Many employers today want more from the job applicant than the ability to do the job. They want highly qualified individuals that communicate effectively, have a good team spirit, utilize critical thinking, and are adaptable. Most of these desired qualities can be identified during the interview process. Employers look at the way an applicant is dressed and how they present themselves during the interview. Usually, it is the lack of “soft skills” that prevent employers from hiring an otherwise qualified candidate.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the top six essential job skills are critical thinking and problem solving skills, teamwork, communication, networking, enthusiasm, and professionalism.

  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving – using knowledge, facts, and data to identify and solve workplace problems in an effective manner. It gauges the ability to improve processes and create solutions to problems.
  • Teamwork – establishing a joint effort to work towards accomplishing a common goal. Being part of a team is essential in today’s workplace. Effective team members know when to lead and when to follow; staying focused on the goal and working well with others is vital for successful teamwork.
  • Communication – effectively relating information and ideas through verbal or written communication formats. Communication includes active listening. Good communicators listen attentively to what is said to make sure that they have an understanding. They also make sure that they are understood by others.
  • Networking – creating and nurturing positive relationships with others in order to exchange information and ideas. Networking shows a willingness to make positive connections in the workplace.
  • Enthusiasm – showing interest and eagerness in the task at hand. Having a can-do attitude demonstrates initiative and a tenacity to do a good job.
  • Professionalism – demonstrating business etiquette and a professional behavior. A professional demeanor in the workplace helps facilitate good work ethic.

Utilizing these “soft skills” will make you a more appealing candidate for the job you desire. You can hone your soft skills by practicing with close friends or family. You can also stop by your local One-Stop Career Center, such as CareerSource Capital Region, and ask for available workshops and training seminar that you can attend.

Read Forbes’ article on “10 Job-Search Skills Today’s College Students Need to Master” for additional information on “Soft Skills”.

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