You might have heard the term “soft skills” before. It’s a relatively new concept, or at least the term is relatively new, even if the idea has been around for many decades. Soft skills are skills or qualities that a person has that you might not necessarily put on your resume, but they can help you in the business or corporate arena.
By contrast, hard skills might consist of something like computer programming ability or knowing how to run a grill at a restaurant. They’re tangible abilities you can demonstrate for an employer.
The best workers are those who have both. Let’s look at five of the most vital soft skills or qualities for which employers often look.
Let’s say you’re job hunting. You sit down for an interview, and your potential new boss has your resume in front of them. You talk about the hard skills you have, but then this individual asks you what else you might bring to the table that will make you a valuable team addition.
You’ll need to think about what soft skills are employers looking for when hiring that it makes sense to mention. If you say you’re good with time management, that’s often going to check a box for this person if they’re on the fence about bringing you on board.
If you say you have time management skills, that’s a signal you’re a good multitasker. You can expediently handle assignments. If you’re not able to do that, you probably won’t be an attractive job candidate.
You might be trying to get a job that requires no creativity whatsoever. Let’s be realistic, though: you have to develop solutions to problems sometimes, even if you have a straightforward job that requires only repetitive behavior.
If you can say to that company head or hiring manager that you’re creative, that’s a positive signal that they’re likely to appreciate. It means you can probably come up with a solution to an everyday problem that might come up, without needing to seek out their help with something they might perceive as relatively trivial.
Of course, there are some jobs where you face different challenges every day. In these instances, creativity comes close to crossing the line from a soft skill to a hard one. In some jobs, creativity is absolutely a prerequisite.
Depending on the position you want, you might find that negotiation skills are also vital. You might have a job where you’re interfacing with other team members all the time, and some of them may not have the easiest personalities with which to deal. You’ll need to be able to negotiate with them to keep them happy.
You might have to negotiate with clients or customers as well. Maybe you’re trying to sell them on a big deal, and they want a better price on a huge number of products, or they want specific amenities if they’re going to use your company over a competitor.
If you can negotiate on the fly but still put deals together that benefit your business entity, you’ll be very valuable to the company heads. That’s the kind of soft skill that not only gets you hired but probably means promotions, raises, and bonuses are in your future.
If you have poor communication skills, it almost doesn’t matter what other qualities you have. If you’re not able to communicate effectively with individuals both inside and outside the company, you will cause more problems than the ones you solve.
You need to know how to communicate with others through your speech, body language, and the written word. The better you can communicate, the fewer issues you’ll run into, and the more those around you will come to trust you.
You should be able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, whether that’s a coworker or customer. Maybe you feel very strongly that you are right about something, and the other person is wrong.
You will find it easier to get past a disagreement if you can attempt to see things from their perspective. Once you do that, you’ll likely be able to propose a solution to which both you and the other party are amenable.
You also might need to have motivational skills, coaching or mentoring abilities, and more. The more soft skills you can mention when the time comes for someone to seriously consider hiring you, the better your chances.