So clever. A prime example of a soft skill, wit or intellectual sharpness- along with communication, team work, critical thinking, self-evaluation and all the other traits excluding your background experience that add to your candidacy.
The topic of soft skills isn’t all that new but it’s been getting some spotlight in the world of career searching. When we peel back the layers of your experience, roles and responsibilities, what are we left with? Well, you!
What’s your personality like? How do you react when you’re under pressure? Are you afraid of leadership? Do you get power hungry when you’re left in charge?
I digress, the traits in question are qualitative rather than easily quantifiable. It’s about how your experience has shaped your personality. Further, it’s what you bring to the table as a new team member. These traits can be the deciding factor once a couple candidates have been interviewed. After all, if there’s two people to choose from with very similar educational and career paths seeking employment but one is more personable and the other is less approachable, which do you think would get the job?
The tricky thing here is that soft skills are subjective. While your mom might consider you organized because you keep all 100 square feet of your room neat, that doesn’t mean you’re as organized when working on projects. Further, your old boss at that new start-up might attest to your excellent time-management skills when really you were struggling to meet your deadlines behind the scenes.
- You now have a basic understanding of what of soft skills and that they’re subject to personal opinion. You may be asking yourself how to identify them and once you’ve done that, how do you market them?
Start by actively listening to the feedback you get from others. If you haven’t heard any in a while, ask! Find out what you co-workers or manager felt went smoothly and what could have went better on a recent project. Then, improve and strengthen those areas. Apart from work, you can evaluate soft skills through your relationships. Pay attention to your interactions with the people closest to you. Discover what instances make them engage with you most. What dynamic makes these relationships long-lasting and fulfilling?
I’m not talking about texting your boss good-morning before they wake up. Being the thoughtful person you are can be essential in a collaborative environment. This can help keep your team feel connected, especially when you think to ask how they’re doing and make them feel important.
Now, how do you put a label on this aspect of your personality? Well, the term team-player doesn’t seem so foreign now, does it. You can proudly add that to your bank of soft-skills knowing that it’s applicable and valuable. Remember, teamwork makes the dream work.