4 Ways To Showcase Your Soft Skills To Potential Employers Throughout The Hiring Process
Soft skills are an increasingly important component of an ideal candidate.
91% of talent professionals agree that soft skills are important to the future of recruiting and HR, according to LinkedIn’s annual Global Talent Trends 2019 report. The report is based on a survey of over 5,000 talent professionals in 35 countries who were asked to identify trends transforming the workplace today. It’s clear that soft skills are important – but what are they, and how can you ensure you showcase yours to a potential employer?
The hard skills you probably already have on your resume most likely involve your ability to do specific technical tasks, like video editing or coding in a specific programming language. Soft skills, on the other hand, are interpersonal skills that involve the way you perform tasks and communicate with others, like working well within a team. Soft skills are strengthened through experience. For example, creativity, flexibility, organization, managing difficult clients, and your willingness to learn are all soft skills that can set you apart from other candidates. However, it can be difficult to show off your soft skills naturally when applying for jobs. If you’re nervous about this, don’t sweat. Here are a few ways to help show off your soft skills to employers effectively throughout the hiring process.
Include examples of soft skills in your cover letter or resume
Hard skills are commonly noted on a person’s resume and cover letter, so why shouldn’t soft skills be? Try determining some of your best skills before applying to any job. Write down 3-5 skills you consider to be your best assets when communicating and working with others. Once you’ve determined your strongest soft skills, consider including them on your resume, especially if they are mentioned in the job description.
Another effective way of proving you have certain soft skills, however, is to show instead of tell. For example, instead of solely listing web development as a hard skill, consider digging deeper and write that you created five websites for a client or that you taught yourself how to code. By describing what you did in a job and what you accomplished, your soft skills can shine through and impress a recruiter.
This applies to cover letters too! Think back to your previous jobs, your role, and any challenges you may have faced. Talk about a time you worked well with others to complete a goal or project and what you did to work through any problems you may have faced. Providing in-depth examples can prove to employers that you have the interpersonal skills to succeed in the role.
Come to your interview prepared
Making a great first impression is important during any part of the job hunt, but especially during an in-person interview. How you present and carry yourself can show your interviewer a lot about the type of person you are and what to expect.
For example, professionalism is made up of a number of soft skills and it can be shown long before you start working – so start on the right foot and make sure you come to the interview prepared. Read an interview prep guide so you know what questions to expect and how to research a company. Arrive at least 10 minutes early, and make sure to dress well and appropriately for the type of position you are applying for. Shake the interviewers’ hand and make eye contact. Print out copies of your resume and bring a pen and paper to take notes with. It may seem simple, but presenting yourself well, being punctual, and coming prepared can go a long way and show a lot about your character to potential employers.
Answer behavioral & situational interview questions effectively
Behavioral and situational interview questions require candidates to share real life situations they’ve been in where they had to use certain skills. These questions are often used to evaluate soft skills in candidates, so this is your chance to make the case for yourself and your interpersonal skills.
For example, you could be asked to describe a time when a client or customer was pleased with your work. Especially if your potential role involves interacting with clients, employers will want to find a candidate that knows how to show exceptional customer service and represent their company well. Another question might ask about your experience working with a difficult team member, and is intended to evaluate your ability to work with other. Other questions might focus on your work ethic, problem-solving abilities, or ability to communicate effectively. Regardless of the question you’re asked, be sure to convey how your behavior in a given situation led you to a positive outcome (or at least one you learned from), and remain positive when discussing any challenging situations.
Recruiters and hiring managers ask these questions to evaluate what they can’t gauge from your resume, so it’s important to get it right. Check out our list of questions you might expect in an interview, and learn more about methods for answering behavioral interview questions here.
Show enthusiasm for the company and your potential future there
Showing enthusiasm for the company and what you can accomplish there can go a long way – so make sure you do your homework in advance. This way, you’ll be able to demonstrate your genuine interest in the company, job, and opportunity effectively in the job interview.
Research the company before your interview so you can show off what you’ve learned. Study the company’s mission and identify the company goals. Likewise, have questions for your employer that showcase your diligence and enthusiasm to grow with the company. For example: asking if there are opportunities for professional development and how one can expect to advance within the company can show your employer that you have a strong work ethic and an enthusiasm for learning.
Finally, be sure to follow up after the interview with a thoughtful email that reiterates why you’re excited about the company and the position.
Soft skills enable someone to interact effectively with others, which is an essential part of succeeding in the workforce. As the Global Talent Trends 2019 report revealed, soft skills are becoming increasingly important during the hiring process and their relevance won’t fade any time soon. Take the time to identify your strongest soft skills, and then show them off to potential employers using the strategies above – your interviewer is sure to take notice.