Monday, November 9, 2015

Soft Skills: The Secret Edge to Getting the Job You Want

Part 1: Communication
This blog post is the first in a series exploring the importance of soft skills in job interviews and the work place.
Whether you’re working toward a promotion, or hoping to land your dream job, studies show the applicant pool is getting more and more crowded, and you might be wondering, how can I stand out?  Well, according to a collaborative study conducted by Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation, and Stanford Research Center, only 15% of job success is derived from hard, technical, business skills, whereas 85% of job success is derived from “soft skills”.  Soft skills are the strengths that help you work well with others; they’re some of the most essential tools employers look for in applicants to measure potential success.   
C:\Users\kltaylor\Downloads\shutterstock_150215573.jpgOver the next few weeks, we’ll be focusing on three key soft skills you can put into practice to give yourself an edge in the talent pool, starting with one of the most important skills across industries; good communication.
The Importance of Good Communication
In today’s workplace, applicants must be fluent in communicating across a variety of platforms; email, in person, and even video technology may be used to communicate in the workplace and during the interview process. Keep these tips in mind to ensure great communication in the workplace or when job searching, regardless of the tool you’re using!
Send Effective Emails
  • When crafting an email, always include a subject line that is specific to the message.  Don’t leave the subject line blank, and don’t write URGENT.  If the message is so urgent, it should not be handled by email.  
  • Make sure your message is direct and to the point, but not blunt or rude.  Ensure the email message has a purpose, is organized, and is brief.  
  • Limit or eliminate your use of slang, informal language, emojis, and abbreviations (such as LOL and BTW).  Keep in mind that your writing in emails should always be professional.  
Practice Good Verbal Communication
  • Whether on the telephone or in person, it’s important to pay attention to your tone when you’re communicating verbally.  Make sure you’re coming across as friendly, and more importantly, confident, but not cocky.  This can be applied for job interviews, but also for everyday business interactions.
  • Just like communicating via email, clarity of your message is critical when speaking to someone, too. Make sure that you’re not using slang, avoid rambling, don’t use words repetitively, and don’t talk over someone.  Most importantly, think before you speak and be authentic.
Get Comfortable with Video
  • Many organizations are utilizing video conferencing as a first round of interviews.  Make sure you appear collected, confident, and comfortable.
  • Be aware of the visual aspects of video; give consideration to lighting, background, and camera angle.  Do you have laundry hanging in the doorway behind you? Is the camera focused on your ceiling fan and showing only your forehead?  These details contribute to your video presence and make it harder for the person you’re having a conversation with to focus on you.
To summarize, regardless of your communication platform, make sure to stay confident, concise and professional.  The ease with which you communicate could be the edge that secures you the job of your dreams!
If you need to earn your bachelor’s degree in order to advance your career, Peirce College is here to help! Visit peirce.edu to learn more about how Peirce has been helping working adults get the skills they need to get the job they want for over 150 years.