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Skills Employers Want!Hard & Soft SkillsJohn W. Deans Collaborative Learning Center1220 Coffeen StreetWatertown, New York 13601(315) 786-2288 Office(315) 786-6574 FaxDirector, Michele Gefell, MS CounselingCareer Advisor, Samantha Park, MS Student ndecided

TABLE OF CONTENTSDefining Your Skills . 3Hard Skills . . . 4Soft Skills . . . 4Nine Essential Skill Sets . 5Skills Checklist 72

Defining Your SkillsSometimes it is difficult to find the words to identify our skills. When we write a resume, forexample, we try to recall a specific skill we possess and it takes time to put those skills onpaper in the appropriate words.The attached information can help you identify specific skill sets. You probably possess mostof these skills but you just don’t realize it. If you find that you are lacking any of these skills,take some time to refine the skills you do have, and work to develop the skills that you need.All of these skills will be useful to you throughout your life.For the purpose of this booklet, most of these skills you will read about are defined as “Hard”or “Soft” Skills. You will, however, hear these skills referred to in other ways as well.3

What Do Employers Want? Employers are looking to find someone who will help them grow their company, and increaseover-all success of the organization. Hiring is a time-intensive and costly endeavor for a company. Don’t forget, they have a needthey are trying to fill through the hiring process. Companies do not want to hire unless it is something they must do. Someone is taking thetime out of their schedule to look through applications and conduct interviews. New employees must be trained and oriented to the company. This all takes time and moneybefore employees can start giving back to the company. All of this is done because companies believe that you will help them become more profitable. The best way an employer can determine your ability to help their company is by looking atyour hard and soft skills.4

Hard Skills Hard skills are learnable. Hard skills are generally listed in the job postings or job descriptions. Hard skills are closely associated with a specific program of study (major) or careerfield; so often hard skills are referred to as “Discipline Related” or “Content Specific”skills. They are the Technical Skills necessary for success in the workplace. Such aspharmacy skills, biology skills, architecture skills, computer skills, math skills,therapeutic skills, teaching skills, graphic design skills, etc . . . Hard skills are often learned in schools and from books. A nursing student learns howto give a shot to a patient, an architect learns to draw building plans, a therapist learnshow to counsel patients. They may be easy to observe, quantify, and measure. Typically, there is a direct path asto how one would excel at each hard skill. A person may take accounting courses, thentake advanced accounting courses, then work to get experience, then take an exam tobecome a CPA. Hard skills are often consistent regardless of which company you work for, whatcircumstances you may be in, or who you work with.Soft Skills Soft skills are not closely associated with a specific program of study (major) or career field.They are applicable to all workplaces or careers, and can “transfer” across all disciplines; sooften soft skills are referred to as transferable skills. They are the Non-Technical Skills necessary for success in the workplace. Such asinterpersonal skills, human relations skills, social skills, organizational management skills, timemanagement skills critical thinking skills, problem solving skills, etc. . . Soft skills may be referred to as “transferable” skills. They are more of your “people” skills. Where rules change depending on the company cultureor the people you work with. Soft skills are hard to observe, quantify, or measure. They are typically associated withbehaviors and personality traits of an individual.5

Nine Essential Skill SetsThere are typically nine clusters of skills that are recognized as essential in a variety of careers.Communication Skills: ability to.I.A.B.C.D.E.F.G.H.listen with objectivity and paraphrase the content of a messageuse various forms and styles of written communicationspeak effectively to individuals and groupsuse media formats to present ideas imaginativelyexpress one’s needs, wants, opinions and preferences without offending thesensitivities of othersidentify and communicate value judgments effectivelydescribe objects or events with a minimum of factual errorsconvey a positive self-image to othersII.Design and Planning Skills: ability to.III.A.identify alternative courses of actionB.set realistic goalsC.follow through with a plan or decisionD.manage time effectivelyE.predict future trends and patternsF.accommodate multiple demands for commitment of time, energy, and resourcesG.assess needsHmake and keep a scheduleI.set prioritiesResearch and Investigation Skills: ability to.A.B.C.D.E.F.IV.use a variety of sources of informationapply a variety of methods to test the validity of dataidentify problems and needsdesign an experiment, plan or model that systematically defines a problemidentify information sources appropriate to special needs or problemsformulate questions relevant to clarifying a particular problem, topic or issueInformation Management Skills: ability to.A.B.C.D.E.F.sort data and objectscompile and rank informationapply information creatively to specific problems or taskssynthesize facts, concepts and principlesunderstand and use organizing principlesevaluate information against appropriate standards6

