Most job openings list certain criteria the employer is looking for in an applicant, such as years of experience, level of education and board certification. But many applications also include other features they’re looking for in a candidate like strong work ethic, good communication skills, and excellent teamwork. You know how to prove the first set of criteria, but how do you demonstrate good work ethic on a resume?
Soft skills are the personality traits, habits and attitudes that make for a great employee. Just as you need to be able to talk about how your prior job experience directly relates to the job you’re applying for (your hard skills), you also need to be able to talk about your soft skills and why they would make you good at your job.
During your next interview, help the employer understand why you’re a great candidate by preparing examples demonstrating these three soft skills.
No matter your job, you’ll need good communication skills to do it effectively. If you’re a highly-skilled carpenter but aren’t very good at communicating updates to a client or your manager, your skill may cause more problems for an employer than you’re worth. Whether you need to communicate with your boss, your coworkers or customers, communication is critical.
How to demonstrate: Communication comes in a variety of forms, mainly written, verbal and by phone. Think about previous job experience and when communication played a key role. Maybe you worked in a restaurant and had to accurately communicate with diners and chefs about meals, or perhaps you did some public speaking about your job at local events. Think about experiences you can point to and how your success demonstrates your communication skills.
2. Work ethic
Every employer wants to hire someone with a strong work ethic, even if it isn’t directly mentioned in the job posting. Having a strong work ethic means you come to work on time, focus on your tasks, stay organized and complete your work. This seems like the bare minimum for doing a job well, but employers will want to know they can trust you to do your job.
How to demonstrate: Come prepared with examples of your commitment to your past jobs. Maybe you had a client who needed something done fast and you were able to stay organized and get the project done. Perhaps you’ve earned an award like “Employee of the Month” demonstrating how you go above and beyond in your job. Think of times when your boss was able to depend on you and you delivered.
As with communication, even jobs where you’re working solo will likely require some level of teamwork. Managers want to know that you’ll get along well with other employees and that you can work together to achieve a common goal. They don’t want to hire someone who will prevent work from getting done because of personality conflicts.
How to demonstrate: Employers may ask you directly in an interview for examples related to teamwork with prompts like, “Tell me about a time when you and a coworker didn’t see eye to eye but got the job done.” Virtually everyone has a story about not getting along with a coworker, so it shouldn’t be hard to come up with an example and, most importantly, to list what you did to finish the job and what you learned from the experience.
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