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Employment experts agree that your technical skills may get you an interview, but soft skills will get you the job and help you keep it. Soft skills refer to your personal qualities, attitudes, habits and social graces that make you a good employee. When employers consider prospective candidates they look beyond skills, experience and training. They also look for candidates who are enthusiastic, who are upbeat and who will be a collaborative team member.

Here are 5 important soft skills that you should consider to separate you from other job candidates:

  1. Adaptability – Employees who have the ability to work in varying circumstances and move from one situation to another with ease are essential within the work environment. This is especially important for more seasoned professionals to challenge the belief that more experienced workers are “too set in their ways.” Demonstrating a passion for continuous learning and growing throughout your career is important.
  2. Problem Solving – It’s important in an interview to convincingly answer the question, “Tell me about a time you had a problem, and how did you solve it?” Employers want employees who think on their own and develop rational, practical options to resolving problems. You should be able to explain what you did, how you approached the problem, how you involved others, and what the outcome was with real, measurable results.
  3. Communication Skills – Are you a good listener? Can you articulate your ideas in a way that others will understand? To demonstrate communication skills, make sure there are no typos in your resume or cover letter. Remember, your non-verbal skills are important. 93% of verbal communications are not the words you say, but the actual way you speak them – your tone, pace, and how loud or soft you speak.  The other part of communication concerns body language.  Do you have eye contact with the other person?  Do you use appropriate gestures? Do you nod when listening to someone?
  4. Professionalism – Interviewers will never ask, “Can you tell me about a time when you were professional?” Instead, interviewers will be observing you during the interview. Did you shake their hand and introduce yourself? Are you dressed professionally? Is your cell phone turned off? Are you on time? You should arrive at least 10 minutes before the interview begins to make a positive first impression.
  5. Emotional Intelligence – Are you quick to get frustrated or angry? How do you cope with stress? Emotional Intelligence is knowing how to manage your emotions and being aware of the feelings of others. Self-awareness and self-confidence are key to demonstrating emotional intelligence.

Have you mastered your soft skills? Ask family members or a trusted colleague for feedback. Seek a mentor to help you make improvements and practice until perfect. When it comes to soft skills, demonstrate them continuously to ensure that there are no lapses during the interview or on-the-job.


By Lori Urias-Gheris