The other day I had the privilege of being the keynote speaker for a group of high school students who were looking for summer employment with the city we live in. Prior to my presentation, I looked out into the crowd of young faces and saw the overwhelming majority of them engaged with their cell phone. That picture in my mind is the reason for this article today.
There’s no question that social media has dramatically changed the way we interact with each other. It’s so much easier to post a TikTok video to express your “creative side” or add a “here’s where I am and what I’m doing right now” picture on Instagram than it is to take time out of your day to call someone and have a nice chat. Professional Counselor Jared Pizzitola says important social skills develop from face-to-face conversations and constant communicating online will severely inhibit verbal skills.
Verbal skills are known as soft skills—-and ALL of us, especially young people, will certainly need them when looking for a job. Soft skills are general skills—like the ability to accept feedback, work collaboratively, manage your time, etc. These are skills that will help you in a wide range of jobs, not just the target job you’re applying for.
Here are some of the top soft skills in demand for today’s job market according to the National Careers Service:
- Communication skills: It’s more than just speaking the language. Communication skills involve active listening, presentation as well as excellent writing capabilities. One highly sought-after communication skill is the ability to explain technical concepts to partners, customers and coworkers that aren’t tech savvy.
- Interpersonal skills: The ability to work in teams, relate to people and manage conflict is a valuable asset in the workplace. This skill is important to get ahead–and as you advance in your career, the aptitude to work with others becomes even more crucial. Personal accomplishments are important on your resume, but showing that you can work well with others is important too.
- Adaptability:Don’t underestimate the ability to adapt to changes and manage multiple tasks. In today’s technology driven and rapidly evolving business environment, the ability to pick up on new technologies and adjust to changing business surroundings is important. Display your relevancy in the workforce by referencing an example of how you adapted to a sudden change at work in your resume.
- Research skills: With Google at the tip of your fingers, it’s easy to find answers to common issues. However, hiring managers seek employees that are skilled at assessing situations, are able to seek multiple perspectives and gather more in depth information.
- Project management skills: Organization, planning and effectively implementing projects and tasks for yourself and others is a highly effective skill to have. In the past, this was a job in itself. Nowadays, many companies aren’t hiring project managers because they expect all of their employees to possess certain characteristics of this skill.
- Problem-solving skills: The ability to use creativity, reasoning, past experience, information and available resources to resolve issues is attractive because it saves everyone at the organization valuable time. Highlight this skill by listing an example of when your organization had a sticky situation and you effectively addressed it.
We have all gained skills from past jobs, responsibilities, life experiences, and interests. You may even have hidden skills that, when identified, can be added to your resume and help you to become a better contender in your job search or in business conversations.