‘Stress-resistant’ and ‘sociable’ people no longer get hired. Or rather, people who don’t know how to write about their personal and professional qualities in their resume, or refuse to learn the necessary skills for today’s workplace, don’t get hired. After all, modern problems can only be matched with modern solutions.
Sure, if you really are a sociable person who can handle difficulties and works well under pressure, there's no need to worry - these are really important qualities. The problem lies in the wording itself - employers are tired of seeing the same words repeated over and over again. Recruiters see these words so often that they stop paying attention to typical resumes and quickly switch to others. So what are they looking for instead of 'PC proficiency' and 'knowledge of Excel' (which, by the way, haven't offered any competitive advantages over the last ten years)? Let's find out!
Changing with the times
The XXI century has witnessed a convenient division of all professional skills into two categories: hard skills and soft skills. The first group includes all skills that can be demonstrated. For example, knowledge of a particular programming language, driving skills or carpentry. These skills form the basis of your professional knowledge, however they only affect 15% of your success with a potential employer. The remaining 85% is decided by your soft skills.
Soft skills can't be measured in the moment, but they can be evaluated by looking at your previous experience and the results of your work as an expert who interacted with team members and executed projects. The bulk of this category is made up of skills in leadership and communication - the ones that enable an employee to effectively move up the career ladder and increase their value as an asset to the company.
Yes, that's right: today's employers pay more attention to soft skills, and the most extraverted and enterprising candidates get hired three times more often than others.
Which soft skills should you focus on to become successful and sought-after in a modern company?
- Ability to present yourself and your project. The days when you could get by simply sitting in a corner and quietly doing your job are over. Today, self-consciousness is met with suspicion and only excused for mad geniuses who can generate 80% of the company's profits from their corner. For the rest of us, the time has come to learn to talk about ourselves and our work, in a way that is clear and concise. Otherwise, even if you come up with an innovative idea that could change the world, you will be looked over in favor of your more talkative colleague. You would be at risk of remaining misunderstood throughout your entire career.
- Adaptability to change. We live in a fast-paced world, and keeping up with is has turned into a real art. If you have a difficult time accepting change, you might be putting up barriers that will stunt your development. Employers are not interested in employees that remain at the same level each year.
- Emotional intelligence. It's rather obvious that most people prefer working with someone who can handle their emotions, react well to changing conditions and make the right decisions. A well-developed emotional intelligence will help you ward off stress, remain objective and pleasant in your conversations, and build an effective dialogue with coworkers both on professional and personal topics.
- Ability to take responsibility. Fear of responsibility is the bane of today's active employees above the age of 30. Employers are focused on hiring reliable people who understand the importance of executing projects and are prepared to take on additional responsibility if needed. Responsibility should give you a feeling of control, so if the word makes you break out in a nervous sweat, it's time to do something about that.
- Teamwork. You don't have to be friends with everyone you work with, but it's important to maintain a healthy relationship with your colleagues and distribute tasks in the right way. For example, a team of at least three people is usually responsible for creating a single social media post: a writer, a designer and an SMM manager. At some point, they are also joined by the department leader, who needs to approve the content, as well as an editor who can make sure there are no mistakes in the text. All of them need to reach a common agreement. If each employee works independently, without taking the others' work into consideration, this will result in a missed deadline, in the best-case scenario. It could also lead to bigger problems - from major conflicts to direct loss of revenue. To ensure efficient work, you need to be able to allocate tasks and trust your colleagues, so each of you can contribute productively to the project as a whole.
- Conflict resolution skills. Stress can make people nervous, aggressive and confrontational. The are many potential reasons - from work trouble to getting up on the wrong side of the bed, breaking a favourite mug or the planets aligning at the wrong angle. These things happen, and that's okay. However, any personal problem can negatively affect the work environment if employees are unable to handle their stress, and this is what is important to your potential employer. A tense atmosphere, together with an inability to move past a conflict situation to make balanced decisions, can create new conflicts and significantly decrease everyone's work efficiency. The ability to control yourself and find solutions to conflicts (or even better - to stop them from occurring in the first place) will set you apart from the crowd as a strong leader and someone who will definitely become an asset to the company.
- Digital skills - this is a group of skills that are reflected in the way you handle modern technologies and use them in your work. It's no longer enough to be able to use a computer and send an e-mail: you need to master digital skills geared towards your specific area of expertise. Pay particular attention to special programs and services for process automation and time management.
We have listed just a small fraction of the skills that you might need on your way to securing your dream job. In sum, most employers are looking for leaders, paying particular attention to socially active, enterprising and creative people who are not afraid to take responsibility for their decisions and propose new ideas.
The verdict: don't write about how 'sociable' you are - talk about your ability to express your thoughts in an accessible way. Forget about 'stress resistance' - instead, tell your employer about your conflict resolution skills. 'Experienced PC user' should also be left out of your resume. We're all experienced, computers have been around for some time already - instead, talk about the specific digital instruments that you have mastered. So go ahead and develop all of your skills!