The importance of soft skills in hard times – part two

Published: 03 Mar 2014 By James Stacey

WARNING! MORE BUZZWORDS AHEAD

In part one of The importance of soft skills in hard times, we talked about some soft skills it can be worth mentioning in your job applications. In Part Two we focus on skills that are often less well thought of but are just as important. And to prove their importance I have included references from experts who are exponentially more important than me.

Flexibility – “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” Albert Einstein

Stepping outside of your comfort zone is usually avoided, especially at work. However, if you have pushed your professional boundaries and been successful, it can set you apart from other candidates. No business knows what the future brings and the ability to adapt can make you an asset.

Leadership skills – “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a moulder of consensus.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Whether you’re a project leader or working in a team, you can demonstrate your leadership abilities by knowing which soft skills can motivate and guide teams to success. Emotional intelligence, being politically savvy and creating a culture of trust and respect are imperative in establishing the difference between a leader rather than a manager. Employers value candidates with this skill set and a reference or recommendation that shows your potential in this area will go farther than anything written on your CV.

Showing commitment – “Commitment is an act, not a word.” Jean-Paul Sartre

Even the janitor at NASA was thanked by President Kennedy for doing his part in helping to land a man on the moon.   You can show commitment regardless of your job title and status - CEOs and assistants are both employed to help get the job done.  Dependability, reliability and enthusiasm set apart those who just turn up, from those who are committed to their work.

Accepting responsibility – “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” Abraham Lincoln

Nothing goes right all the time, and how people react in difficult times can be more insightful than what they do when things go well. It is important to be able to say not only where you failed but how you learned from it to ensure you would not fail in the same way again. Employers value staff who will take responsibility and not just pass the buck when projects go wrong. However, it is not a good idea to list too many mishaps, as it will draw more attention to the failure.

Confidence – “To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.” Mark Twain

Applying, interviewing and starting a new job involves confidence. Decisions made within a business environment also require confidence to act or to delegate responsibility to other employees. Everyone has varying levels of confidence and while it is not important to have more than any other candidate, showing that you have the confidence to overcome the challenges that you face in your future role is.

Good luck in your job hunt.

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