You may have heard that employers are interested in hiring people with good “soft skills.” But what exactly are good soft skills?
Soft skills are sometimes called people skills, or work-readiness skills. They are your personality, attitudes and manners. They can also include how you present yourself. So, the way you talk, the way you listen, the way you make eye contact and even the way you dress are part of your soft skills.
Employers look for soft skills to decide how someone may do at a job. This is important to employers when they hire. Soft skills are often the reason employers decide whether to keep or promote workers.
In fact, one of the best ways to demonstrate your soft skills occurs before you even have the job. During the interview process, employers are not only looking for your technical and educational background, but at the way you communicate. Conversation engagement, active listening and the ability to answer questions carefully and quickly are all traits that carryover no matter what line of work you are applying for.
Typical Soft Skills
Some soft skills can be taught in school. But most you learn in everyday life and can improve at any time. Here are some examples:
- The ability to adapt to new situations or changes in plans swiftly and with ease
- Friendliness and respectfulness, regardless of the situation
- Follows instructions and asks questions, in order to get the job done correctly
- The ability to work with varying personalities to accomplish a task
- Responsibility, even when you make mistakes
- Quick learning
- Team Work
- Accepting to criticism
- Practicing Your Soft Skills
As mentioned previously, soft skills are often learned from the daily interactions we have with others, whether it’s in a work setting or not. You might have these skills and not even realize they can help an employer or you might struggle with them. If so, it’s always a good idea to practice soft skills.
Here are some ways you can practice your soft skills today:
- Role play with a friend or family member. Pretending you are in a certain situation with an employer or a customer can help prepare you for the proper response when the time comes.
- Practice eye contact and active listening. Whether you are buying lunch, going to the grocery store or catching up with your neighbor, there are many opportunities to engage with other people every day. Concentrate on staying engaged in these short conversations as practice; it will make these skills stronger for the workforce.
- Ask for feedback on your soft skills. Talking to trusted individuals such as family, friends or a counselor to give your insight to your communication can help you to gauge what you need to work on and what you excel at.
No matter where your career journey takes you or what obstacles you will encounter on the way, strengthening your soft skills will always increase your chances of landing your dream job.