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Five Essential Soft Skills for Career Success

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How can soft skills like collaboration, communication or curiosity help me grow my career?

This is a commonly met question among candidates. Well.. we have some good news and some bad news. The good news is strong soft skills, also known core skills, are applicable to all professions. The bad news is we are not all born with them. Oh!.. did we forget to mention there is another good side to the story? You can develop your soft skills throughout your experience! 😊

Here are five key examples we will cover, to help you grow your career 👇

Collaboration: a must-have soft skill
Soft skills in communication: let’s talk about them!
Curiosity: why did it “kill the cat”?
How can proactivity help you land the job
Results driven: shut up and drive!

Collaboration: a must-have soft skill

Collaboration, a vital skill for your resume, is highly valued by employers. In almost every job, teamwork or customer support is essential. Hence, the ability to collaborate effectively is key to nurturing both professional and personal relationships.

Because you list a collaborative working style as your soft skill, you indicate to the interviewer that:

  • you are capable to listen to other people’s opinions and assess them appropriately.
  • contribution to other people’s work is important for you
  • you are proactive in sharing ideas and supporting task completion.
  • finding common solutions is important to you.
  • you support a diverse and inclusive work environment.
  • you like considering different points of view.
  • you build long-lasting relationships.

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Depending on the role you are considered for, an interviewer can assess this soft skill by asking a behavioral question. The question could circle around describing:

  1. successfully completing a project as a team member.
  2. a situation when you helped to on-board a new colleague.
  3. a project you had to complete, but you had to work with a difficult colleague.

Be mindful that a collaborative mindset can sometimes be mistaken with ‘endless help’, thus it is important to thoughtfully weight between offering support and being taken advantage of.

Soft skills in communication: let’s talk about them!

The ability to communicate effectively is a critical soft skill in roles requiring building and maintaining relationships. It is one of the most frequently looked for by hiring managers.

soft skills ideas for career success

In general, we can split communication soft skills into three categories:

  1. Verbal communication: the spoken word.
  2. Non-verbal communication: the way we communicate via expressions and body language.
  3. Written communication: the capability to express oneself in a written form.

When looking at assessing this skill in the recruitment process, the recruiter will be interested in learning about your:

  • ability to listen and understand the messages you receive.
  • capability to present and share information and your perspective in a clear and concise manner.
  • ability to assess and appropriately select the most suitable communication medium in a given situation.
  • ensuring the engagement of the audience you are communicating with.

How to asses your communication skills?

In evaluating communication skills, it’s beneficial to highlight specific capabilities on your resume. Why? Because tailoring your communication abilities to the role you’re pursuing is crucial. This might involve showcasing skills like persuasive communication, effective presentations, public speaking, or content creation.

Understanding the difference between hard skills vs soft skills in communication allows you to emphasize the most relevant competencies for your target position.

Likewise, a recruiter can ask you a wide range of questions, depending on what they are trying to assess. Here are some examples:

  1. describe a time when you had to convince someone about your point of view.
  2. share an example of a situation when you had to manage a conflict within a team.
  3. a situation when you had to deal with an unhappy client.
  4. receive unsatisfactory feedback you had to reflect on.

It is important to remember that effective communication is not a ‘one-way street’. It’s the ability to share and receive information, speak and listen to your counterpart, a “give and take” opportunity from the relationships you are building.

Curiosity: why did it “kill the cat”?

Curiosity is an aptitude which is becoming more and more interesting for recruiters. In the fast-changing world and working environment, having a curious attitude can be a helpful mindset. By listing curiosity as a soft skill, you indicate to the recruiter that:

  • you have interest and willingness to learn.
  • new ideas and creative solutions are your way of thinking.
  • you can challenge the status quo.
  • improvement is the way of working.
  • you are open to drive innovation.

Curiosity is also needed in start-up organizations or in companies going through transformation. This can be very beneficial in the environments focused on building and improving existing products. Why? Because it can lead to creating new ones as well!

Should curiosity be on your soft skills list?

Of course it should! What if Steve Jobs lacked a soft skill like curiosity in exploring the possibility to have a phone, email and map in a single device? 😅

If an interviewer would like to do a proper evaluation, you may receive one of the following questions:

  • your learnings form an unsuccessful project.
  • a new way of working that you implemented.
  • situations when you had to complete a project, but you didn’t receive much information about it.

Be prepared to have a few examples up your sleeve!

Simultaneously, keep in mind that not every job or company requires curiosity. It can happen that asking too many questions or challenging too many ways of working proves counter productive. It can canter your attention on pieces which do not bring any value to the project, and reduce the overall productivity.

How can proactivity help you land the job

Proactivity is one of the critical soft skills to put on resume. Employers need proactive individuals because they can see the potential issues ahead of time, and prevent them from happening.

soft skills of tomorrow

Opposite to the proactive working style, is the reactive working style. This is characterized for example, by addressing a problem that already exists. While problem solving is an important soft skill to put on your resume, being proactive indicates multiple other capabilities, such as:

  • planning and executing tasks in a timely manner, while taking the initiative to drive results.
  • flagging concerns, anticipate and respond to the upcoming needs.
  • engaging with other teams and work cross-functionally.
  • ability to adapt to the changing tasks, workload and priorities.
  • being able to pivot the working style and focus appropriately.
  • you show interest in learning new skills and take up new tasks.

Should proactivity be on your soft skills list?

Proactivity is a soft skill helpful in start-up environments, for example. Also, it is helpful during transformations and while working on improvements in a well-established company. The ability to see and address the upcoming issues is a highly valued resume skill.

Your interviewer may ask a variety of questions when assessing your proactivity:

  1. explain a situation when you identified a potential process or system issue, and addressed it ahead of time.
  2. when you managed a project and the project requirements suddenly changed.
  3. describe a time when you came up with an innovative way of working, or improvement in managing a task.

A recent article posted by freelancelatam.com is showing why proactivity is a big factor to individual and organizational success.

Also, you should be aware there is a downside to proactivity. Depending on the situational and environmental factors, proactive behaviors can lead to increased stress levels. For example, it can alter an individual or lower effectiveness of a team. Hence it is important to manage this soft skill appropriately. 😉

Results driven: shut up and drive!

No matter the company and the job, each manager and team have to achieve specific goals and targets on a regular basis. For example, these targets could include serving a specific number of customers. Another example is recruiting a new employee within a given time frame, or ensuring that a product is manufactured and out on the market. Completing the tasks requires a good sense of urgency and drive for results. In consequence, it is an important asset on your resume.

By evidencing that you are a result-driven person, you indicate to the interviewer that:

  1. you have the ability to establish goals and be accountable for them.
  2. managing multiple tasks and projects is not a problem.
  3. you prioritize the critical assignments and have good organizational skills.
  4. delivering results on time and with appropriate quality is your standard way of working.
  5. you solve the upcoming problems ahead of time.

Have a close look at the job description of the role you are applying for. What if the responsibilities or requirements indicate a results-oriented candidate?

Think of times you had to work in such a manner. It will certainly increase your chances of landing the job!

Good luck!

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