According to the Oxford Dictionaries, soft skills are “personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.” With this definition in mind, it’s no surprise that employers value soft skills as much, if not more so, than hard, technical skills.
Below are six of the most important soft skills we look for as an employer. As you read, take an honest inventory of your skill set and make note of the skills you need to cultivate.
Communication skills. Regardless of the profession, good written and verbal communication skills are important. In fact, the ability to effectively communicate is at the top of nearly all employers’ “essential skills” lists. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to be an eloquent speaker or a brilliant writer. You should, however, be able to effectively relay information and make sure everyone is on the same page.
Problem solving. “How did you solve a recent problem in the workplace?” is a common question asked during job interviews, and for good reason. Employers want to know that you can creatively tackle everyday issues with ease with as little disruption to the work flow as possible. Problems will arise and you may make mistakes; what’s most important is that you have the ability to quickly transition to solutions.
Flexibility. Change is inevitable. Employers need workers who can embrace new ideas and easily shift to a higher priority task without issue.
Positive attitude. Employers are attracted to people who are optimistic and upbeat. Those with a positive attitude typically get along well with others and will motivate the team. When interviewing for a job, share examples of how you maintained a positive outlook even through trying times.
Time management. Knowing how to effectively maximize your time and meet deadlines is an important part of being a contributing team member. Those who struggle can improve their time management skills with tools, including daily planners, to-do lists, and coaching.
Decision making. Along with time management, employers need people who can quickly make smart decisions on the fly to maintain momentum and prevent delays.
How would you rate yourself on these skills? See an area that you would like to develop? Reach out to us for advice and coaching. Our recruiters are here to help you position yourself for success.