Across the United States, unemployment rates are low. Historically low, in fact. With a shortage of candidates who have the “right technical skills,” employers must be flexible if they want to keep up with competition. Flexibility in hiring spells opportunity for job seekers.
You might not have all the hard skills required in the job description, but you probably have a host of marketable soft skill” that make you a great fit for all kinds of jobs that are out of reach in a slower economy.
Learn how to prove your soft skills on your resume and in interviews — sand show you have the intangibles that make you worth hiring.
Soft skills are built-in abilities. The stuff you’re good at without having to think twice. These skills contribute to your work ethic and grit, so they’re important for job performance, fitting into a work culture and picking up new skills on the fly.
Which soft skills are employers looking for?
You probably have loads of skills to show for yourself, but you can’t fit them all on a one- or two-page resume. Narrow them down by considering what matters to your audience. What qualifies you most for the job? The job description should give you clues.
Note that leadership, communication and teamwork skills can give you a leg up compared to someone who has all the required technical skills but few soft ones.
Create a skills section that includes technical and soft skills; this piece often fits best right after your work experience. Separate each skill with a comma to make the most of the limited space.
But don’t keep your skills confined to that designated category. They should be part of your work experience bullet points.
To prove soft skills on paper, use concise examples that show them in action. If you were a manager, describe that you “led a team of five to do x, y and z,” or if you trained people, mention that you “facilitated a training that led to a 40 percent increase in user adoption.” Look at your leadership and communication skills coming alive!
Skills can’t stay on paper. If your resume catches an employer’s eye, the interview is your next opportunity for a soft skills showcase. Employers don’t literally ask, “What are your soft skills?” You have to weave them into how you answer questions.
Here’s what you do: Explain how and why you do something, rather than just what. Focus on the journey as much as the results.
Aerotek recruiters advise using the STAR method when responding to interview questions. First, you start by identifying the situation (S) that needs to be addressed, then the task (T) you want to work toward. Next, describe the action (A) you took to achieve the desired result (R). It’s effective, and a great way to squeeze in your soft skills.
If the interviewer asks how you’ve handled a situation where you didn’t have all the information you needed, share an example situation that shows your resourcefulness, problem-solving skills and creativity.
If they want to know how you handled a difficult customer, tell them how you navigated the conflict to resolution using a blend of people skills and careful listening.
Now that you know how to prove your soft skills, take some time to write them down. Think back to your last or current job, and dig deep.
What are all the ways you’ve shown up as a hard worker or an effective influencer? Take your list and use it to update your resume. Don’t forget to — customize your resume to the job.
This work will help you prepare for all the interviews we hope you’re about to score!