Have you ever walked into a job interview positive that your experience was enough to get you the job, only to walk away empty handed? Or have you ever left a company after a few months because you couldn’t “fit in” with the team?
It’s a tough feeling to swallow – that sense that “something” is missing, even though you have the experience to land a great job. Or maybe you feel confused because you won’t know what an employer is looking for besides just skills and experience.
Maybe the skill set you’re “missing” has nothing to do with technical skills – but with “soft skills.”
Bruno Marchand, Manager of HR & Business Support Divisions for Robert Walters Singapore, offers valuable advice that can help you understand not only why soft skills are so important, but the 3 soft skills employers want you to have.
Why Are “Soft Skills” So Important?
People like to throw the term “soft skills” around without giving any context as to what they are. They deal with your ability to communicate, empathize, and socialize with other people. And soft skills have a positive effect on your ability to interact and work with others – which is why employers value them so highly.
While employers certainly look at your experience and expertise when hiring, the deal-breaker for them will always comes down to soft skills – especially when choosing between two “similar” job candidates.
As Bruno relates, “Soft skills are particularly vital in the recruitment process because technical abilities and experience can open the door to job interviews, however it is the soft skills you possess which will make the difference and get you the job.”
The 3 Most Important Soft Skills Employers Want You to Have
When you see which soft skills are most desired by companies, it might shock you by how “simple” these skills might seem. Granted, most of you might say, “I have those skills already.” But it’s how those soft skills are applied in a career sense that matters to employers.
You might be able to “communicate” with your wife and friends, but if you can’t do the same with your co-workers or boss – you’re actually lacking that “soft skill.”
According to Bruno, these are the 3 most important soft skills employers want you to have:
Communication: Employees at every level must have open channels of communication with their superiors, co-workers, clients, senior management, and stakeholders. The ability to patiently explain and share technical or complex ideas and interact comfortably with people is a major employability skill.
Flexibility/Adaptability: Today’s rapidly changing business atmosphere means that the companies that survive are those that evolve and adapt quickly. That means employees must be able and willing to adapt to evolving job roles and tasks companies go through organizational change.
Problem Solving: Every company will face challenges in sales, efficiency, expenditure, etc. But if you’re an employee who can resolve challenges through initiative to save time and money for your company – you’re going to be valued greatly. Not to mention you’ll make a prime target for companies looking to recruit you.
What Can You Do If You Lack Some Soft Skills?
Unfortunately, soft skills aren’t something you can just learn overnight – because most soft skills are a part of your personality. And personality isn’t something you can change… unless you happen to know someone who owns one of those memory implant machines from the movie Total Recall.
However, just because you don’t have every soft skill above doesn’t mean you won’t add value to an employer’s company.
“The challenge is to present and highlight the soft skills you do have during the interview. This starts with knowing yourself and identifying your strengths and weaknesses,” says Bruno.
One way you can find out more about your soft skill strengths and weaknesses is to take a Myers-Briggs assessment. There are plenty of resources available online, whether you want to take a free assessment or pay a fee for a professional assessment with feedback.
What other soft skills do you think are important in the workplace? Tell us what you think on Facebook! And to find even more useful information on everything personal finance, visit MoneySmart today!
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