Well that was awkward…
That common catchphrase is usually good for a laugh these days. But it’s not so funny when that awkwardness occurs in the workplace.
Yet for many millennial job seekers, the inability to effectively interact with others is one of the most glaring examples of a growing lack of “soft skills” that are essential to landing – and keeping – a good job. In fact, a study by Hay Group found that 83 percent of companies in the U.S., China and India faced increasing competition to attract and retain candidates who possess strong soft skills.
Hay Group Global Managing Director, Leadership and Talent, Ruth Malloy said the study results reveal an “awkward generation joining companies across the globe” many of whom have acquired technical skills, but lack the soft skills essential for lasting career success.
Looking for talent this #NewYear? Hire candidates with these soft skills in 2016, via @AdeccoUSA: http://adec.co/YEEf4G
While technical capabilities and skills are critical to getting an interview and ultimately succeeding, in most roles it’s soft skills that can help land you the position and put you on the fast track to success. If you’re looking for a new job or promotion in 2015, here are some key soft skills to hone in the year ahead.
Communication is key, no matter what line of work you are in. As workplaces become more connected with an increased focus on collaboration and social media tools, being able to communicate effectively in range of ways is becoming more important than ever. Strong verbal and writing skills, as well as active listening are important. Also be aware of non-verbal communication conveyed through body language and facial expressions.
Teamwork is a big buzzword in the workplace these days as new tools and technology allow for enhanced collaboration. The ability to be a team player, build strong relationships, and effectively manage conflict can be as important to career success as technical skills or work experience. If you’re applying for jobs make sure your resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile highlight your ability to work well with others.
The pace of change has never been faster in business – and employees who become adept at learning new skills and managing change are those who will get ahead. Don’t be surprised if your job and responsibilities continue to morph as challenges and priorities change. Instead of complaining that the role “isn’t what you signed up for” embrace the change and showcase your ability to adapt to any situation. When it comes to a job interview, make sure you have several ready examples of how you successfully adapted to change on the job.
For those who want to stand out from the pack, it’s not enough to simply adapt. You also need to show your ability to solve new challenges and come up with fresh solutions. Employees who display a blend of reasoning skills, creativity, flexibility and a can-do attitude will set themselves apart during the interview – and on the job.
Emotional intelligence can be hard to quantify, but it is a highly valued skill that relates to your social skills, social awareness and self-management abilities. You can highlight strong emotional intelligence at a job interview by providing examples of how you effectively handled conflict or emotional situations in the past.
Strong work ethic
Effective managers these days don’t have time for handholding or micromanaging an employee’s every move. Employers are looking for reliable self starters who can do the job right the first time. Make sure to emphasize examples of your strong work ethic and willingness to take initiative. If a manager senses you’re high maintenance, it’s a major red flag.
Employers often figure that they can train new employees when it comes to technical skills or company procedures. Yet, they don’t have the time, resources, or patience to get employees up to speed when it comes to essential soft skills. By taking the initiative to sharpen your soft skills, you will be setting yourself apart – and setting yourself up for success.