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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Do you have "soft skills"?

Most business owners today are very selective when making hiring choices.  Hard skills are often required to be able to interview for a position.  You can learn hard skills in high school, college, technical or trade school or by working on a job. But what is your knowledge of and comfort level with your "soft skills"?

The definition of "soft skills" will vary depending upon the person with whom you are discussing, but in general include these areas:
  • Customer Service
  • Teamwork
  • Effective Communication
  • Maintaining Professionalism
  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Problem Solving/Conflict Management
  • Coping with Stress
  • Time Management
  • Positive Work Attitude
Any good interviewer will try to draw out of you, with the questions they ask, how you are able to handle:
  • Effective team behavior;
  • Work ethics;
  • Problem solving; and,
  • Critical thinking as they relate to workplace scenarios.

Soft skills can also include writing your resume, conducting a job search and interview behaviors and performance. 
Life skills are just as important when trying to gain or maintain a current employment position.  Do you call in when you are unable to make it to work? Are you on time to work? Do you have alternate plans in case your babysitter is unavailable, your car breaks down, or one of your children is sick?  In other words, does life get in the way of you keeping your job?
Before we hit the hard job market, employers would teach people the hard skills as long as they had exhibited the soft skills we just discussed.  In today's market, you need superior soft skills to give you the edge.

Do you need more information on soft skills? Watch for upcoming posts.

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