You may not understand something about those career-enhancing “soft skills.”
You see the headlines all the time for listicles promising to tell you “the most in-demand soft skills employers want.”
Two things to note here:
- Yes, employers do want them – that’s never in question. They’re always in demand and always have been. (If an employer only wants ‘hard’ skills, they’re probably looking for a drone or a robot.)
- They are even more important to another group. Who is the other group? You are that group.
That’s right- soft skills matter to you, and you should strive to build them.
They are skills and you can get better at them.
Why should you?
+ Unlike hard technical skills, which become less valuable over time, soft skills do the opposite and become more valuable over time.
+ Soft skills are universally transferable from job to job because you don’t just have soft skills. You ARE your soft skills.
+ Soft skills are strengths, and when you’re good at something, that’s valuable to yourself and others.
+ Soft skills are valuable to an employee because an employer can’t easily replace them with automation. As Steve Dotto once said, “You can’t Google expertise.”
How does this matter in a job search?
Think about it this way. A potential employer wants the following random soft skills from a good candidate:
- Good presentation skills
- Sound judgment
- Solid work ethic
- Ability to manage time
Now, these all sound pretty common sense, don’t they?
Wouldn’t YOU want to hire someone like that if you were the manager?
What if instead of only focusing on trying to be the ideal candidate based on the requirements of the position, you also aim your efforts to become the professional that stands out in the interview?
An effective job search isn’t just applying to online postings over and over. Job searches are a project that involves a complete strategic toolset. One of those tools is a personal focus on getting better at what you are good at and selling yourself beyond your technical skills. Nobody usually cares if you’re ‘proficient in Microsoft Office,’ but they love to hear a story about how you solved a problem, performed at your best, or recovered from a failure.
Soft skills make us human, relatable, and likable.
Employers don’t hire resumes or skills- they hire people.
They also WANT to hire people with excellent soft skills.
Because people with excellent soft skills know it’s not just what you do at your job, it’s how you work that matters.