Unemployment is at a record low. Some industries are facing shortages of talented and skilled workers, but you still can’t seem to manage to land a job. You’ve applied to dozens of roles, and you’ve even had a couple of interviews. Employers keep passing you over for other candidates.
If you want to improve your interview performance the next time around, try emphasizing these three soft skills.
1. Communication Skills
No matter what industry you work in, communication plays an important role in your workday. Engineers may need to explain complex instructions to teams of labourers. Managers need to communicate their expectations and negotiate budgets. At all levels, good communication helps the workplace run smoothly and ensures tasks are completed correctly.
It’s little wonder most employers want to hire great communicators. In fact, of all the soft skills, communication probably affects a job seeker the most.
The entire application and hiring process is a chance for you to demonstrate your communication skills to your potential employer. Your resume showcases your written communication. The interview is your chance to display your verbal communication skills. Practice your interview with a friend or in front of a mirror. You’ll appear much smoother during the actual interview.
2. Teamwork Skills
It’s rare for someone to work in complete isolation. Even remote employees who are working offsite will need to report back to management or a client. In most cases, teamwork skills are necessary.
Think about typical jobs in your industry. How often does someone in your position work alone? At the end of the day, the work you do affects everyone else in the company too. An engineer may work alone to draft plans, but those plans must be approved by management and in the end the plans will affect the rest of the project.
Teamwork skills allow you to work together with others well. Employers look for these skills because they boost productivity and smooth over interpersonal relationships in the workplace.
How can you emphasize these skills in an interview? After all, it’s not like you’re going to get a chance to work hands-on with a team during an hour-long meeting. An example will have to do. Think of a time when you worked well in a team. You might also think of a challenging situation, such as a large project, and how you used teamwork skills to overcome it.
3. Problem-Solving and Critical-Thinking Skills
In the engineering field at least, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills are some of the most important soft skills. Most employers in most industries actually prefer their employees to be good critical thinkers and problem solvers.
Critical thinking allows you to analyze and conceptualize a problem from a number of different angles. Problem solving then allows you to develop creative solutions to the identified problem. It should be clear how this is useful not just in engineering but in all kinds of jobs and industries.
How can you emphasize your critical-thinking skills in an interview? You might get lucky and have the interviewer ask you some questions specifically on the subject. If not, don’t worry. You can still demonstrate your critical-thinking skills by telling the interviewer about your unique approach to a problem you encountered at school or in the workplace.
The Importance of Soft Skills
These soft skills are on almost every employer’s wish list. Emphasizing them could make you stand out from the rest of the pack.
If you’re not sure your soft skills are up to par, there are many webinars and online courses you can participate in. Good soft skills will serve you well, both in your job search and your career, so take the time to invest in them.