What are Soft Skills?
Think of soft skills as your personal skills — things you do that make you a great employee outside of the technical skills that are needed for the job. They may come naturally to you, or perhaps you’ve added some classes to your list to augment these abilities.
According to BizTalk experts, soft skills are an essential part of every job; be it a customer care representative or a company’s CEO, the right set of soft skills sets you apart. Transitioning into a new position or getting promoted in a current job, these essential interpersonal skills will help you make or break on new opportunities ahead. Companies are hiring candidates who have both interpersonal and people-oriented skills.
Workplaces are different, human resource managers are not focused locally but prefer people who can work well with others and have the ability to emerge in culturally diverse environments. While there is an abundance of soft skills that are worth noting, in this BizTalk here are the top soft skills that employers are looking for in 2021:
Creative Problem Solving and Innovation
The year 2020, has presented a plethora of new challenges in the work world. The last thing an employer wants is an employee who sees a challenging situation or new task and says, “Wow, I don’t know what to do here.” Instead, they want to know that you can think logically and creatively to develop solutions to the problems or obstacles that come up in your role.
They also hope you’ll help to come up with new ideas as well as addressing existing problems. The more creative, the better; that kind of thinking leads to innovation and improvements within the company. On your resume, be sure to list situations where you had to use your creativity in the face of adversity, coming up with innovative solutions to the problems that arose.
At your interview, express your enthusiasm for tackling challenges. Every job has hurdles, and employers want to hire people who aren’t afraid of tackling those challenges, so make sure your interviewer knows you’re one of those people.
This is a broad category as it can mean anything from how you converse with a client or colleagues to how well you get your point across in emails. The ability to communicate with clients and team members is essential, and it’s not just when you are trying to get the point across, either. Now that most communication is done through emails, chats, videos, or phone conference calls, strong communication skills are more critical than ever.
Taking a class on communication skills is well worth your time and money. It’s one of the most crucial soft skills in any job, in any industry. If you already think that it is one of your best attributes, find a way to demonstrate that on your resume and in your interview.
Moving to a partial or complete work-from-home environment was a big leap of faith for many employers. Would their teams be legitimately productive away from their office? Without the natural structure that a day at the office provides, time management became a soft skill that quickly rose to the top of many recruiters’ priority lists.
Time management means you know how to organize your schedule, both daily and beyond, to get your projects done on time and with efficiency. The work from the home environment can save people time by cutting out commutes on both ends of the day, but it can also add a lot of distractions. How well can you focus on your work and manage your time to stay productive without a manager looking over your shoulder?
Your work calendar is your best friend when it comes to time management. Set daily and weekly goals for what you’d like to accomplish and don’t be afraid to block off time on your calendar to zero in on that work. If you’re preparing for a job interview, see if you can learn what project management tools the company uses and get familiar with them. These tools help manage projects and the time of everyone involved. If you can demonstrate familiarity with the tools they use, you’ll have a leg up on the competition.
When it comes to ensuring longevity in your career, you need to be able to grow and adapt to changes within your industry and the job market as a whole. With the mechanization of jobs and industries, having a growth mindset is essential.
So what is a growth mindset? Professionals with a growth mindset are motivated to reach higher levels of achievement by continuously learning new skills to move with a changing market. Essentially, it is being adaptable and willing to go above and beyond the soft and hard skills you already have.
Showcase your growth mindset by highlighting instances when you showed initiative by learning a new skill to better do your job or help you keep up with industry-wide changes.
What does it mean to have high emotional intelligence? Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, evaluate, and respond to your emotions and the emotions of others. This means that you can think empathetically about the people around you and the interpersonal relationships that develop in the workplace.
This is another soft skill that has taken on new meaning for 2021. Stress, grief, and frustration are abundant as we try to work through the pandemic. From new work-from-home challenges to lost loved ones or other pandemic issues, having the ability to read the emotions of your co-workers and respond with compassion is essential.
In fact, one survey by CareerBuilder reported that 71 per cent of employers value emotional intelligence in an employee over IQ, while 75 per cent are more likely to promote an employee with higher EQ (emotional quotient) over someone with higher IQ.
The best way to show your emotional intelligence? During your interview.
Collaborating with your co-workers isn’t as easy as it seems. For those who believe that they know how to do the job and don’t have faith in others to do their parts, they can create tension in the office and hurt the overall efficiency.
Now, you have to be able to do it all while not being in the same room as your co-workers. Learning to trust others, work together, and give and accept ideas is a difficult skill to master — but if you can, you’ll be well ahead of the competition.
Show off your soft skills in collaboration by displaying on your resume your ability to work with team members. You should highlight it during your interview as well. Show enthusiasm for accepting colleagues’ ideas and maximizing your team’s overall efficiency by utilizing each person’s strengths.
Change is a major part of the modern-day workplace, even without the difficulties of 2020. The lightning-fast advancement of technology has us doing things differently all the time. Throw in the new challenges of the past year and it’s astounding how much jobs have changed, and continue to change, as we roll into 2021.
Think about all of the changes we’ve seen lately. Many offices went from 100 per cent in-house work to partial or completely remote work. Video conferencing is now an everyday occurrence while working and collaborating online is the new norm. All of these things have required workers to adapt to new methods, new technology, and new ways of thinking.
Think about ways you’ve had to adapt to in the past and be prepared to showcase how well you can go with the flow during your next interview.
Everyone loves a good listener. It shouldn’t be hard to do, but for many people, it is a struggle — especially in a remote environment. Active listening is more than just listening intently; the active listener shows that they’re engaged in the conversation by saying little things like, “Okay,” or “I understand,” and nodding. It also means asking questions, making eye contact, and withholding judgement.
As remote work takes centre stage in 2021, it can be all too easy to be disengaged from your sixth video conference of the day or that morning check-in call before you’ve had your coffee. If you’re uncertain what it means to be an active listener, do a little research and practice it at home with your family or friends (they’ll appreciate it, too). Then, during your interview, let your active listening skills shine as you engage with your interviewer.