When it comes to finding a job, you might think that you need to master coding skills or the latest software program in order to even rate an interview. While no one would dispute that knowing how to code is in demand, it’s not the only thing that matters to employers.
Employers are also looking for soft skills. The term “soft skills” refers to abilities that you can’t quantify; for example, you can test someone on their knowledge of Microsoft Word, but it’s much harder to rank them on how they deal with other people. This article explores which soft skills are highly sought by employers and why.
Working Well on a Team
It doesn’t matter what kind of job it is – you’ll constantly see the phrases “team player,” “works well with others,” and “good interpersonal skills” crop up in wanted ads.
Why is the ability to work well on a team such an in-demand skill? Regardless of your industry or role, you will always have to work with other people in some capacity. Employers want to know that you can get along with your colleagues for two reasons: first, you’ll accomplish more when you collaborate, and second, they want a pleasant working environment. You might be an expert in your field, but if you don’t cooperate on projects and you’re a misery to be around, you’re not an asset to the firm.
Being a Good Communicator
You’ll also notice in ads that employers are looking for a “good communicator.” Frequently, they’ll specify that the right person for the job has excellent oral and written communication skills.
Communication is a critical component of being able to complete projects and tasks. Imagine not knowing whether your co-worker had completed his or her assigned tasks because he or she simply hadn’t told you – nothing would ever get done. Even on a day-to-day basis, communication matters. A friendly “hello” and some small talk makes your colleagues feel like they’re part of a team.
Written and oral communication are each vital. You need to be able to speak on the phone or during meetings with your fellow employees as well as suppliers and clients. And writing emails, social media content, blog posts, and other written materials is crucial to connecting with people both inside and outside of your company.
Thinking on Your Feet
Employers have different ways of describing this skill. They might call it “agility,” “creative thinking,” “creativity,” or “critical thinking.” However, they’re all trying to get at the same point: you need to be able to be resourceful under pressure.
Here’s why employers value this skill: things don’t always go according to plan. They want to know that you’ve got a backup strategy when your first option doesn’t succeed, that you won’t simply give up. And they want you to do this under the stress of tight deadlines and other demands. Throwing your hands up in the air and declaring something is a lost cause costs companies. Prove that you can think fast in a difficult situation, and you’re one step closer to that job.
Demonstrating Attention to Detail
Employers want to see that you can balance thinking on your feet in a stressful situation with an ability to keep track of the little things. You’ll see many ads for jobs requiring “a keen eye for detail.”
Speaking of the word “detail,” you’ve probably heard the saying “the devil is in the details.” It means that the smallest thing can cause huge problems, and it’s especially true in the workplace. A misplaced comma in a contract could leave your company on the hook for thousands, or an unpatched vulnerability in your firm’s software could leave it wide open to hackers and ruin its reputation. Businesses want to know they’re hiring someone who won’t make careless, expensive mistakes.
If you’re reading this and wondering whether you possess these skills, don’t worry. While soft skills aren’t something you acquire in a classroom, there are plenty of opportunities to learn them and improve upon them. Every interaction you have with people is a chance to work on how you collaborate, how you communicate, how you think quickly, and how closely you pay attention. Take advantage of these chances, and you’ll become an asset to your next employer.