If you want to be a good job candidate, you have to fit the description. Sure, it’s important to be able to do all of the technical components of a job, but you also have to possess the soft skills to meet your future employer’s needs. What are soft skills? And how can you highlight your soft-skill strengths in an interview? We’ll break down some of the information that we cover in our Personal and Career Development course here.
What’s the difference between hard skills and soft skills?
Every job requires a combination of hard and soft skills. Hard skills are the non-negotiable skills and talents that are required to complete a job. The ability to cook and efficiently use a knife are hard skills for a line cook just like the ability to operate heavy machinery and understand structural integrity are hard skills for a construction worker. But all jobs also require a set of soft skills, or personality-focused traits that help you succeed at a job and impact how successful you are. These skills could be time management, organization, customer service or communication. One of the reasons we focus on soft skills in our Personal and Career Development course is because they are not specific to any field, and every person possesses a unique combination of soft skills.
How do I identify my strongest soft skills?
It’s easy to tell if you’re good at physical activities, working with numbers or creating art. But most people are not good at evaluating strengths in their personality or less tangible qualities. To identify your best soft skills, consider jobs that you’ve felt really good at. What helped you succeed? Were you really good at talking to your customers? Or, did you find that you did well meeting deadlines? If you can pinpoint what personal qualities helped you succeed in the past, you’re one step closer to identifying your best soft skills! Another great thing to do is to talk with people close to you. Your family, friends, mentors and past employers may have an outside perspective on what your personal strengths are. Listen to what they have to say and start to consider how those qualities make you a great employee.
Which soft skills should I talk about in my interview?
Once you’ve identified your strongest soft skills, you need to consider which skills you should bring up in your interview with an employer. Look carefully at the job description – you’ll likely see several soft skills listed among the qualifications. Highlight any of the skills that you possess and prepare to bring those up in your interview. To make your mention even more impactful, prepare some examples of how you’ve used those soft skills in the past to succeed in work or school. This can really strengthen your interview!
Having the technical qualifications may get you an interview, but soft skills will get you the job. Going into an interview with your soft skills in mind will help you feel confident and be able to relay all of your strengths to your potential future employer.