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Soft Skills Smarts

Assessing and reflecting soft skills in the workplace

If you desire to keep your current job, have longevity on the job, or want to be considered for an advancement, identifying which soft skills you may be lacking and/or need to improve can set you on the right path. To effectively assess, start by asking current or past coworkers and supervisors for candid feedback about your performance, and then process through those responses to identify skills you currently have and areas needing improvement.

Questions to ask yourself or current/past employers:

  • Am I qualified and getting the interview, but not being offered the job?
  • In which positive ways do I stand out from my peers, and why?
  • Do I get passed over for promotions?
  • How are my relationships with others? Are they positive or strained?
  • Have I been fired, laid off, or had work hours reduced without a clear reason why?
  • How do I handle conflict?
  • Do I engage in gossip?
  • How well do I share credit with others?
  • Am I dependable? Do I arrive on time for work? Do I take a lot of time off?
  • Do I follow the dress code?
  • Am I courteous?
  • Do I offer to do more than the minimum job requirement?

The answers to these questions will help put you on the right track to reflect, exhibit, adopt, and use Soft Skills in the workplace.

Once you have identified and assessed the soft skills (foundational skills) that you possess, you can reflect them in your résumé! Your résumé is an announcement of your skills and qualifications. An effective résumé will combine both your hard and soft skills to create a complete picture of your qualifications, employability, and trustworthiness.

Which soft skills should be highlighted in a résumé?

The foundational skills that the employer values will likely be written in the job posting under the "Requirements" section. Creating a “Skills” section in your résumé, can provide a place for you to mention the soft skills that you possess. To further set yourself apart, you can include other foundational skills which the employer did not post. If the job posting does not specify any, it is still advised to include commonly desired soft skills, such as customer service, team work, dependability, and punctuality.

For example: a job-seeker applying for a Truck Driver position, would search the job posting for the position requirements and include in their résumé, all of the technical and foundational skills they possess. If the job posting states that the candidate “Must have a CDL Class A with Tanker endorsement” (hard skill), the job-seeker would include that in their résumé. If it states that the candidate “Must display professionalism and courtesy at all times” (soft skill), they would include “Displays professionalism and courtesy” in their résumé, as well. Attaching reference letters from peers and supervisors who can attest to your skills can also be valuable.

Reflecting soft skills that you have in your résumé, may result in you being chosen over another similarly hard-skilled candidate for the interview!

The next article will identify ways in which we can exhibit, adopt, and use soft skills in the workplace!

Written by: Kim Lott, Career Consultant, TANF

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