Tag Archives: soft skills

Poll Results: What’s Your Workplace Superpower

Faster than a speeding copier? More powerful than an industrial strength forklift?  Able to leap heaps of paperwork in a single bound?

achieverAlthough generally peaceful, the workplace can sometimes be a scary place, with looming deadlines, frustrated clients, and surprise project attacks lurking behind every corner. Your to-do list can seem overwhelming. Who could possibly save us from these sundry evils of working life? Our incredible Movin’ On Up readers, of course!  At the end of February we asked you what your workplace superpowers were. Here’s how you responded:

Daringly Dependable flew into first with 27.72% of the vote, with Heroically Hardworking teleporting in second at 24.75%, and Multitask Mastermind speeding past in third with 21.78%.

Commander of Communication was zapped at 8.91%, while Organization Overlord and Killer Conversationalist met their match at 6.93%.

Other responses included Flexible Gap Filler and Eagle Eye. One dastardly villain thought to respond with Sleeping on the Job — most certainly a foe disguised as a faithful reader.

Even with all of these incredible superpowers, there are still going to be days where it’s tough to be a crusader of office justice. But when you’re lost and feeling down, remember that you’re part of a team. And teamwork is the most powerful superpower of all.

Any more workplace superpowers you want us to know about? Let us know in the comments below!

Millennial Monday: Soft Skills and Generational Differences

Millennial Monday LogoExpress Employment Professionals recently teamed up with the School of Media and Strategic Communications at Oklahoma State University (OSU) in Stillwater, OK, to conduct research about Millennials and their attitudes toward the American Dream. Also known as “Gen Y,” Millennials were born between 1979 and 1995 and currently make up 30% of the population. As they enter the workforce and establish career paths, it’s important to understand the motives and desires behind this robust generation. To help you get to know “Gen Y,” Movin’ On Up is bringing you an eight-week series titled “Millennial Monday.”

In this week’s installment of “Millennial Monday,” Express and OSU students surveyed Millennials, the majority of whom are working full or part time, to examine whether or not there is a soft skills gap between generations.

Generations in the Workforce
There’s no denying that the current workplace features multiple generations of employers and employees. As the Baby Boomer generation looks toward retirement, Generation Xers continue on their career paths, and Millennials enter the workforce, many different age groups are brought together. In fact, according to our survey, the majority of Millennials (57%) work with people outside of their age group.

Communication Among Generations
When asked how they best communicate with older generations, Millennials responded:

  • In person – 71%
  • By phone – 15%
  • Via email or computer chat – 13%

The Importance of Soft Skills
When it comes to the most important business etiquette and expectations in the workplace, Millennials and Non-Millennials tend to disagree. For Millennials, the top three skills are:

  1. Respect of authority
  2. Punctuality and timeliness
  3. Handshake and eye contact

For Non-Millennials, however, the top three skills are:

  1. Punctuality and timeliness
  2. Handshake and eye contact
  3. Mature vocabulary

While Millennials ranked “mature vocabulary” fifth out of six skills, Non-Millennials ranked it third. Likewise, “respect of authority” was number one for Millennials, but fifth for Non-Millennials.

More Workplace Skills
Other soft skills evaluated in the study include eye contact, professional attire, and the ability to seek out creative inspiration. Of the Millennial respondents, 93% feel comfortable with eye contact, and the majority (70%) would prefer to wear business casual attire in the workplace. The top five sources for Millennial’s creative inspiration are:

  • Art – 30%
  • Books – 23%
  • Nature – 12%
  • Spirituality – 12%
  • The internet – 11%

What skills do you think your generation has to offer the workforce? What skills do you think your generation lacks? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Keep checking Movin’ On Up every Monday for more insight on this important generation.

Miss a week? Click the links below to check out previous topics in our series.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

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The Top Skill Employers Want May Surprise You

interview_showdown_webIn a recent survey from Express Employment Professionals, employers shared which soft and hard skills are the most important for a job applicant to possess.

When asked, “What are the five most important soft skills an applicant should have,” respondents answered:

  • Dependability/reliability – 72%
  • Motivation – 48%
  • Verbal communication – 44%
  • Teamwork – 39%
  • Commitment – 39%

When asked, “What are the three most important hard skills an applicant should have,” respondents answered:

  • Experience – 95%
  • Technical ability – 67%
  • Training – 60%

The fact that employers find experience important when it comes to picking a job candidate isn’t too surprising, but did you know that reliability mattered so much to potential employers? Dependability, punctuality, and trustworthiness are important skills you should possess if you want to stand out from the competition and land the job.

