As both a recruiter and an employer, I see a diverse group of applicants come through my door, and there is one trait the most successful all have in common: a firm grasp and display of soft skills.
I know you’ve heard the term “soft skills” tossed around the last few years, about how the lack of them can doom even the most promising candidate. With the FoxConn development fast approaching and the jobs – both direct and ancillary – that will be created, it will be more important than ever for everyone looking for everything from their first job to a career change.
First, let’s define some soft skills:
- Communication – Making eye contact when you’re speaking with someone as well as the ability to clearly express your skills and your desire to learn more about the company, the position, etc. is key to landing the job. Hiring managers don’t want to churn workers through a revolving door; they want to know that if they bring you into the company, you’re going to be a valuable and valued employee.
- Enthusiasm and attitude – Your prospective employer should feel great about interviewing you because you’re eager to join their team. And, once you’re on board, volunteer to take on new experiences, work with coworkers with whom you’re unfamiliar, set your sights on a goal and work to reach it.
- Teamwork – While it’s important for your future boss to trust that you are more than capable of working on your own and getting the job done, they also need to know you’re a supportive and dependable member of a team willing to chip in to complete projects or special assignments on time.
- Problem solving and critical thinking – Supervisors want to know that if you’re faced with an issue where you can and should be able to solve the problem, that you investigate ways to do so before coming to them for a solution. They also want you to jump in and help your colleagues.
- Professionalism – Arrive at work ready to get to work on time, dress appropriately for your position, follow through if you say you’ll get something done, pay attention to details so when you do something you do it right the first time and show enthusiasm for learning new responsibilities.
If you’re reading this and wondering how you can be sure you have the soft skills to ace your interview and land the job, there are a number of resources in the area where you can get help. Staffing agencies are a great place to start. Not only can recruiters connect you with opportunities, they can also help you polish your soft skills. Ask your representative to run through practice interviews with you, and be prepared to accept their constructive criticism. They want you to succeed so any tips they offer are with your best interests in mind.