SKILLS DEVELOPMENT / 24 July 2020Soft Skills: Why They are Harder Than You Think and How You Can Acquire Them
Behind every successful company, you will find dedicated and hardworking employees. The right employees can increase productivity and take the business to a higher level than it was before.
Good grades from a college or university and working experience will definitely get you an interview, but that doesn't mean you are guaranteed a job. So what do employers look for that will help you get a job? Apart from being qualified for the job, Employers look for qualities that will benefit the company, fellow colleagues and customers.
Lee Fisher, an HR Manager at Blinds Direct said,
“I'm continually impressed by the hard skills demonstrated by young candidates. However, we have noticed a considerable amount of graduates look great upon application (impressive portfolios, postgraduate degrees, work experience etc.) but when we invite them to interview, it is evident that they lack basic soft skills.”
So what qualities and soft skills are employers actually looking for?
It is hard to prove your trustworthiness during an interview, but sooner or later, it will be evident whether you can be trusted or not. Employers prefer people who can be trusted with delicate matters with little to no supervision. People are looking at what you are doing 24/7 whether it be at school, business or in your personal life. If you can be trustworthy, your Employer will never have to worry about the decisions you make.
Tip: When you write up your resume, be honest with every part. Be honest in all your doings. If you make a mistake own up to it, don’t try to cover it up.
Communication is vital in the workplace. Without it, things may not run smoothly. Employers would like to see if you can clearly express your ideas to others and the manner in which you do so.
Communication not only refers to expressing yourself but also involves listening to others. Both oral and written communication skills are considered, so you have to be good at both.
Tip: When your teachers or peers ask questions, be the first to respond. Be active in all conversations. Listen, ask questions and share your own opinion.
The ability to work in a team is important in the workplace and anywhere else if tasks are to be accomplished successfully. You should be able to demonstrate your leadership skills that can lead to the success of the team. Even though the position you are applying for may not be a leadership position, it is still important to cultivate this skill.
Teamwork is not only about being a leader but also a member under the leadership of someone else. Are you able to take instructions from other people?
Tip: In college take advantage of the group projects your teacher assigns. Treat your classmates as if they were your future colleges and treat the project as if is part of your job. This type of roleplaying will help you practice the skills you need in the future.
4. Conflict Resolution
Since we are all different and have weaknesses in some areas, conflicts in the workplace will always arise. Employers search for someone who can be able to resolve such conflicts amicably and as soon as possible.
When conflicts arise, do you:
Conflicts at the workplace negatively affect productivity hence, employers value this quality in their employees.
Tip: Stay calm when conflicts arise. Instead of blurting out your opinion, try listening and looking at all sides of the conflict.
No matter how skilled you are, at times you may experience some setbacks. Do you give up easily or do you persist until you achieve your goals? Resilience is a quality all successful people possess and one of the qualities most employers look for in their employees.
How well do you cope with unexpected changes that come up during your projects? Are you able to work under pressure? Of course, such things may distress you, but the ability to bounce back and move on is what employers want to see in you.
Tip: Stay positive when you mess up. Be decisive when making decisions and move towards your goals.
6. Critical and Analytical Thinking
This is one of the graduate skills most employers look for in potential employees. You need to be able to break down problems into smaller problems and create solutions to solve them. You also need to know why things are being done the way they are and not just doing something in a particular way just because it is the norm.
Some employers may give you a writing test to test these skills. Your written communication skills will also be tested through this. Of course, you would not want any mistake on the paper since you risk losing out on the job. After writing your paper, you can hire an online essay editor to make any necessary changes or improve the quality of your work.
Tip: One great way to improve critical and analytical thinking is to spend some amount of time every day playing brain games. Whether it is sudoku or other brain games, spend 15 minutes a day and you will start to improve your skills.
Employers may not always be around to supervise your work. They thus look for employees who can work with little supervision and manage their time well.
Self-management also involves you prioritizing your work and meeting reasonable deadlines set for any projects you have. Being able to manage yourself also proves that you can be trustworthy even when your boss is not around.
Since this is a valued quality that is highly sought by employers, some employers have opted to hire freelancers to work for them. Freelancers are self-employed and set their working hours. They are able to manage their time and resources well and deliver high-quality work.
Confidence is important especially in industries such as sales and marketing. When a seller is not confident, others may have doubts about the genuineness of the product. On the other hand, a confident person will convince people to buy products most of the time.
Confidence in the workplace will help you take risks and go beyond what is expected to accomplish your goals. It will also enable you to speak out whenever you do not agree with something, or you want to sell your idea to others.
Tip: Rafe Gomez from VC Inc. Marketing says that
“The key to getting a job offer is by presenting yourself as a solution to help the company achieve its objectives. While you may not have a lot of evidence of this in your background (since this may be your first job), you can show that you're the best person for the open position by demonstrating your understanding of these objectives, the advantages that the company has over its competitors, and how you think the company can attain the objectives relative to its competitors and market conditions. The fact that you've taken the time to prepare your strategy will be highly impressive to a hiring manager and/or your prospective boss, since he/she will view you as not just a job seeker but a valuable asset who can help his/her department.”
Various changes may take place in your workplace. You may be transferred to another city or another department, or unexpected changes may come up that require you to do things differently.
Are you able to easily adapt to the situation or will you insist on doing things your own way? This quality is important as it helps you learn different ways of doing things once you try out new methods.
The more you improve yourself, the more marketable you become. Employers can test this skill by asking you to show what you have done to improve your skills or gain new skills.
Have you learned a new skill or advanced your current skills over the past 3 years?
Tip: Try something new every day. Learn a new word, a new language or start a new hobby.
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Michelle Lambert is a professional editor at various academic/non-academic platforms. You can check out EduBirdie at Facebook. She loves reading and learning new things. Michelle also values giving advice to those seeking employment by writing articles with practical advice on what is required to land jobs successfully.