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Becoming a viable job candidate: Honing soft skills & articulating experience
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CHARLESTON, S.C. - As you search and apply for jobs, understanding your soft skills set is essential. Being able to articulate job readiness with your life experiences will position you as the best person for the job.
You may have all the experience needed for a particular position but fitting in at a company can come down to your soft skills.
Here are some skill sets to review:
- Verbal and written communication
- No matter your role, the ability to demonstrate good communication skills will be useful and help you deliver the best results. What is required of you when it comes to verbal and written communication skills will differ based on your job position, but showing confidence and being able to articulate your thoughts, ideas, and feelings on the job will help you stand out in the workplace. Being a good listener and a good speaker are also great attributes to have when showing your communication skills.
- Organizational Skills
- If asked to provide an example of your organizational skills in an interview, think about ways you organized parts of your life outside of work. Maybe you organized a family event or have been on a committee or part of a community group. You can describe these skills in an interview or cover letter.
- Time Management
- Being on time to work is crucial. It can be a deal breaker when it comes down to determining if you are able to complete tasks on time, keep operations running smoothly, or even handle a challenging situation in a timely manner.
- Personal Development
- During the interview process, you should show a willingness to learn and grow as a person. Ask the employer about professional development opportunities for employees and if they invest in their team’s continued learning. Specifically ask if the employer supports training opportunities, workshops, webinars, professional job-related conferences or seminars.
- Positive Attitude
- Being friendly, personable, approachable, and all around pleasant are attributes that will take you far in the workplace. Use the interview screening time to discuss ways you assisted your co-workers on previous jobs or helped them.
- Problem Solving
- Are you able to remain calm, work with your team or co-workers to overcome challenges? This is a real asset. Think about times you helped solve problems at work or in your personal life - this a popular question asked in interviews. If you can find creative solutions for many of the common issues that arise in a workplace (unhappy customers, staff shortages, staff conflict, delayed receipt of needed resources, poor production), it puts you in a great place when being interviewed by a potential employer.
- Being a Team Player
- Think about ways you can demonstrate you are a good team player and provide solid examples in the interview process. Maybe you helped a group of co-workers organize an event or worked together with them to tackle a project with a deadline. Perhaps you simply stepped in when someone called out sick to perform their job duties and your own in order to keep the workflow running smoothly.
Charleston County Public Library provides a myriad of resources via audio, digital and print that can assist you with preparation for your job interview. Here are a few e-book titles that focus on soft skills you may find useful.
Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age by Sherry Turkle
We live in a technological universe in which we are always communicating. And yet we have sacrificed conversation for mere connection.
Preeminent author and researcher Sherry Turkle has been studying digital culture for over thirty years. Long an enthusiast for its possibilities, here she investigates a troubling consequence: at work, at home, in politics, and in love, we find ways around conversation, tempted by the possibilities of a text or an email in which we don't have to look, listen, or reveal ourselves.
We develop a taste for what mere connection offers. The dinner table falls silent as children compete with phones for their parents' attention. Friends learn strategies to keep conversations going when only a few people are looking up from their phones. At work, we retreat to our screens although it is conversation at the water cooler that increases not only productivity but commitment to work. Online, we only want to share opinions that our followers will agree with – a politics that shies away from the real conflicts and solutions of the public square.
The case for conversation begins with the necessary conversations of solitude and self-reflection. They are endangered: these days, always connected, we see loneliness as a problem that technology should solve. Afraid of being alone, we rely on other people to give us a sense of ourselves, and our capacity for empathy and relationship suffers. We see the costs of the flight from conversation everywhere: conversation is the cornerstone for democracy and in business it is good for the bottom line. In the private sphere, it builds empathy, friendship, love, learning, and productivity.
But there is good news: we are resilient. Conversation cures.
Based on five years of research and interviews in homes, schools, and the workplace, Turkle argues that we have come to a better understanding of where our technology can and cannot take us and that the time is right to reclaim conversation. The most human—and humanizing—thing that we do.
The virtues of person-to-person conversation are timeless, and our most basic technology, talk, responds to our modern challenges. We have everything we need to start, we have each other.
