few. During the hiring process, employers look for candidates who can switch channels effortlessly, all while maintaining clarity and professionalism. Demonstrate your communication skills by ensuring that every written message is error-free and grammatically correct. Work on your phone voice to eliminate tics and filler words, and proofread your public social media profiles.
When you're applying for a job in a fast-paced, constantly changing industry, flexibility is crucial. Employers look for workers who can take sudden shifts, process them quickly and continue moving forward without losing productivity. The hiring process is an ideal time to show off your soft skills in flexibility and adaptability. If the employer suggests a last-minute interview, accept graciously, and show up prepared. In the interview, don't become visibly shaken by location changes, aggressive interviewers or surprise questions — simply breathe, take a moment to think, and provide a calm answer.
To find self-reliant, independent candidates, hiring managers look for soft skills such as confidence and self-starting. Make yourself a more attractive prospect by showing that you don't need to be micromanaged. Anticipate the employer's needs and questions in advance so you can meet any request. Bring extra copies of your resume to the interview to pass out to unexpected guests. Identify the key claims and skills on your resume, and print out a portfolio piece or document that reinforces your point. Research the company thoroughly before an interview so you can add value to any discussion about the industry and relevant current events.
Employers need workers who show up and meet deadlines. Start showing off your reliability from the start. Send in your materials before the application deadline. If the employer emails with a question or a request, reply immediately. Show up early for the interview. By being responsive and timely, you can immediately gain an advantage over candidates who procrastinate and make excuses.
When it comes to soft skills, enthusiasm is important but often ignored. Don't be afraid to show your passion to a potential employer — it indicates that you can maintain a positive attitude and stay motivated during difficult times. There's no need to go overboard, particularly if you're not naturally effusive. Keep it simple by explaining what you love about the work, telling an anecdote or discussing the night classes you've enrolled in to receive an industry certification.
By nature, soft skills are difficult to prove on a resume or cover letter. By embodying the most important skills during your job search, you can stand out from other applicants and boost your chances of getting hired.
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