Even in technical jobs working with machines, software and computers, soft skills are the key to landing a position in a highly competitive labor market. Employers want the entire package of a people person, or someone who can display the panache and right attitude while performing highly technical tasks.
A study by LiveCareer released in early 2018 demonstrates that tech-heavy jobs require advanced training or a higher education. These are hard skills because you can prove you earned them through your transcript or letter of certification. You can learn and measure a hard skill in the job world.
Soft skills, on the other hand, are a different matter. Employers can't necessarily measure these skills, but they know if candidates have them when conducting interviews. To find out if someone has people skills, interviewers have to see candidates in person and test their behavior, attitude and response through a series of targeted questions. You can't prove these types of skills from a piece of paper. A particular skill set makes you stand out from others and lets you showcase what you can really do.
What the Study Found
The LiveCareer study determined that soft skills increase your chances of success. Researchers analyzed thousands of resumes and job postings across 12 major occupational types. Communication skills appeared in all 12 occupational types. Emphasize communication on your resume. It involves talking to someone face-to-face, over the phone, through email, in a text message, via social media and within a company's internal program management software. You have tons of ways to communicate with your co-workers, so it's important to demonstrate these skills throughout your job search process. Be sure you know how to write effectively and speak with authority when you communicate.
Customer service represents one of the top skills that employers look for across the board. In 11 out of 12 occupational types, customer service was the most-desired skill employers wanted in a candidate. This included areas where customer service isn't a traditional focus, such as accounting, nursing and teaching. Keep these things in mind when applying for your next job.
In the LiveCareer study, three of the top five required soft skills in both tech and customer service jobs were the exact same. In this respect, you should list more skills on your resume if possible. The average job posting showed nearly 22 skills needed, but resumes fell short with only 13 skills listed.
What This Means for You
The study pinpoints two main takeaways regarding soft skills. First, you should communicate you have these skills on your resume and during a job interview. Hard skills are very important in tech jobs, but don't neglect other skills that you can't prove on paper. Second, learn how to work a skill set into a resume. Use language that mimics the job ad to include the right keywords looked for by an applicant tracking system but also to demonstrate you can speak the employer's language.
Soft skills in the contemporary job world are one key to landing a dream job. Perfecting these skills and posting them to your resume can lead to better success in finding the ideal job along your career path.
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