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Job Seekers: Why Soft Skills Are So Hard...And What You Can Do About It

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Talk to recruiters and you'll discover their #1 complaint about finding the best candidates is that there are plenty of candidates with great technical skills, but lacking the needed soft skills. This presentation outlines the top soft skills you must use on your resume, and how to use them, to put your candidacy at the top of the list.

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Job Seekers: Why Soft Skills Are So Hard...And What You Can Do About It

  1. 1. Why Soft Skills Are So Hard… And What You Can Do About It. JOBSEEKER’S SPECIAL REPORT
  2. 2. “Thankfully, I have other skills than just standing there looking cute.” ~ Francis Cobain
  3. 3. What Does the Research Say? • Recent research by Stanford Research Institute International and the Carnegie Melon Foundation revealed: • • 75% of long-term job success depends on people skills (soft skills). • • 25% of long-term job success depends on technical knowledge (hard skills). • • 67% of HR managers would hire a candidate with strong soft skills even if hard skills were lacking. Surprised? The last point is especially telling. And here we thought our hard skills were all that mattered.
  4. 4. Exceptional Soft Skills Are Not Optional Soft skills are becoming increasingly important in both job search and career progression. Employers value critical thinking, determination, teamwork, and decision-making as greatly as technical skills (hard skills). Why? Soft skills improve company culture, and company culture is never far from the collective mind of the enterprise. The best employers now stringently measure soft skills and continually seek ways to strengthen them across the enterprise.
  5. 5. “I Was Born This Way” ~ Lady Gaga You were born with soft skills that can be improved upon and strengthened. Unlike technical skills, soft skills translate across multiple industries – great news when contemplating a career transition. Let’s say you have a natural empathy for others. Professionally, this translates to an ability to provide constructive feedback, communicate the need for change, and compassionately guide others in their careers. Three terrific skills right here that can be applied in a professional environment.
  6. 6. Top 10 Soft Skills you MUST Include on Your Resume Communication: Written, verbal, or non-verbal – valuable for roles in sales, marketing, human resources, and management. Interpersonal Skills: Your ability to relate to, communicate with, and work with others. Interpersonal skills often fall under the teamwork umbrella. Adaptability: Able to go with the flow and embrace change as it comes. A very key skill in startup environments. Problem-Solving: Great to have when difficult, unexpected, or complicated matters arise in the workplace. Leadership: Your ability to guide others while meeting the goals and mission of your organization.
  7. 7. Continuing the Top 10 Soft Skills - Organization: Shows you can offset potential problems, ensure deadlines are met, and communicate clearly and openly. Time Management: Your ability to work smart – not faster, not harder, but productively and efficiently. Creativity: Creative professionals can problem-solve, forge new directions, and develop new solutions to old problems. Emotional Intelligence: How appropriately you treat people at all levels, particularly when dealing with a difficult co-worker. Work Ethic: Without a strong worth ethic, your soft skills don’t matter. Pay attention to job descriptions and you’re likely to find that nearly all of these skills are woven into the fabric of the role.
  8. 8. Step 1: let’s Identify Your Best Soft Skills Identifying your best soft skills requires an honest evaluation. It’s not a contest – you are simply born with or have cultivated certain skills but not others. What you don’t have, you can develop. 1. Based on the Top 10 list, create a three-column list showing skills you have nailed down, skills you have but that need more development, and skills you absolutely don’t have and need to work on. 2. Ask a friend or co-worker for help. Most people struggle with writing about themselves. Enlist a friend willing to provide an unbiased opinion about both the pros and cons of your soft skills.
  9. 9. Now, Let’s Put Your List to Work 1. Visit LinkedIn Jobs to find a job description for a role you want to pursue. 2. Go to www.wordclouds.com. Click on the Wizard. Copy and paste the job description into the blank field provided and Submit. A shape appears on the screen which reveals the keywords most dominant on the job description. 3. Do the same for your resume. Now you have 2 very cool visual representations highlighting the most dominant key words on your resume and in the job description. So…how do they match up? Are the dominant words largely the same? Then, good job! If not, you’ve got some alignment work to do. A Note of Caution: Some job descriptions do a great job of listing the necessary soft skills – for example, “Requires a detail-oriented manager with excellent written and verbal communications skills.” Others are poorly written. Regardless, this exercise is time well spent – you’ll align your actual skills to the employer’s desires and gain insight into the recruiter’s mindset.
  10. 10. Let’s Soften Up Your Resume! One big resume mistake? An exhaustive list of soft skills. You’re not fooling anyone with all that fluff. Such a list provides no context around how you apply soft skills on the job. Instead, think about a real-job situation where you applied your communications or team-building or critical thinking skills with a satisfactory outcome. Did you implement a new and improved system? Did you develop a money-saving process? Did you close a big deal? Tell, then show, and your resume will be far more engaging and powerful.
  11. 11. About Your Cover Letter The ubiquitous cover letter has fallen in and out of favor over the years. Currently, we are seeing a resurgence in requests for a cover letter, because it allows recruiters and hiring managers to quickly evaluate your soft skills. A cover letter is a great opportunity to demonstrate your ability to write well and to express yourself. It’s your chance to expand on your soft skills and explain how well these apply to the job you’re pursuing. Telling stories (briefly!) engages the reader and makes you more human, as well as helping the recruiter to visualize how you might contribute to the company’s top or bottom lines if hired.
  12. 12. Soft Skills Work on Your LinkedIn Profile Too Your resume is your career obituary. Once sent, it can’t be amended. You are that person in the recruiter’s mind…forever. But your LinkedIn profile? Well, it’s a living, breathing, 24/7-updateable achievement record to which you can attach interesting media items, your resume, a video introduction message, a slide show, a news clipping - possibilities abound. Add soft skills to your headline, summary (now About) and Experience sections. Ask those providing recommendations to include your best soft skills in their comments. Add soft skills to your Endorsements. LinkedIn is your best opportunity to tie together hard and soft skills to quickly convey value to recruiters. Strong soft skills ensure a productive, collaborative and healthy work environment - precisely what every employer wants.
  13. 13. When working with LinkedIn, keep in mind these two points: 1. When LinkedIn bots scour the site for data about its users, it looks for “likemindedness” – which users match up with others; which skills, abilities, and job experiences users have in common, etc. Profile accuracy is vital, and the words used can mean the difference between being found and getting lost among 650+ million other users. 2. Recruiters use LinkedIn via a specially designed platform. Recruiters can pull up both your resume and profile on the same page. When the recruiter compares them, accuracy is of the utmost importance. So how do your documents look when compared? Are your job start and end dates consistent throughout? How about your job titles? And those older-than- 10-years jobs? (Hint: leave them off on both to tamp down age bias.) You don’t want to lead the recruiter to question whether you are “real”, or to feel you may be hiding something.
  14. 14. “It is not the strongest or most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” ~ Charles Darwin, scientist Revamped Resumes works exclusively with job seeking executives to improve personal branding in preparation for career change. The journey begins with the resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile, and is polished by video interview practice, LinkedIn job search coaching, and a host of other tools and guidance aimed at reducing time-to-hire. Why not schedule a free 15-minute consult? https://VictoriaIpri.as.me Just 15 minutes really can change the trajectory of your career.

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