Hiring managers typically look for job candidates with both specific hard skills and soft skills.
Hard skills are job-specific skills and knowledge you need to perform a job. Soft Skills, on the other hand, are interpersonal (people) skills. While these are much harder to define and evaluate, they do go a long way in setting candidates apart.
1) Verbal and written communication skills
The modern business world involves corresponding via phone calls, web conferencing and email in addition to face-to-face meetings. This means today’s workers must be able to communicate clearly and efficiently across many platforms. However, keep in mind that outstanding communication skills also involve the ability to listen and take feedback or instruction effectively.
2) Emotional intelligence and empathy
Attempting to understand others’ way of thinking or experiences is a hugely important factor to a) being a nice person and b) being a valued co-worker. By opening yourself up to the idea others could be right even if you don’t agree – and that their way of thinking comes from a different set of values and motivations – you’ll be more respected as a peer. How to begin? Start *actually* listening – and stop interrupting.
3) Basic computer skills
No matter what your role in a company will be, you will need to use a computer.
Not everyone knows advanced coding but a certain level of IT know-how is a given for most jobs in the 21st century.
Being computer literate to the level of being able to send emails, use word processors and spreadsheets is important even for people not doing computer-based jobs.
4) Critical Thinking
Many employers are after employees who are able to analyze problems and make decisions in response to any challenge that may arise in the workplace. Critical thinking skills are crucial to being able to adapt to new and unforeseen needs in an industry.
Highly in-demand workers will demonstrate an ability not only to work collaboratively with others to achieve better end results than would be possible from any individual member, but also to fulfill specific roles as needed and mitigate conflict.
With the pace of today’s workplace, many employers appreciate highly motivated workers who proactively look for ways to improve processes, products and services. Tackling potential problems before being asked by management is a great way to demonstrate initiative.
7) A willingness to learn and adapt
The age of the ‘job for life’ is gone and most people entering the job market in 2018 will be doing something different by the time they retire.
Survival in the modern workplace – for both companies and their employees – depends on a willingness to learn new skills and the flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances.
This article was originally written in The Independent.