It’s a given that someone applying for a web development job will need to know programming languages, that a graphic designer needs art skills, or a cybersecurity specialist should be able to monitor network activity. In addition to hard skills, though, are the soft skills that are also imperative for tech roles — and these are what can separate good job candidates from exceptional ones. Below, we’ve outlined five non-technical traits that help you stand out to potential employers, as well as how to highlight them during the application and interview process.
In your new job, there’s a high probability that you’ll have to interact with others. Having good interpersonal skills and a high level of emotional intelligence will not only enable you to have positive relationships with your coworkers. It will also benefit your work output, as you will be able to put yourself in the shoes of your users or clients in order to create useful systems, cooperate with your team on projects, and have a better understanding of motivations and goals.
How to highlight this skill: mention the company’s mission statement and how it relates to your own values. Show off your ability to be introspective by being honest about knowledge or skill gaps and how you plan to grow and fill these gaps in.
Employers are looking for people who not only have great ideas and problem-solving skills, but who can also effectively communicate them to the rest of the team. After all, it’s difficult to benefit from creative decisions if you’re unable to share your thoughts. Conveying things in an articulate and easy-to-understand manner makes things much easier both for you and the people you work with — and it helps to strengthen your competence on the job.
How to highlight this skill: be sure to proofread your resume multiple times, and even have someone give it a second pair of eyes. Practice active listening, and go through interview questions in the mirror or with someone else so that you can be comfortable articulating your thoughts.
Tech is a constantly-changing field, so it’s important to be able to adapt along with it. New programs and coding languages will be created, curveballs will be thrown that will require you to change your strategy suddenly, or you may have to learn a new platform to work with. You might find yourself having to work remotely for the foreseeable future when you’re used to working in an office, or vice versa. No matter what comes up, your employer will want people on the team who are flexible and able to get their work done even with new, unexpected situations.
How to highlight this skill: when was a time in your previous job where you had to adapt? Did you have to figure out how to use a just-added tool, did the company’s strategy change, causing the trajectory of your own work to shift? Discuss any times when you learned something new or made adjustments in the face of different circumstances.
While working in tech, bugs will happen, problems will arise, and old structures will need to be innovated. And oftentimes, when it comes to approaching these, it pays to think outside the box. The ability to think creatively is a key factor for growth, and employers want people on their team who can help drive the business forward, rather than just being stuck doing the same things they (and everyone else) have always been doing.
How to highlight this skill: talk about a time when you approached a project innovatively, or when you used a unique solution to approach an issue. Did you come up with a new campaign strategy? Did you come up with an engaging design for the user experience on your website? Maybe you even thought of a fun, inventive team-building exercise. There are many ways to work creativity into your job, no matter the field.
Attention to detail
In any role, attention to detail is a key factor to success. One mistype could result in system errors or incorrect data, and even small mistakes might snowball into larger issues. Paying close attention to your work will allow you to catch potential errors and keep things clean and accurate — and ultimately, will enable you to shine in your position as you contribute to the company’s development.
How to highlight this skill: once again, proofreading your application is a great opportunity to showcase your attention to detail. Make sure there are no typos or formatting issues. Research the company (including its mission, output, and recent news) so that you can demonstrate to the interviewer that you’ll put in effort to gain a thorough understanding of things.
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