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Have You Considered Your Soft Skills Lately?

People that come to SI for school are here because they want to gain technical skills -- hard skills -- that will get them the job that they want. This goes for everyone -- librarians, archivist, social computers, information policy analyst. Everyone. So, when you leave SI to find your first real information job, or when you are in search of an internship, you know that just about everyone that you are competing against for a job or an internship has the same technical skills as you – because they are your classmates. So what makes you different? Your soft skills.

Have you even considered your soft skills lately? Does everyone even know what soft skills are? As a career counselor, I probably toss those words around too much because it’s my industry lingo. Soft skills are those “other? things that make you a good worker: communication, effectiveness, attention-to-detail, just general likeability. I found a couple websites that list soft skills:

What Are Soft Skills? by Kate Lorenz, CareerBuilder.com -- list top ten soft skills for managers
What Do Employers Really Want? Top Skills and Values Employers Seek from Job-Seekers by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D. and Katharine Hansen
6 'Soft' Skills You Need for Success by Rukmini Iyer

These articles will give you some ideas of what soft skills are out there -- think about which ones you possess -- and which ones you don't and could be working on when you are doing group projects or working at your internship this summer.

You can add different soft skills to your resume – both in a skills section or woven right into your responsibilities sections. Sometimes you will see them clearly listed in a job description as a requirement. When are you interviewing and you are asked the daunting question of "Why are you the best person for this position," it can be your soft skills -- and demonstrated examples of their use -- that gets you the job.

TechCareers.com also did an article on how you can your soft skills certified: Want To Keep Your Job Safe? Beef Up Your Soft Skills by Marianne Kolbasuk McGee. I don't think that it’s necessary to go that far right now (or maybe ever), but as you progress in your career, consider courses such as the ones suggested. It can keep you fresh and more productive, and every organization wants to hire and retain an employee that is vested in their own progression and success. ~Kelly

Posted by kkowatch at July 25, 2007 01:13 PM

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