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Tough Transition? Steer to Your Soft Skills

Many job seekers are navigating the rough waters of “tough transitions” in their careers paths: College students diving into their first “Adult” job, Military folks launching into the private sector and Parents returning to work. Whether you’re one of these Tough Transitioners—or a job changer struggling to line up your skills with the posted job description, Transferable Soft Skills are your ticket to your next job.

Of course, no one is going to hire someone who cannot perform the essential functions of the job. However, these days candidates must go beyond those technical skills to rise above the rest of the crowd.

Luckily, no matter what industry—from High Tech to Healthcare—employers are looking for key soft skills in candidates. So, in your marketing materials and face-to-meetings be sure to sprinkle stories highlighting these Crucial 5 C’s:

  1. Communication.

Communication is critical to making a personal connection with anyone. And hiring managers will look for a communication style specific to each position. You can imagine that persuasiveness is key for a Sales Representative, while writing skills are paramount to a Blog Content Creator. But all employers are looking for folks with a great facility to communicate with customers, co-workers and direct reports.

  1. Critical Thinking.

Also known as Analysis or Problem-Solving, these skills not only help you achieve the significant goals of your job, but also manage the day-to-day hiccups that pop up on the job. Yep, “Stuff” happens! Face it—we’re all hired to solve problems. You can make an impact on your interviewer by describing how you consistently solve problems!

  1. Creative Time Management.

Planning and prioritizing show up high on employers’ wish lists. Everyone has created their own system to manage their precious time. Be prepared to describe your process—I know you have a great story to tell!

  1. Collaboration.

”Teamwork” isn’t just showing that you’re likable—although that is important. People like to hire folks they’d have a latte with. But you should also be prepared to talk about your team roles, how the group consistently communicated with each other, how you helped your team come to group decisions without “group think,” and how you shared responsibility for successes.

  1. Continuous Learner.

I’ve posted a quote from Martha Beck above my desk. It reads, “We live in a time when being flexible, being creative and embracing change is a far better mindset from which to build a career than attachment to one job.” To me, this is what curiosity and continuous learning are all about. ‘Nuff said.

Be sure to show evidence of all of these five critical skills in your interview, resume, and other communication pieces. You may have used them in an entirely different setting, but if you can translate how these skills are transferable and crucial to the targeted job, you can demonstrate that you are the perfect fit! This is how you can rise above in a wash of other candidates.

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