Demonstrate Your Dependability
Because resumes and cover letters are important parts of your job search process, make sure your resume illustrates your dependability as much as possible. If you worked at the same place for a long time, put that on your resume. And, use words like consistent, diligent, reliable, and persistent to show off your skills.

To get started on the right foot, make sure you show up to your interview on time. When you’re in an interview, give examples of times you went above and beyond your job duties to help someone else, and think of times when people relied on you.

How do you show your dependability in the workplace or in your job search? Let us know in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

The Skills Employers Wish You Had

ThinkstockPhotos-487834398Finding the right person for the job is a task employers often struggle with. In addition to experience and education, top candidates must also possess certain skills that are right for the job. You may be familiar with important hard skills like a college degree or certification, but how often do you assess and improve your soft skills like communication, teamwork, and time management?

If “not often” is your answer, you may want to reconsider your job search tactics. In fact, in a recent study from Express Employment Professionals, a group of leaders shared the soft skills that society is missing when it comes to preparing the next generation for the workplace.

“We hear all the time from businesses that they’re looking for workers who are punctual, respectful, properly dressed, and dedicated. Employers prize these soft skills, but we constantly hear from employers that too many potential workers lack these attributes,” said Bob Funk, CEO of Express. “Soft skills are vital and there are things we can all do to help develop them.”

The study revealed that the skills employers are looking for include people skills, respect, modesty, humility, self-sufficiency, gratitude, and more. While these skills may come naturally to some, the study suggests there are actions job seekers can take to learn these skills and teach them to others.

To better understand the soft skills employers are looking for, check out the study’s list of ten actions you can take to help prepare those who are about to enter the workforce.

“The results show what everyone in society can do to send signals, especially to young people, so they develop strong soft skills that will guide them in life – and help them get job offers,” Bob Funk said.

What do you think society can do to better prepare workers to be prime job candidates? Share with us in the comment section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

The #1 Soft Skill Every Job Seeker Should Have

softskills_Sept2014_webWhen employers evaluate potential employees they look at two different skills sets – the applicant’s hard skills and the applicant’s soft skills. The hard skills you possess are skills you’ve acquired through education and experience, skills like your ability to operate a machine or a computer, for example. The second set of skills employers look at is your soft skills.

Soft skills include skills like how well you communicate with others or how well you manage your time. They are generally considered more subjective but are equally, if not more important, than the hard skills you have.

Every time you communicate with a potential employer whether it’s through your cover letter, resume, during the interview, or in your follow up, you are revealing some of your soft skills. But which ones help you stand out from other applicants?

The Top Five Soft Skills
In a recent survey of 115 Express franchises across the nation, Express found that the top five most important soft skills employers look for are:

  1. Dependability
  2. Communication
  3. Commitment
  4. Motivation
  5. Initiative

For the second year in a row, dependability was considered the most important soft skill to have.  Employers need to put a lot of trust in their employees, so they need people they can count on no matter what. You can teach people hard skills, but soft skills like dependability have more to do with who you are (your character) than what you know.

Demonstrating Your Dependability to Potential Employers
If dependability is the top soft skill employers are looking for, then it’s important to make sure you exhibit your reliability during the application and interview process. Here are some ways to do just that:

1. Update Your Resume and Cover Letter
Because resumes and cover letters are an important part of getting an interview it’s very important to ensure your resume illustrates your dependability as much as possible. Employers will look for signs of your dependability like the time spent at each job and the projects you were tasked with. You can emphasize your dependability in your resume and cover letter by using words like consistent, diligent, reliable, persistent, and improved.

2. Give Examples During Your Interview
If you go on to an interview, be sure to have some examples prepared of times that you went above and beyond the call of duty at work.  Whether you helped a coworker out or solved a problem for the company, think of times when your past employers relied on you and be prepared to share those examples in your interview.

It’s also important to remember that dependability isn’t just about what you do in difficult or big situations. It’s about what you do in the everyday, small things that matters most, like showing up to work early every day. With that in mind, remember that it’s so important to show up to your interview on time because that too will be a demonstration of your dependability to an employer.

