We’ve talked many times about the importance of tailoring your career collateral to every single application – and how adding this one element to your job hunt strategy can lead to a huge increase in interviews.
Did you know, however, that there are personal attributes that should always be present – regardless of the job description or company? The “get-me-an-interview-now” aspects of your resume that should always be included are…
Your critical soft skills.
Here are the top seven soft skills in high demand by nearly every employer:
Our new economy does not allow for elongated learning curves. Feedback is often spontaneous, direct and brutally honest. Short-term, this can cause some anxiety for those with thinner skins and temperamental egos. Long-term, it will help your career substantially. From first contact with a potential employer, show you’re a good listener, make quick corrections, think on your own… and learn.
You will likely be working with colleagues who are extremely passionate about what they’re building. Success as a new team member in this environment will require you to be equally passionate about the company’s mission – and the value of the products. Don’t just say you’re passionate, however… show it!
Even as an entry-level employee or intern, you may be asked to lead entire projects – and today’s employers want to know you can handle the responsibility. By showing the fraternity, sports, club and volunteer leadership positions you’ve already held… you are way ahead of your competition.
More and more often, organizations are being forced to do more with less. Teamwork is more than critical, it is demanded, and no one is exempt, from interns all the way to the CEO. Show specific examples of how you’ve excelled in a team environment – and be sure to list your personal contributions to the effort.
3. Work Ethic (aka “Entrepreneurial Spirit”)
Ever see a successful entrepreneur that was lazy? We haven’t either! If you’re the proverbial “go-getter” who’s unafraid to show a little hustle, help whenever necessary, and, as the cliché goes, is the “first one there and the last one to leave”… you win. Period. Again, don’t just say you have a solid work ethic, since everybody does that. Show your work ethic through examples, quantified statements and testimonials.
2. Problem Solving
Employers want team members to be critical thinkers, self-learners and to be able to solve problems, all without involving more senior team members or executives. On your resume and cover letter, show a specific example or two of how you independently improved a process, performed excellent customer service, solved a crisis or created a solution with little input from others. Again, quantify whenever possible.
1. Written Communication Skills
According to a study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the number one soft skill missing in 4 out of 10 internship and entry-level applicants is communication skills. On your resume and cover letter (both proofed by someone you trust with your life, of course) exhibit your writing skills front and center. Where applicable, include links to your blogs, articles for clubs and fraternities, technical reports, reviews and papers you’ve published. If you don’t have any examples of your writing skills yet, this is a really, really good time to get started!
As you’re looking at these most in-demand soft skills, keep this in mind:
You are probably NOT going to have ALL of these character traits now. In fact, you may only have a few. Rather than try to make up stuff that might make you appear to be something you’re not, focus on SELLING the soft skills you have now. And, of course, work hard to self-learn or obtain the others (refer to critical Soft Skills No. 7: Coachable, and No. 2: Problem Solving).
How many of these soft skills can you sell on your resume now? Perhaps more important to young talent… how many will you be able to feature six months from now?
Mark Babbitt, the CEO and Founder of YouTern, is a serial entrepreneur and mentor and a passionate supporter of Gen Y talent. Mark contributes to 12Most.com, Glassdoor and Business Insider. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Mashable, Forbes and Under30CEO regarding internships, higher education’s role in preparing emerging talent for the workforce and career development. Recently, Mark was honored to be named to GenJuice’s list of “Top 100 Most Desirable Mentors”. You can contact Mark via email or on Twitter:@YouTernMark.