Understanding Soft Skills and Why They’re So Important
Soft skills like creativity, analytical thinking and leadership can’t be measured in the same way as technical abilities like typing, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t as important.
In fact, many companies are taking the position that technical skills can be taught to most intelligent professionals, and, therefore, soft skills should be prioritized when evaluating job applicants.
Because of this emphasis from employers, it’s important job seekers put their soft skills front and center when applying for a job. Be sure to give potential employers a good sense of your adaptability, dependability, how successfully you can lead others and any other soft skills you might have.
Below are a few ways to sell your soft skills in a convincing manner.
In the cover letter
Consider your cover letter the start of a conversation you want to have with the hiring manager.
Choose two to three soft skills listed in the job description and come up with a sentence or two for each that highlights your abilities. For instance, you could say you “gladly accepted the responsibility to mentor new employees and regularly communicate their progress to our manager.”
Since you don’t want a cover letter that goes on for more than four or five paragraphs, it’s important to keep your anecdotes succinct.
On your resume
In addition to emphasizing soft skills in your cover letter, you need to translate those skills into hard numbers on your resume by pointing out the impact you made in a previous role, or the results your soft skills helped achieve.
First, determine which of your soft skills you can put into hard numbers. Did you lead a team project? Did you develop a solution for a specific problem that saved money? Did you have perfect attendance for a full year?
Once you know the skills you are going to showcase, put them into a bulleted list and ensure every bullet position describes a marketable skill a potential employer might be looking for. Then, use details and figures to show off your leadership, communication or any other ability.
For instance, on a “problem solving” bullet point, you could say you refined a procedure that “saved the company 10 man-hours of labor each week.”
During the interview
Don’t sit idly by and wait for an interviewer to ask you about the soft skills highlighted in your cover letter and resume. Regardless of the questions you are asked, you should still work in an example or two of using your soft skills. For instance, if the person interviewing you asks what you think makes a good leader; give a general answer and then pivot to your story about a time you showed effective leadership.
In the end, your story might be more memorable than the fact you didn’t answer the question exactly.
At Labor Temps, we help job seekers with every part of process, from interview prep to resume writing. If you would like to know more about how we can help you take the next step in your career, please contact us today.