Why Soft Skills Matter When Trying to Find a Job

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Most job seekers are told they need to focus on specific hard skills in their applications, meant to help them show their prowess and abilities relevant to the job at hand. However, there are a second set of skills that many managers are searching for. Highlighting these soft skills may be just as important when it comes to landing the job.

A recent survey by CareerBuilder found as many as 77 percent of employers seek employers with soft skills in addition to hard ones, with 16 percent of those respondents considering the skills more important than hard ones. As such, mentioning communication skills, positivity and teamwork abilities may be just as important in the modern resume as skills directly relevant to the companies at hand.

The issue is that while hard skills are constants that almost every employee will learn, or can easily be trained in after the initial hiring process, soft skills are much more difficult to quantify. As such, when employees can get the job done but struggle to properly communicate with their coworkers, overall quality of an organization's efforts can be harmed as a result.

What to emphasize

The news source said that there are several skills in particular that managers are striving to find. One key skill is being dependable. This doesn't just mean getting to work at 9 a.m. every day, but getting the job done. Another is presentation skills. Being able to set up a project is nothing if an employee can't properly show it to others and explain angles listeners may not understand. Presentation skills go hand in hand with problem solving skills, especially in fast-paced organizations. Strong employees will have the ability to think critically, deduce the answers to certain questions and come away from facing obstacles with more skills and abilities than ever.

Additional qualities that will only make employers happier to potentially hire you include the ability to work with others and take feedback. Having both the confidence in your abilities and the ability to be open to feedback can play an influential role in a workplace. In brainstorming sessions, presenting your own ideas and being willing to make changes if others have questions about their effectiveness is the precise quality that almost any manager would immediately jump to hire you for. Creativity, the ability to take initiative and developing new work abilities are all other soft skills that many experts say managers want to see in their employees.

How to emphasize them

If you have these qualities, you may be struggling to determine the best ways to present them throughout the hiring process. While it's simple to show fully quantifiable abilities, like improving sales or retaining employees, it's more difficult to prove that you can be a hard worker or can learn fast.

Business 2 Community said that the best ways to present these skills are most often found in the cover letter. As this document has more of a narrative structure than a resume will, as it's meant to describe why you're a good hire, you can keep hard skills on the resume while emphasizing soft ones in the letter. It's not enough to simply highlight your skills in a basic manner, though. Instead, you should work relevant anecdotes into the letter that emphasize both your abilities and the benefits that your company was able to attain because of them. Connecting different skills and abilities, as well as providing proof that you're as strong a worker as you believe you are, will go far in helping you find a great job.