If you have ever searched for a new job, you’ve probably seen soft skills included on a job description. Whether they were weaved into different qualifications or literally just listed out, almost every job description is asking for candidates with certain soft skills. But what exactly are soft skills? And why are they so important? Let’s break it down and illustrate why hiring managers are quickly becoming more and more concerned with them.
What are soft skills?
Soft skills are a mixture of social skills, people skills, communication skills, and personality traits that enable people to navigate their environment and work well with others. Essentially, soft skills complement your more technical hard skills.
Soft skills are more intangible skillsets that are unteachable. You cannot acquire these skills; they are inherent traits. Some common examples:
- Common sense
- Time management
- Critical thinking
Why are they so desired?
More and more companies are shifting their focus on soft skills. Hiring managers and HR professionals are realizing that hard skills, such as web development or writing, are teachable. On the other hand, you cannot teach someone how to be an excellent problem solver.
In this tight job market, the candidate pool is getting slim. Employers are forced to be less choosy when recruiting candidates. In some cases, hiring managers are forced to hire underqualified candidates or candidates who don’t possess all of the ‘necessary’ qualifications.
In other words, employers are hiring candidates that lack the hard skills for the job. They are choosing to make sacrifices for those who have the necessary soft skills to be successful. Hard skills can be taught, so if employers hire candidates with the right skills, candidates will ultimately be successful with the right training and leadership.
Hiring for soft skills improves retention
Hiring managers are emphasizing soft skills when recruiting new candidates because they help improve retention. If you have an employee with a great personality and all the intrapersonal skills necessary to be successful, they will ultimately become a great culture fit. If an employee is a good match for their role (and the company), they’re more likely to stay put.
How to demonstrate those skills
Now that you know why soft skills are so important, let’s discuss how to demonstrate them when you’re applying for a job. Before you even get called in for an interview, the best place to show them off is your cover letter.
When trying to show off those soft skills, you can’t just list them on your resume, So, weaving them into your cover letter is a great way to show that you have the right skills to become a successful member of the team. When writing your cover letter, you don’t have to directly state what those skills are; however, you can illustrate your unique skill set when talking about your background and work experiences.
Even if you aren’t a perfect fit for the job, if you can illustrate that you have all the soft skills necessary to perform the job, you will probably get offered an interview. And once you get that opportunity, it’s essential to demonstrate them throughout the interviewing process. From your first conversation to your thank you note, you must show you have what it takes to perform the job. If you can prove that you have those skills, most hiring managers would be thrilled to speak with you about the job.