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Soft Skills Can Make or Break You

Soft skills are defined as personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people. So how are these skills going to help you land a job or even a promotion? Let's find out!

Creativity.  Collaboration.  Adaptability.

These are just three of the soft skills employers are looking for and showing you have them could be the difference between whether get the job or not. LinkedIn Learning created a list of the top soft skills employers find most valuable. Rounding out the top five are persuasion and time management.


When you think of ‘creative’ people usually artists, musicians or authors come to mind. But you can be creative in business as well. Think about how most people can be taught how to do a job. A creative person, however, looks at how to do the job better, perhaps in a way that has not been tried yet. A good example is the number of apps that are available to do so many things. For example, it took a creative person to say, what if we made an app so it would be easier for people to track what they eat? Seeing a need and figuring out a better way to meet the need is creativity at its best. Stefan Mumaw, author of six books on creativity, says creativity can be learned, just like any other skill. So if you are looking for ways to increase your creativity, you can try Mumaw’s Creativity Bootcamp training session.  Or you can just begin to think about innovative and better ways to do the same things you have been doing, challenging your mind to find a more “creative” solution.


Working and using their soft skills

Once you have got a creative solution to a problem the next challenge is persuading others to go along with it. We are not talking about manipulation or tricking someone. True persuasion is presenting yourself in a credible way and convincing others through your communication and explanations to adopt your idea or solution. It also means listening attentively to any objections and having already thought through them, so you have an answer that overcomes them. Persuasion is seen most effectively in sales jobs, but it is an important skill to have and use with co-workers, bosses and subordinates, and in work teams in general. Persuasion is also used in negotiations and when resolving conflicts. Getting people to agree on a compromise is nothing but persuasion. It is also useful when you are trying to land a job, persuading the hiring manager that you are the best person to meet their need. Udemy.com, an online training website, has a number of persuasion courses for affordable prices.


Collaboration is the ability to work effectively with others to accomplish a goal. Some refer to it as teamwork, but it is more involved than just being a bunch of individuals on the same ‘team.’ Collaboration is the ability to work collectively, without someone who can step in and address disagreements. Collaboration requires participants to respect each other because they are all equal partners in the effort. They must respect the opinions of others in the group and engage in negotiations – or give and take – to come to consensus on what must be done, and how.


Adaptability, or flexibility, is also a key soft skill, especially in today’s rapidly changing world. Adaptability is being able to change yourself or the way you do something in order to address a new environment. This means you should be able to see what is happening or changing and accommodate it.  Basically, adjusting to situations, not being resistant to changes, and being open to new ideas. It is also thinking of a new approach as circumstances change and the “old” way of doing things no longer apply. A good example of adaptability is how companies started to use social media to engage with their customers as the use of platforms like Twitter and Facebook grew.

Time Management

Time Management is the ability to make the best use of your workday. In other words, managing your tasks in way that helps you be the most productive without missing deadlines. This requires you to be organized, know how long it actually takes you to complete a task, and not getting side-tracked by things which would prevent you from finishing. It also means being able to prioritize your daily tasks so that the most important are completed first. Another aspect of time management is being able to find the simplest and quickest way to correctly complete a task. Employees with good time management skills are able to complete more tasks in less time and have better quality work. This helps the employer make more revenue and makes the employee more valuable.


Practice is not a soft skill, but it is necessary if you want to hone your soft skills. Just like you practice your hard skills – staying up to date with the latest developments in your field, or for example, practicing your typing skills in order to get faster – you need to practice your soft skills so that you get better. Practice also results in plenty of examples you can use when you are interviewing for a position or applying for a promotion. And if you do any training classes on these or other soft skills you should list them on your resume.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Re-Entering the Workforce, Preparing for an Interview, Gaining Experience, Resume, Changing Jobs, Being a Great Employee, Training, Interviewing