V.Human Relations and Interpersonal Skills: ability to.A.B.C.D.E.F.G.H.I.J.K.L.M.VI.Critical Thinking Skills: ability to.A.B.C.D.E.F.G.H.I.VII.identify quickly and accurately the critical issues when making adecision or solving a problemidentify a general principle that explains inter-related experiences or factual datadefine the parameters of a problemidentify reasonable criteria for assessing the value or appropriateness of an action orbehavioradapt one’s concepts and behavior to changing conventions and normsapply appropriate criteria to strategies and action planstake given premises and reason to their conclusioncreate innovative solutions to complex problemsanalyze the interrelationships of events and ideas from several perspectivesManagement and Administration Skills: ability to.A.B.C.D.E.F.VIII.keep a group “on track” and moving toward the achievement of a common goalmaintain group cooperation and supportdelegate tasks and responsibilitiesinteract effectively with peers, superiors, and subordinatesexpress one’s feelings appropriatelyunderstand the feelings of othersuse argumentation techniques to persuade othersmake commitments to peoplebe willing to take risksteach a skill, concept or principle to othersanalyze behavior of self and others in group situationsdemonstrate effective social behavior in a variety of settings and under differentcircumstanceswork under time and environmental pressuresanalyze tasksidentify people who can contribute to the solution of a problem or taskidentify resource materials useful in the solution of a problemdelegate responsibility for completion of a taskmotivate and lead peopleorganize people and tasks to achieve specific goalsValuing Skills: ability to.A.B.C.D.E.assess a course of action in terms of its long-range effects on the general humanwelfaremake decisions that will maximize both individual and collective goodappreciate the contributions of art, literature, science, and technology to contemporarysocietyidentify one’s own valuesassess one’s values in relation to important life decisions7

IX.Personal/Career Development Skills: ability to.A.B.C.D.E.F.G.H.I.J.K.L.M.N.analyze, and learn from life experiences--both one’s own and others’relate the skills developed in one’s environment (e.g., school) to the requirements ofanother environment (e.g., work)match knowledge about one’s own characteristics and abilities to information about jobor career opportunitiesidentify, describe, and assess the relative importance of one’s needs, values, interests,strengths, and weaknessesdevelop personal growth goals that are motivatingidentify and describe skills acquired through formal education and general lifeexperienceidentify one’s own strengths and weaknessesaccept and learn from negative criticismpersist with a project when faced with failure unless it is clear that the project cannot becarried out or is not worth the time or effort needed to complete itrecognize when a project cannot be carried out or is not worth the time or effort requiredto complete itgenerate trust and confidence of one’s actionstake risksaccept the consequences of one’s actions“market” oneself to prospective employersSkills ChecklistNo one has these skills to the extent that he or she is completely satisfied. Most people will findthemselves highly competent in some areas, and not as competent in others.This list is intended to be used as a tool for use in recognition of stages of development.Rate yourself on this scale (1 is low, 10 is high) then discuss this list.Rating (Circle One)LowHigh1.Effectively communicate (i.e. clearly explains)both orally and in writing).1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 102.Demonstrate an ability to think critically(i.e., plans ahead carefully to includepossible changes, makes necessary decisions).1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 103.Demonstrate problem-solving skills(i.e., recognizes possible problems in a situation,begins to work them out in planning).1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 108

4.Demonstrate an ability to make decisions(i.e., does things without constantly being told).1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10Rating (Circle One)LowHigh5.Shows capacity to grow by dealing maturely withnew experiences (i.e., looks forward to newexperiences or responsibilities).1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 106.Express personal opinions in a constructiveand informational manner (i.e., have skills forparticipation in discussion).1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 107.Demonstrate leadership skills (i.e., takes charge,develops ideas, chooses the right people to getthe job done).1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 108.Is responsible and dependable (i.e., shows up ontime to get the job done).1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 109.Get along well with others (i.e., gets along wellwith fellow workers).1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1010.Reflect self-confidence ( i.e., volunteers for newassignments, makes decisions easily).1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011.Understand the environment ( i.e., knowsabout social, cultural, physical, and biologicalfactors in human life).1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1012.Demonstrate an awareness of creativecontributions of our and other cultures(i.e., is acquainted with literature, art, music,and with other races and religions).1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10Hard skills will get you an interview,soft skills will help you get—and keep—the job.9

management skills critical thinking skills, problem solving skills, etc. . . Soft skills may be referred to as “transferable” skills. They are more of your “people” skills. Where rules change depending on the company culture or the people you work with. Soft