Many employers think soft skills are more important than any other factor in getting a job. Soft skills are the intangible qualities and personal attributes that employees need, such as good communication skills and the ability to collaborate well on a team. Hard skills, by contrast, are the specific qualifications employees need to perform the tasks of their jobs. A computer analyst, for example, needs to know software programs and computers.
Why are soft skills often considered more important than hard ones? There are two reasons. First, workers with the requisite hard skills but without the required soft skills are unlikely to make good employees. Someone who doesn’t communicate well or can’t work well with others on a team can hurt the working environment. Second, many employers can teach the hard skills they need, but many think soft skills can’t be taught.
So you need to seek out ways to demonstrate good soft skills or to improve them if they need to be improved. Here are some tips.
Good communication is likely the #1 soft skill. All the other soft skills rely on communication, and it’s an essential skill in business. Communication means you can convey what you mean clearly, in both written and spoken form. It means your communications are tactful and appropriate. People with good communication skills don’t step on toes by either withholding information or sharing too much.
Fortunately, there are many ways to improve your communication skills. Make an effort to contribute in staff meetings, for example. Join Toastmasters, a group dedicated to public speaking. Join an industry organization and make presentations there.
Many organizations have little use for people who work best alone. Collaborative work is more dynamic and more likely to drive improvement. In addition, a strong team increases the chances the workplace will be a happy and cohesive one. Happy employees tend to stay longer, and retention is better for the company.
You can demonstrate and improve teamwork by becoming more of a team player. If someone is overloaded or needs training, offer to help them if you can. If one of the members of your team will be out on vacation, offer to cover for them or take notes at meetings to smooth their return.
Adaptability means adjusting to changes easily and with a minimum of disruption. If your company has an influx of new personnel, for example, you are friendly and welcoming. If new computer skills are needed, you are happy to learn them. Adaptability is a business value because change is a constant, and people who can’t change easily can disrupt the workplace or delay needed improvements.
Brush up on your adaptability by recognizing the positive reasons for any change happening. New people might be an opportunity for the company to grow. Focus on the positive. If you are required to meet new people or learn new programs, take part cheerfully and learn from the experience.
Contact a Staffing Firm Today
Looking for a new job can be daunting, but it’s easier with a staffing agency on your side. We can help you find open positions and give advice on interviewing and more. We’re happy to help. Contact us today.