Workplace culture, and whether new staff fit into it, is a hot topic for all hiring managers
Every job description out there contains some requirement for applicants to possess interpersonal, communication, or relationship-building skills. These social skills improve collaboration and client satisfaction, and they have a marked impact on profitability.
If you're in the market for a new job, you need to know what social skills are and why they are important to your job search. You've come to the right place. We'll show you how to highlight your social skills on your resume, in your LinkedIn profile, and during your interview. They are vitally important.
What are social skills?
At the bare minimum, social skills are how well or how poorly you interact with others. Employers are more attuned to things like diversity, inclusion, and equity than ever before. Thus, fitting within a company's workplace culture has more bearing on whether you would be offered a job than in the past. Having good social skills can set you apart from other job seekers.
Here are eight examples of the most useful social skills needed for career success:
Communication - verbal and nonverbal
Pro tip: Communication ranks as one of the most important and basic social skills and is the best one to showcase during your job search.
Why are social skills important?
Social skills, sometimes called soft skills, touch every part of your workday. Many employers have come to realize that job seekers with the right interpersonal skills can sometimes be more valuable than a candidate with the right hard skills. Hard skills can be taught more easily than soft skills. That's not to say you can't develop your social skills and improve them, though.
Advantages of developing better social skills
It goes without saying that if you interact well with other people – clients, coworkers, managers – you'll be happier at work because less drama will ensue. But being happier isn't the only perk to having well-developed social skills. Here are some other advantages:
You'll find new ideas for solving problems by being collaborative
You'll have the confidence to present your own ideas
You'll have an easier time accomplishing goals
You'll build a stronger network through mutually beneficial relationships
You'll earn the respect of others
You'll be able to minimize miscommunication issues
Five things you can do to improve your social skills
Work on improving one social skill at a time. Anytime you have a task in front of you, breaking it down can make it more manageable. The same is true with improving your social skills. For example, if you struggle in groups, then working in a team environment might present a problem. Try going to events where there are lots of people, to get used to those situations.
Ask for feedback
You may feel that your social skills are up to par. However, that doesn't mean that others think the same thing. Asking someone you trust can open up a whole new world for you. The answers you receive can guide you on exactly which social skills you should improve upon.
Read books on social skills to get tips on what to do in which situations. You can also learn how to start conversations and get advice on best practices. There are even free classes that you can take on specific skills.
Set SMART goals
Decide which social skill you want to work on and set small goals to help you get to the finish line. SMART goals are perfect for this. For example, if you want to improve your written communication skills, you could set a goal to write 1,000 words per week in a journal.
It's easy to fall into a pattern of negative thinking. Unfortunately, negativity breeds negativity. This could set you up for failure. Anytime you have a negative thought cross your mind, “I'll never get 1,000 words written in one week,” replace it with a positive thought, “1,000 words isn't bad at all, especially if I do 200 per day.”
How do you showcase your social skills to prospective employers?
Think of the things you provide to a new company when you apply for a job. Without a doubt, you'll be sending in a resume. You may also be required to submit a cover letter, biography, and a link to your LinkedIn profile. After you've gotten through the qualifying stages, you could be invited to an interview. All of these present opportunities for you to showcase your social skills.
Since your resume is the first impression you'll make, it's the best place to let new companies know that you have the social skills they want. Your resume should contain a strong mix of hard and soft (i.e., social) skills.
Hard skills are things you that know how to do because of experience and education
Soft skills are personal traits that you possess that make you good at what you do
Read the job description to find which social skills the new employer wants and highlight them on your resume. For example, if the job description says that doing product demonstrations is important, that's a perfect opportunity for you to talk about your verbal communication skills.
Your cover letter and biography
Hiring managers are reading cover letters more today than in the past, making it a great place to show off your social skills. Again, pick a keyword or two from the job description and use space in your cover letter to discuss how well you perform. Since the cover letter allows you to be more loquacious, tell a short story related to a specific example from your career.
Your LinkedIn profile
In today's job market, your LinkedIn profile is arguably as important as your resume. As a career marketing tool, it's meant to complement your resume to give hiring managers a deeper peek into your career story. Use this opportunity to dive further into the “why” of your career and how you use great social skills to facilitate success.
During your interview
You know you can expect some behavioral interview questions during your interview. Those are the ones that start with, “Tell me about a time when…” Just like you did for your cover letter, think of a story you can tell. Discuss what was going on, what you did about the situation, and the result of your actions. Inject how you used social skills when telling your story.
In addition to telling a good story during your interview, practice those nonverbal social skills. Maintain eye contact, lean forward, and speak clearly. It's also a great time to demonstrate your abilities with active listening.
You know that hiring managers want staff members with good social skills, so now is the time to let them know that you possess what they seek. As we've discussed, that starts with your resume. Why not submit yours for a free resume review today, to make sure that it successfully conveys your social skills?