Beyond the technical requirements of the job, there are soft skills most employers look for regardless of company size, industry, or position type. These soft skills are harder to show on a resume, but when they are communicated well on paper or on an interview, they can mean the difference between moving forward in the process, or being told “thanks, but no thanks.” In my experience, these are four of the most desirable. They cut across job function and industry, and are looked for in professionals at all stages of their careers.
1. Communication Skills
This is a generic term. You can’t demonstrate your communication skills by simply indicating you have them. Show them off by having a well written, polished resume that clearly communicates who you are and what makes you special. Equally important, demonstrate your communication ability in the body of your resume. Highlight collaborations with colleagues and teams. Showcase public speaking and leadership that required clear and concise communication. And don’t forget, more than half of communicating should be listening. Find ways to emphasize that you are an exceptional listener.
2. Learning & Development
As much as employers are looking for talent and skills, they are also seeking people who are invested in their career and want to continue learning. Job functions, techniques and tools change over time, staying ahead of these changes is a strength. Show a potential employer your initiative by attending conferences, joining a networking group, staying aware of current trends, getting training or obtaining certificates. Whatever you need to do to stay in touch and ahead of changes, do it. And communicate your commitment during the interview process.
3. Problem Solving Skills
In any career, there will be times when things are not straightforward and you have to improvise and solve problems. While this skill may be subtle and hard to demonstrate, you should do your best to show potential employers that you can adapt and think on your feet. A hiring manager wants to know you won’t be paralyzed by fear, should you run into a roadblock. Figure out how you can show off your ability to problem-solve, and be sure to reflect this on your resume, and during the interview process.
No matter how talented you are, or how well you do your job, there will be times when you fail or find that things don’t go your way. How you deal with these challenges and the feedback you receive in the moment is often viewed as one of the most important aspects of who you are as a candidate. Job seekers often avoid commenting on or talking about these situations – both on their resumes and in interviews. But I encourage people to remember a time when things didn’t go their way and during the interview, discuss how they handled and moved on from it.
Resilience is a highly desired trait among professionals. As a hiring manager, you want to bring on team members who will be able to grow and learn from the challenges that come with any job – who will not mope around, feel sorry for themselves, or create negativity during already difficult times. A resilient employee will continue moving forward, will rebound quickly and will learn and adapt from the adversity they face.
Selling the full package of you as a candidate is crucial during the interview process. Be sure you are also talking about the soft skills that set you apart.
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