Decisive by Chip Heath
Research in psychology has revealed that our decisions are disrupted by an array of biases and irrationalities: We're overconfident. We seek out information that supports us and downplay information that doesn't. We get distracted by short-term emotions. When it comes to making choices, it seems, our brains are flawed instruments. Unfortunately, merely being aware of these shortcomings doesn't fix the problem, any more than knowing that we are nearsighted helps us to see. The real question is: How can we do better?
In Decisive, the Heaths, based on an exhaustive study of the decision-making literature, introduce a four-step process designed to counteract these biases. Written in an engaging and compulsively readable style, Decisive takes readers on an unforgettable journey, from a rock star's ingenious decision-making trick to a CEO's disastrous acquisition, to a single question that can often resolve thorny personal decisions.
Along the way, we learn the answers to critical questions like these: How can we stop the cycle of agonizing over our decisions? How can we make group decisions without destructive politics? And how can we ensure that we don't overlook precious opportunities to change our course?
Decisive is the Heath brothers' most powerful—and important—book yet, offering fresh strategies and practical tools enabling us to make better choices. Because the right decision, at the right moment, can make all the difference.
Dare to Lead by Brene’ Brown
Leadership is not about titles, status, and wielding power. A leader is anyone who takes responsibility for recognizing the potential in people and ideas, and has the courage to develop that potential.
When we dare to lead, we don't pretend to have the right answers; we stay curious and ask the right questions. We don't see power as finite and hoard it; we know that power becomes infinite when we share it with others. We don't avoid difficult conversations and situations; we lean into vulnerability when it's necessary to do good work.
But daring leadership in a culture defined by scarcity, fear, and uncertainty requires skill-building around traits that are deeply and uniquely human. The irony is that we're choosing not to invest in developing the hearts and minds of leaders at the exact same time as we're scrambling to figure out what we have to offer that machines and AI can't do better and faster. What can we do better? Empathy, connection, and courage, to start.
Four-time #1 New York Times bestselling author Brené Brown has spent the past two decades studying the emotions and experiences that give meaning to our lives, and the past seven years working with transformative leaders and teams spanning the globe. She found that leaders in organizations ranging from small entrepreneurial startups and family-owned businesses to nonprofits, civic organizations, and Fortune 50 companies all ask the same question: How do you cultivate braver, more daring leaders, and how do you embed the value of courage in your culture?
In this new book, Brown uses research, stories, and examples to answer these questions in the no-BS style that millions of readers have come to expect and love.
Brown writes, "One of the most important findings of my career is that daring leadership is a collection of four skill sets that are 100 percent teachable, observable, and measurable. It's learning and unlearning that requires brave work, tough conversations, and showing up with your whole heart. Easy? No. Because choosing courage over comfort is not always our default. Worth it? Always. We want to be brave with our lives and our work. It's why we're here."
Whether you've read Daring Greatly and Rising Strong or you're new to Brené Brown's work, this book is for anyone who wants to step up and into brave leadership.
Daymond John knows what it means to push yourself hard-and he also knows how spectacularly a killer work ethic can pay off. As a young man, he founded a modest line of clothing on a $40 budget by hand-sewing hats between his shifts at Red Lobster. Today, his brand FUBU has had over $6 billion in sales.
Convenient though it might be to believe that you can short-cut your way to the top, says John, but the truth is that if you want to get and stay ahead, you need to put in the work. You need to out-think, out-hustle, out-perform everyone around you. You've got to 'rise and grind' every day.
In the anticipated follow-up to the bestselling The Power of Broke, Daymond takes an up-close look at the hard-charging routines and winning secrets of individuals who have risen to the challenges in their lives and grinded their way to the very tops of their fields. Along the way, he also reveals how grit and persistence both helped him overcome the obstacles he has faced in life, and ultimately fueled his success.
In addition to employee workforce related resources available on the library’s website, staff are always here to help you in your job-seeking journey. With a little bit of practice and self-patience, you will be ready to take on the next steps in your future career. If you would like more information about changing careers during difficult circumstances, assistance in finding resources, tips on how to get the job-hunting process started or more, please reach out to us at CCPL by email, chat, or text. You may also call us at 843-805-6930, leave a voice message, and a library staff member will return your call. Remember, you are not alone.