When applying for a job, having a good resume is important, but it is not the most important thing. What you really need to pay attention to are the so called soft skills.
Those are the skills that can’t be taught at school. They are mostly based on your ability to adjust, to communicate and work with a team. They are a part of one’s emotional intelligence and they practically determine whether you are the “right fit” for the job.
So what are these soft skills you need to have?
1. Cultural fit
This means you should be able to fit into the company and work well with your co-workers as well as your boss. The employer is looking for somebody with similar views on work. Feel the air and try to guess what the employer wants to hear from you. If you are skillful enough, your values will align with those of your potential boss.
It is essential for you to be able to bring something new to the table. From the countless faces the hiring manager will see that day, you need to stand out. You need to be innovative, think outside the box and offer a fresh opinion. The company is supposed to grow, and if you can’t grow with it, you are not employee material.
Of course, experience is a very important category. You need to have relevant work history and good references. This will show your employer that you can handle the position you are applying for. And not only that, you should definitely mention volunteer work and internships to show that you are passionate about your job and willing to learn and improve yourself.
4. Taking initiative
The employer wants to know whether you have what it takes, whether you are willing to be independent and come up with some ideas yourself. Anybody can follow others. The real value is in initiating a plan yourself. If you can organize it and put it to action, well that is even better. If you have this quality you are bound to progress on the company ladder.
You should be able to work independently, but if you need to, you must know how to team up with your colleagues too. This doesn’t mean you should take the main role and lead, nor should you just listen passively and do as told. This means you need to actively contribute with your own ideas, you need to be constructive and a valuable part of the team.
6. Problem solving
Everyone can point out a problem but not many people are successful problem solvers. You need to be able to come up with ideas and solutions, and not only that, you must be willing to finish the job. If you show you can take matters into your own hands, that you are reliable and good under stress, you will soon become an irreplaceable member of the company.
In companies, things never stay the same. Everything changes, moves and develops and you need to be able to keep up. You shouldn’t be rigid and only be willing to work in certain circumstances. If your deadline shifts, you need to know how to adapt to the new situation. Prioritizing is also a great asset here because it helps you assess the projects at hand according to importance.
8. Work ethic
Are you hard-working, reliable and loyal? Are you able to meet deadlines and focus on work even when it gets stressful? All of these make a good work ethic. Your boss needs to know that you can do this job, and that you can do it well. He or she wants to hire somebody who is trustworthy and gets the job done.
Maybe the most important thing is your attitude. From the very beginning you need to look like a positive and confident person. The first impression is extremely important, so be professional but don’t forget to smile from time to time. If the employer sees that you believe in your capabilities, he or she is more likely to believe in them too.