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How to Uncover the Hidden Soft Skills You Already Own

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white background with blue text with the image of a person drawing a womans face in charcoal with the heading "The Intangibles: How to Show off Skills Employers Might Usually Miss"

They go by many names. Sometimes, they’re dubbed “intangibles.” Others like to call them “soft skills.” We just see them as part of what makes you a more well-rounded candidate than anybody else up for the job. One of the most important things you can show off to potential employers are these skills and traits that prove that you’re more than just qualified on paper, but you can bring a whole different kind of spark to any organization.

In LinkedIn’s list of the most desired soft skills of 2020, we can see a list that features something just about any candidate should already have under their belt. They might just not know it yet. These skills range from intangibles like creativity, all the way to collaboration and adaptability. The very first thing you can do is identify these soft skills within yourself so you can highlight them come interview or application time.

Are you worried about that gap in your resume? Well, start thinking about all of the real-life accomplishments that occurred within that time. That “gap” might actually be an opportunity to promote the unbelievably-necessary soft skill of adaptability. During that period, you maybe worked on finding ways to be more proactive and go after every opportunity that came your way. Or maybe you took that time to upskill and learn something new and just there alone you’ve got everything you need to showcase your ability to manage stressful situations or your drive as a self-starter.

What about a soft skill like collaboration or even mediating conflict? It may seem like you’d need very specific examples from a previous job, but there are plenty of life events that give you the same experience. A mother works harder than any office worker on these exact skills every single day and sharpens those skills actively, so be proud to highlight that. 

Sometimes, these skills are sitting right beneath your nose. They’re absolutely essential qualities that every employer looks for and chances are, you practice them and show them off every day. If you’re someone who has been out juggling multiple jobs and school, you’ve already got true attention to detail and organizational skills that the company you’re interested in would love to hear about. Especially when it comes time for the interview.

Speaking of the interview, this is probably the most important stage you have for pointing employers towards the intangibles that set you apart from the pack. Whether you’re trying to stand out amongst other candidates who have the same skills as you, or trying to prove value despite not having as much traditional experience as the position calls for, your ability to demonstrate these intangibles comes to life during the interview. The employer will be looking for any sign that you’ve got something else up your sleeve. Prove this to them by using the skills you’ve listed out and worked on above and detail more than how you use them every day, but how they’ll come in to play at your new position.

Go further during the interview and actively shine the spotlight on your intangibles. It’s easy to be enthusiastic without going too far. Set the tone as an engaged, excited candidate that has a real passion for this position and let that come through your conversation. Another important intangible you can promote during this process is your value as a problem-solver, be ready with specific examples of times you’ve worked through something difficult, professionally or personally, that will translate to this role. Sprinkle in details of your leadership qualities and your ability to collaborate comfortably, and you’ll be able to walk away from the interview knowing that you gave them a lot more than just a resume to consider.

For the employer of today, they’re looking for candidates who may look good on paper, but really come to life in person. By putting an emphasis on the development and portrayal of intangibles, you may find that you unlock more opportunities in the process. You’re so much more than what your resume says, and you should be proud to show that off.