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Career Tips: What are Soft Skills and How do I Use Them?

Post Author Alana Davis
Oct 22, 2014 11:00:12 AM
Career Tips

On every application there is a section where they ask about “other” skills. When you are putting together  your resume it is normally recommended to include a section optional section regarding “other” skills aside from work/industry related skills. What does the “other” category want? What other information could you possibly include that you haven’t already given listed? What should you put down to fill the space?

Wait! Before you panic and write what you think will sound good in that extra slot, what the employer is looking for is soft skills. Even without knowing what these mysterious skills are, you use them on a daily basis. Soft skills are intangible things that are not taught in a class room. Most soft skills are learned through experience or are abilities inherent to you as a person. Examples of these skills are the ability to work quickly, organizational habits, the ability to work in a group, interpersonal skills, being thorough with projects, and your response to pressure or stress. Soft skills can also be personality traits you possess such as friendliness, confidence, extroversion, or enthusiasm.

Although not exactly job related, soft skills are important to companies because they will affect your ability to the job effectively. A sales company would prefer someone whose soft skill set includes their ability to deal with someone one on one, how well they work under pressure, their friendliness, and communication skills, because those soft skills would influence his ability to sell.

Before you start listing soft skills that sound impressive, you may want to make a list of the soft skills you believe you possess. This will give you a working list to choose from while filling out an application or creating a resume. This way you do not list soft skills you do not possess, but rather can pull from your list of strengths those that would correlate to the job opportunity being pursued. Like any other piece of information you give a company, soft skills are taken into consideration and believed to be an accurate representation of your working ability. For example let’s say you are an quiet, introverted person who prefers to work alone.  It is likely not a good idea to apply for positions that require a high amount of collaboration or sales.  Understanding your soft skills helps you better decipher which position you should pursue to begin with.

When it comes to finding out your soft skills it’s good to be creative. As mentioned before soft skills are things you’ve learned or are part of your personality, which means they can be developed, and are as diverse as the people who develop them.

Like any other part of the application and resume, soft skills can greatly help you in your job seeking. Evaluating your abilities, understanding your strengths and weaknesses, as well as correctly representing yourself are the best ways to make your soft skills work for you.

To read more MAU career tips, click here.  To learn about career opportunities with MAU Workforce Solutions, visit our job board by clicking below! 

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