Soft Skills Are the Key to Landing a Job
When you walk into an interview, do you think about your soft skills? Do you even know what soft skills are? Hiring managers certainly do! Many of you have the perfect resume, get the interview, are told you are a great candidate for the position, but you don’t get the job.
Here is the real deal. When you interview with the hiring manager (human resource interviews screen your skills for the hiring manager), they want to hire someone who not only can do the job but has outstanding soft skills. Many of you have worked with people in the past and wonder how in the world they got hired. That happens when the manager gets caught up in the skills set, not the soft skills. This is ALWAYS a bad hire.
So, what are soft skills? They are all the things you do automatically that causes coworkers, clients, and your own family to want to be around you. It is that simple. Hard skills can be trained, but soft skills are the reason people get hired, get promoted, and have great careers. No one wants to work people who have excellent skills but can’t communicate, problem solve, be on time, dress nice, or work well on a team.
The job description is the key. No matter what the hard skills are, figure out the top five soft skills needed and make sure you have a way to communicate them to the hiring manager.
Believe it or not, there are over 50 soft skills. Many come naturally to you like friendliness, enthusiasm and listening skills (my favorites). The issue always is not knowing what soft skills you may be missing in the hiring manager evaluation. Soft skills like body language, team building, mentoring, networking, personal branding, stress management, assertiveness, and tolerance of change are all part of so many jobs. If you can demonstrate that you have these skills (even if you don’t have all the hard skills), you will get seriously considered for hire.
The next challenge during the interview is figuring out how to highlight your soft skills. To do this, read the job description carefully and determine what soft skills are even needed. Every job is different, but the only way to bring out your soft skill is to use examples. If you apply to a sales position, soft skills needed will be assertiveness, networking, self-confidence, friendliness, business etiquette, and organization. Think of an example from one of your customers. Here is an example:
Describe your sales ability?
I have been a top performer at my company for the last three years. For example, one of my customers I met at a Chamber of Commerce event (networking, self-confidence) was an individual I have been calling for the last year (assertiveness). Over the next two months (planning), we met three times, and I had a chance to meet many people in his company (friendliness). I sold them an annual service contract on the third visit, and since then, he has referred one other customer to me that I consequently sold. I was very thankful, so I followed up with a tradition I do after every sale which sends a dozen warm chocolate chip cookies to their office (business etiquette).
The job description is the key. No matter what the hard skills are, figure out the top five soft skills needed and make sure you have a way to communicate them to the hiring manager. Your understanding and execution in this area will be the reason you are selected over someone else who may have better hard skills.