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Soft Skills

What makes someone a good employee and easy to work with? The answer is often "soft" skills.

Job seekers, including those with criminal records, may be turned down for a job even though they have the required technical skills for a job. Why? They lack the right set of soft skills.

What Are Soft Skills?

Soft skills are your personality traits, attitudes, and manners. They can also include the clothes you choose to wear, your hairstyle, and overall appearance. Soft skills are sometimes called people skills, interpersonal skills, or work-readiness skills.

Employers value people who can work well with coworkers and customers, including people of different cultural backgrounds. They want to hire people who know how to behave properly in the workplace. That's why employers look for people with good soft skills.

Employers may not want to hire someone with a criminal conviction because they may think you lack the people skills needed to interact with customers or behave properly in the workplace. You need to show employers and your networking contacts that you get along well with people.

What Are My Soft Skills?

Some soft skills, like how to use proper grammar, can be taught in school. But most are learned in everyday life. That means you might have these skills and not be aware of how they can help an employer.

Examples of the soft skills you can list on a resume or talk about in a job interview include:

  • Accepts change in situations
  • Can easily stop, start, or switch duties
  • Comfortable working with people of diverse backgrounds
  • Completes tasks quickly and accurately
  • Learns new skills or takes on different projects
  • Listens, understands, and follows instructions
  • Serves customers in friendly and respectful manner
  • Speaks clearly to coworkers and customers
  • Takes criticism or can be corrected by supervisors or coworkers
  • Takes initiative and works with little supervision
  • Takes responsibility for decisions and actions
  • Understands and follows company rules and procedures
  • Understands industry and business practices
  • Works as part of a team
  • Works calmly in busy environments

Unlike technical or hard skills, soft skills are transferable. That means you can use them in more than one type of job. If you can show employers that you have both technical and soft skills, you will have an advantage during the job search.

Employers say that most job seekers could improve some of their soft skills. Practicing and increasing your soft skills is often easily done. It could also lead to more job offers.

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