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Employers Are Looking for Soft Skills


Stashed in: Stress, Empathy, Jobs, Emotional Intelligence

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Heh heh, I was wondering what your definition of "soft" is.

I think of soft skills as those that are not easily quantifiable or measurable (say, with a number), and yet has a significant impact on your performance as an employee. I would say it's really your ability to regulate yourself and build healthy, productive relationships. I guess the proof is in the pudding in terms of impact of your skills. I recently made a pretty dramatic career change and my resume had a lot of soft skills contained therein. I found that it was effective to state the results of exerting my skills rather than just claim I had them. I guess it worked because I got several nice job opportunities!

So, soft skills are qualitative -- like listening, writing well, and adapting.

Whereas hard skills are measurable -- such as how good are you at JavaScript?

It's funny to think of "handling deadline pressure" as a soft skill:

And companies are going to ever-greater lengths to identify the students who have the right mix of skills by observing them in role-playing exercises to see how they handle pressure and get along with others, relying more on applicants who have already proved themselves in internships and co-op jobs in which students work while attending school, and organizing contests that reveal how students solve problems and handle deadline pressure.

Handling pressure is essentially self-regulation, which Goldman says is one of the top two foundations of emotional intelligence. The other one being empathy. 

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