Demonstrating specific job skills and classes you took in college should be at the top of your list for interview discussion points. Your potential employer wants to know to what level you are qualified for the job based on the knowledge you were able to retain from college. Along showcasing the knowledge you acquired during the past four years earning your undergraduate degree, other not-so-technical skills are important to display to your future employer. I’m referring to soft skills here, which are essential aspects of your personality that you should highlight during the interview.
Miriam Salpeter, U.S.News & World Report contributor, said, “Emotional intelligence, otherwise known as soft skills, is the category of skills most likely involved when evaluating likability or fit.” She believes that likability could be the determining factor for whether a completely qualified applicant gets the job over someone equally qualified who possesses that key factor.
Five of the major soft skills are work ethic, positive attitude, communication skills, time management and self-confidence. To make sure you incorporate your soft skills into your interview, Salpeter suggests the following tips:
- Work Ethic: Give examples of past situations where you “went above and beyond the call of duty to get the job done.” Tell them how you have never missed a deadline, or that you’ve had to work overtime until the task at hand was completed. Let them know that you have familiarized yourself with the company’s mission and values, and that you want to be a part of their success; whatever it takes to do so.
- Positive Attitude: It’s important to give off positive, upbeat energy, even if you’re not the bubbly type. Smiling, a cheerful tone of voice and laughter can all be signs to the interviewer that you could bring positivity to the workplace; nobody wants a negative Nancy around. Once, again give examples of how you have encouraged or motivated employees you have managed or worked with in the past.
- Communication skills: Practice and be prepared with verbal and written examples of your past work to show the employer that not only can you effectively portray your capabilities, but you have proof to back them up as well. Use your communication skills to sell yourself, and make them want to hire you.
- Time management: Allocating your time and energy to different tasks based on immediacy and importance is a skill highly valued. It’s crucial for employers to hear how you would get things done in a timely, efficient manner. Tell them how you have managed your time in past situations.
- Self-confidence: Many factors influence how employers view your level of confidence. From your handshake (it can’t be a wimpy one) to the way you dress, it’s important to make them think you are the best candidate for the position and you know it.
Communication Coach Brett Rutledge explains more about what is and isn’t a good handshake.