Expert Essentials: Soft skills
Most people will focus on getting hard skills, which is one of the main reasons they study at universities. In the previous edition of this series we discussed a hard skill which summarises two out of the top ten hard skills that can get you hired (Linkedin, 2016). However, even though hard skills are still essentials, a shift towards soft skills has arisen. Recent numbers show that 67% of the Dutch HR-managers have problems with finding talented recruits which have also mastered soft skills.
Soft skills are simply another part of business-skills according to Andrews and Higson (2010). They conclude that there are four main soft skills from the opinion of multiple employers. Communication, presentation, innovation and teamwork are the four soft skills that are most appreciated by them. This corresponds to the view by some business leaders as found by Linkedin, who note that they find: teamwork, innovation, communication, persistence and being able to put your ego aside as the main soft skills needed to be recruited.
But why are these soft skills so important? Well, it all comes down to how you will be able to function as a part of that company. You will most likely not work on your own, thus being able to communicate your ideas to others will be essential. If you are not able to put aside your ego and accept suggestions or criticism from your team, you will not function properly and as a consequence, the team will not function properly. Lastly, finding the persistence to always innovate both the service or product you are offering as well as to learn and grow as a professional makes you an asset which becomes worth more overtime for a company.
Showing them off
You might be thinking that your soft skills are top notch, but you have no idea how to showcase that you are the expert. This is logical since soft skills are not something you can easily put on your linkedin skills list and as such have to be conveyed in a different way. There are two possible moments to showcase that you are the one for a company, be it offline or online. The first showcase moment is your cover letter, make sure that your cover letter is not boilerplate. This means it cannot be a standard letter you can send to all employers to show connection and interest. You have to be personal. Distinguish yourself by showing logic, thoughtfulness and be clear.
The second moment would be an interview and consistency is the key in this scenario. If the job you are seeking requires a detailed person, make sure the resume shows attention to detail. Distinguish yourself by being friendly, cheerful, and thoughtful. When you’re asked questions, answer them with stories. Show the interviewer that you’re a logical thinker, a hard worker, or a team player through your own personal charisma. If you are not sure about the result, try to think about the layover test done at Google. Try this test, because in the end they will compare if they’d rather work with you or your competitor.