If an employer asks you when you’d be available to work and you’re currently employed at another company, be sure to let them know that out of respect, you want to give your current company the standard two week notice. They would want the same courtesy shown to them if the tables were turned, so this is just another way you can demonstrate your reliability.

If they ask you not to share information about their interview process for privacy or security reasons, as tempting as it may be to talk about it with your friends and family, be sure to respect their wishes and keep it to yourself. You never know how it could get back to someone if you’re not careful. The more trustworthy you are in the small things, the more trustworthy you will be in the big things.

3. Your Follow Up
After the interview, if you were assigned a task or project to submit as an example of your work, be sure to complete it as soon as possible and get it back to the perspective employer on time. This is an important opportunity to display your hard and soft skills at the same time.

These are just a few of the ways you can demonstrate your dependability to an employer. Share some of the ways you demonstrate your dependability in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Soft Skills Can Make or Break Your Career

Soft Skills Make or Break CareersAfter working so hard to get that new job, have you ever felt that little voice in your head tell you to take it easy and check out because the hard part is over? Sometimes, it’s your intangible skills that determine whether you get the job, keep your job, or get promoted.

In the book “The Hard Truth About Soft Skills” by Peggy Klaus, 358 randomly selected Johnson and Johnson managers were surveyed on their work performance. The best performing ones possessed significantly higher levels of self-awareness, self-management capability, social skills, and organizational savvy.

You may have all of the necessary qualifications for a job, but what can make or break your chances are skills you can’t learn in school or from training. Find out how Michael’s soft skill of discipline plays out when tempted to procrastinate at his new job.

5 Qualities That Make Hiring Managers Say “WOW!”

Wow_march2012_webWhen you go in for an interview, what will set you apart from your competition? Odds are, the other hopefuls interviewing for the position have as much, if not more, experience than you. How can you impress recruiters and prove to them that you are the right person for the job?

They want to see if you’re the right fit for the company. They’re looking between the lines of your résumé for what you have beyond your work experience. To really make a good impression, you should project certain qualities that will make you a more desirable candidate. What qualities are they, you ask? Well, here are five of them that can make a recruiter or interviewer say “Wow!”

Passion

There are countless books, websites, and seminars about the best kinds of answers to interview questions. Job seekers are asked these questions to see if they have the ability to answer them competently. But, they’re also looking for something more. Many hiring managers want to see passion for their company, the position, and the industry. They want to know why candidates are truly excited about the opportunity, rather than viewing it as just another job interview. The truly passionate candidates are not only likely to excel in their role, but will also remain involved in their responsibilities and motivate those around them.

Professionalism

Being professional is something that is hard to teach. It’s a mixture of motivation, presence, and hard and soft skills. To be professional, you have to project an image that you are actively listening to what recruiters are saying and take interest in the job.

Preparation

You can really stand out among your competition when you do your homework. If you can demonstrate your interest in an employer and the issues they’re facing while showcasing your research skills, you can leave a lasting impression on hiring managers. Take the time to research and get to know the recruiter and interviewer, and you’ll find a quicker connection and develop a stronger rapport.

Poise

Confidence is a key component in every aspect of your job search. When networking or interviewing, it’s important to exhibit knowledge, modesty, openness, gratitude, and skilled verbal and written communication. Recruiters should be able to see that you can take tasks, jobs, or projects given to you and run with them. Prove that you are proactive and can handle the job requirements through your handshake, body posture, and communication skills.

Providing Humor

The hiring process can be a long and often trying process. Recruiters and hiring managers listen to the same pre-prepared answers from candidate after candidate. A job seeker with professionalism and a sense of humor lightens the atmosphere, but be careful if now you decide to use humor when talking to hiring managers. If humor isn’t a part of your everyday personality, think twice before taking it too far in an interview. If it doesn’t come naturally, there’s a bigger chance that it can backfire. You don’t have to crack jokes, but you can bring a light-hearted and happy attitude that can brighten the mood when talking to recruiters.

There are a lot of different things employers look for in a new hire. On top of work history, job experience, and specific skill sets, there are other traits that can help propel job candidates above the large number of job seekers vying for the same job. If you excel at any one of these five qualities, use it to your advantage. It could make the difference between silence and a call back. What are some ways you have shown one of the five traits when interviewing with an employer?