Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Soft Skills That Could Land You the Job

Do you think "soft skills" don't matter? It's just about how you can do the job, right? Wrong. Here are just six of the other things employers might be looking at as they interview you.

-Leadership/Team Building. These are not just for supervisors but for candidates who want to demonstrate an interest in that career direction.
-Team Player. This just seems so overstated but it is true. Team players make offices work and move forward. Silos can kill a positive workplace culture.
-Goal-Oriented Self-Starter. The article states, "while employers don't necessarily want loose canons or mavericks, they do appreciate people who don't need to be told what to do and can set their own tasks and follow through."
-Excellent Communicator. This one is a no brainer. Or should be. No matter what the task. Communication skills - verbal, written and non-verbal are important. Read - How Body Language can Bury You in the Interview. The article states, "the ability to write a coherent memo or email, give clear verbal instructions, and help meetings run smoothly -- or, at least, not sabotage meetings -- will probably be needed." Excellent communication skills go along with understanding of office etiquette.
-Flexibility/Multi-Tasking Ability. Think about being able to "walk and chew gum" at the same time," as the saying goes. Especially in tight economic times, candidates must come with the ability to bring value beyond their specific job description.
-Sense of Humor. This just makes the day go faster. Author of 'Career Wisdom", John McKee says, "unless you're applying to Comedy Central, you don't have to make them double up laughing." Getting folks to crack a smile ever so often, can keep you sane.

Keep soft skills in mind in the job interview.  


Rick Saia said...

Nice post Marcia! What you list here is true, especially for career changers. What they may lack in "hard" skills that are tied to the job or industry, they can make up - at least a little - in their soft skills because employers do indeed look for team players who can motivate themselves, communicate well, and, yes, even laugh a little.

Eve said...

Is "energy" a soft skill? I see that as a big issue. There is nothing like sitting in a meeting with low energy people or working on a team with low energy people. Don't need bubbly all the time, just not grumpy all the time.

they are draining.

Marcia Robinson said...

Hi Rick,

Job seekers are getting really savvy about how to sell job skills and sometimes forgetting how to show their "human" side in the interview. A little laughter will go a long way.

Marcia Robinson said...

Good point Eve. I'd say "Energy" is a terrific add to the list of "soft skills" that folks bring to the workplace.