You get where people are coming fromAfrica-Studio/Shutterstock
Congrats! You’ve earned your diploma and think you’re ready to land your dream job—but first, you need soft skills. Although you might have the technical know-how, or “hard skills,” to do the job, your future employer might be looking for something more. One survey showed that job candidates rated themselves higher than employers did on whether they had the skills necessary to do the job. So what are soft skills? They’re people skills that can’t be quantified, like communication. But “communication” doesn’t mean just having a nice phone voice—it means being perceptive and understanding of others’ motives. “I always say, ‘The best way to get what you want is to figure out why someone else wants you to have it,'” says career expert Michelle Tillis Ledermen, founder of Executive Essentials and author of The 11 Laws of Likability. “In other words, seek to understand their motivation. When you do, you can present your ideas, request, or any communication through that lens.”
This year’s survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) found that 78 percent of employers seek candidates who can work in a team, making it the most desired skill. (Avoid the simple email habit that could ruin trust with your coworkers.) To do so, you’ll need your coworkers to find you open, available, empathetic, and relatable. If you’re closed off, you will put people on the defensive, which makes it harder to work together and have your ideas accepted. Lederman says one of the “pillars of trust” in a work environment is authenticity. “You can’t connect with and trust someone who isn’t being real,” she says. Another is vulnerability. “This is not about being weak, it is about being open and sharing imperfections for others to learn from,” she says. If your colleagues can relate to you and feel they can trust you, they’re likely to be amenable in turn.