What Are Soft Skills?

By: Julie East, Corp. Marketing & Recruiting

Aug 16, 2022

There is more to getting a job than having the right technical skills.  With the tough economy and more people seeking the same job, candidates will need to have "soft skills."  What are soft skills anyway? These are more personality-based skills than actual job skills, such as attitude, time management, critical thinking, etc. Employment experts agree that technical skills may get you an interview, but having these soft skills will get you the job – and help you keep it.



This doesn't mean you have to be a brilliant linguist or writer. It does mean, however, that you have to express yourself well, whether it's writing a coherent email or memo, persuading others with a presentation, or just being able to calmly explain to a team member what you need.



Employers want employees who work well with others – who can effectively work as part of a team. It means sometimes being a leader or sometimes being a good follower, monitoring progress, meeting deadlines, and working with others across the organization to achieve a common goal. 



This is especially important for more seasoned professionals to demonstrate, to counter the opinion that older workers are too set in their ways.  On your resume, on your cover letter, and in your interview, explain the ways you've continued to learn and grow throughout your career.



Be prepared for the "How did you solve a problem?" interview question with several examples.  Be sure to use specific examples where you solved a tough business problem or participated in the solution. Be able to explain what you did, how you approached the problem, how you involved others, and what the outcome was – in real, measurable results.



The ability to persuade, negotiate, and resolve conflicts is crucial if you plan to move up. You need to have the skill to develop mutually-beneficial relationships in the organization so you can influence and persuade people.  You need the ability to negotiate win-win solutions to serve the best interests of the company and the individuals involved, without coming across as a bully.


The good news is that, like any skill, soft skills can be learned. 



Some colleges are mixing technology with areas like effective written and verbal communication, teamwork, cultural understanding, and psychology. Take a writing or public speaking course to boost your communication skills. Look for a conflict-resolution course or "leadership skills" class at your local community college.



If you don’t know this by now, you can find just about anything on YouTube, including soft skills. Take some time, pull up a few videos to help not only understand the differences, but give some real world examples to help boost those skills.



Working with a nonprofit organization or church can give you the opportunity to build soft skills. Also, listing volunteer work on your resume gives you an excuse to point out what you gained there.  It gives you the opportunity to list team-building, decision-making, and cooperative skills on a project you either lead or participated in. Just remember that employers look beyond your technical ability and consider what you can contribute as a whole.  


About Lofton: Founded in 1979, Lofton Services offers clients the best of all worlds. We provide the responsive, personal service and flexibility of a small local firm while having the technology, resources, and infrastructure to deliver the benefits of the biggest players in our industry. Lofton Staffing can deliver the right people, with the right skills, right when you need them. Contact us today


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