It is never too soon to start thinking about your next career move. What skills can you offer an employer whether you are getting a job for the first time, changing careers or looking for advancement? To get and keep a job, you typically need a repertoire of technical or hard skills. For example, if you were a carpenter, you would need to have experience with tools like screwdrivers, power saws, levels, plus many more. Perhaps you would need experience with project management or computer aided design software. What about the soft skills? Carpenters also need to be detail oriented, critical thinkers and great communicators. Those skills, also known as foundational skills, are equally as important to employers looking to fill their positions. Figuring out the hard skills needed can sometimes be easier as they are key components of occupational training. Soft skills can be a little trickier to pin down, as they are considered life skills learned through experience. So what are the soft skills that employers are looking for?
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity conducted a statewide Skills Gap and Job Vacancy Survey of approximately 54,000 employers statewide. Employers were asked to share information regarding current and recent vacancies including any gaps in the skills they were seeking from applicants to fill their openings. If there were gaps, employers were asked to explain whether applicants were lacking any soft (foundational) or hard (technical) skills. Per the results of the study, the soft skills that employers need across all occupations include communication, reliability and time management, leadership and problem solving.
So how does this study apply to you? You have won half the battle if you have the technical skills to meet the requirements of a job. You still need to make sure that your soft skills are up to par, as they equally play an important role in the workplace. Having well developed soft skills will help you work better with others and lead to enhanced creativity, efficiency and productivity. Everything that employers need to improve their bottom line, which is their ultimate goal!
So the question remains…do you have the soft skills employers need? If not, consider volunteering or perhaps taking a few online courses. Standing out from the competition requires a strategy to make sure your job search ends with the right opportunity. Ensure that you have the desired skillset to get the job you want so that you can keep it and advance along a career path!
Source: Skills Gaps and Job Vacancies in Florida 2018