When your application first makes it to an employer’s hands, the first thing they will look for is whether or not you have the necessary job-related skills to get the job done. Typically, these skills are referred to as “hard skills”, or skills you’ve learned through some sort of training program. While these skills are still important in today’s job market, employers are transitioning to a focus on soft skills like critical thinking, problem solving, or prioritizing tasks. While everybody has these skills in some respect, some people have more of a natural inclination to certain soft skills than others, and employers may recognize and appreciate their potential.
In order to land your next dream position, you need to be able to demonstrate a portfolio of both soft and hard skills. Here are a few recommendations of soft skills to have, and how to develop your ability.
Skill 1: CRITICAL THINKING
Critical thinking is the ability to objectively assess, analyse, and break down a problem into its core roots in order to come up with potential solutions. A successful critical thinker is able to look at a problem from multiple angles, as opposed to having only one perception of the problem, giving them the ability to create multiple solutions.
An easy way to improve your critical thinking skills is to grab a few puzzle books and work your way through them. Try to narrow your selection to books that don’t solely rely on logic, but rather contain more complex problems.
Skill 2: TEAMWORK
Knowing your role within a team and and having the ability to fit in with others in a group is a skill that is always highly in demand. One of the easiest examples is a sports team. Professional athletes on a team have two main jobs; they first need to be able to work together on the field and communicate as a team. Then, they must use their individual skills to execute plays and lead the team to victory.
One of the easiest (and most fun) ways to improve your teamwork skills is to join a sports team! You can find a multitude of teams to suit your skills in your neighborhood newsletter or online.
Skill 3: PRESENTATION SKILLS
The ability to present is an exceptionally valuable skill in today’s job market. Public speaking is a common fear of many people but it is becoming more and more important in business. Many businesses expect their employees to be able to present confidently to clients, investors, and other team members at public events. Your public speaking ability is especially important for video applications or Skype interviews.
To improve your presentation skills, you should practice public speaking in front of people you feel comfortable with. This will help you to build your confidence over time.