Soft Skills ChecklistFive Major Soft Skills Categories:What are Soft Skills? Non-technical skillscommon to every job. Workplace basics every employeemust have to remain employable. The number one thing employersare looking for in job applicants. What employers most often sayis lacking in the applicant pool.Dependability I show up on time.Why it’s importantCustomers expect someone will beready to help them when the doorsopen. If other workers depend onyou getting your work done, beinglate prevents them from doing theirjob. When running late, let your bossknow as soon as possible.How to demonstrate this skillGet to class on time. Arrive earlyto appointments. If you have a job,be on time every day. If you arehabitually late, make adjustmentslike getting up earlier, finding reliabletransportation, in sick unless II’mdon’tactually sick.Why it’s importantFaking sick days can be groundsfor dismissal. Save sick leave forthose times that you really need it.But if you are sick, don’t spread itaround the office. Stay home andcontact your employer as soon aspossible.Workplace Basics - All about professionalism and dependability.Attitude - Do you make clients feel welcome, or uncomfortable?Communication - Do you listen? Ask questions? Speak and writeclearly?Teamwork - Can you take and give criticism gracefully? Resolveinterpersonal conflicts?Problem Solving - Can you apply critical thinking to a situation anddevise creative solutions?Meeting Deadlines I meet my deadlines.Why it’s importantMany deadlines are not negotiableand can cause serious problems ifthey are not met.How to demonstrate this skillTurn your homework in on time.Plan ahead and prioritize your work.I can’t meet a deadline, IfI tellmy boss ASAP.Why it’s importantSometimes deadlines can’t bemet for reasons you can’t control.Immediately tell your supervisorabout any issues preventing you frommeeting a deadline so they can reprioritize or address issues outsideof your authority. I can prioritize tasks.Why it’s importantArranging tasks in order of urgencyand importance helps you meetdeadlines. Consult your supervisor Ifyou don’t know what takes priority.How to demonstrate this skillBreak down class projects intosmaller tasks, estimate the timerequired for each, and readjust.36Customer Servicego out of my way to Ihelpcustomers getjust what they want.Why it’s importantA friendly and professionalexperience keeps customers comingback. If customers are not happy, thebusiness will not be profitable.remain calm and Iprofessional,evenwhen the client is not.Why it’s importantEscalating the situation by raisingyour voice or arguing will only loseyou a customer. Staying calm anddoing your best to meet a client’sneeds is the best way to diffusea tense situation. Involve yoursupervisor if a request goes beyondwhat you are authorized to provide.time to really listen Itotakecustomers to understandwhat they want.Why it’s importantIf a customer complains, listen tothem. Find out what the issue reallyis. It’s seldom personal. They justwant their needs met.MONTANA CAREER GUIDE 2016

Soft Skills ChecklistPeople Skillstreat my boss and Icoworkerswith respect.Why it’s importantNothing poisons a workplace likeemployees who don’t get along. Yourboss’s authority should be respected.They are directly responsible for yourcontinued employment. Getting alongwith your coworkers is essentialfor success, so learn to deal with abroad range of personality types.Learn your company’s policies forhandling disagreements. Use theprocess when necessary, but notvindictively.How to demonstrate this skillTreat your parents, teachers, andpeers eager to learn and to Imeetnew challenges. I dress appropriately.Why it’s importantDress according to the standardsset by the business. Jeans and workshirts are appropriate for a job in agarden center, but not for a bank.Find out about the dress code beforeyour first day of work.language Iforusetheappropriateworkplace.Why it’s importantFoul or insensitive language canmake your coworkers uncomfortableworking around you. It creates ahostile work environment.practice good Ipersonalhygiene.Why it’s importantCustomers prefer clean, wellgroomed employees. Good hygienemakes it easier for coworkers to worknear you. Many people are sensitiveto perfumes and colognes, so avoidwearing fragrances to work.How to demonstrate this skillBathe daily. Be mindful of yourappearance. Apply make-up and hairproducts with restraint.How to demonstrate this skillAvoid disparaging anyone’s race,age, gender, religion, disability, etc.project a welcoming, Ieager-to-pleasedemeanor.perform tasks to the Ibestof my ability.Why it’s importantWhy it’s importantWhy it’s importantBusinesses constantly face newchallenges and need employees whoare flexible and eager to improve.Workers stuck in the old ways ofdoing things hold the company back.Being pleasant is the best way tomake people comfortable. Clientsare the reason you have a job, soshow your appreciation.Doing a half-hearted job tells youremployer that you don’t care aboutthe company’s success.How to demonstrate this skillVolunteer for a project or task.face setbacks without Ispreadingnegativity.Why it’s importantOn any team, morale can mean thedifference between success andfailure. Attitude is contagious, sospread a positive one.How to demonstrate this skillAvoid complaining. When faced witha challenging situation, focus on theupsides.How to demonstrate this skillBe warm and pleasant with everyoneyou meet. I accept new tasks gladly.How to demonstrate this skillPut 100% effort into every projectyou do, no matter how minor.actively seek ways to Iimprovemy performance.Why it’s importantWhy it’s importantAccepting a new assignment with“No problem” and a smile shows thatyou will complete the task to the bestof your ability. Responding with anirritated sigh signals that you’re notup to the task.Businesses are in constantcompetition with each other, whichmeans practices and technologiesare always evolving. Employees whofind better, more efficient ways to dothings will be noticed and rewarded.How to demonstrate this skillHow to demonstrate this skillPay attention to how you respondwhen assigned homework, chores, orprojects.Try to improve everything you do,starting with hobbies and chores.Find ways to save time, or techniquesto improve precision.MONTANA DEPARTMENT OF LABOR & INDUSTRY37

Soft Skills ChecklistNon-verbal Communicationgood posture Itopracticeproject confidence.Why it’s importantConfidence is essential to success,and good posture is an importantvisual cue signaling confidence. Howyou present yourself frames howothers view you and makes a lastingimpression. Project success.make eye contact when Ispeakingwith others.Why it’s importantEye contact is another important wayto project confidence. It also showsthat you are listening attentively.How to demonstrate this skillIf you naturally shy away from eyecontact, make an effort to maintainit with everyone you talk to. But takecare not to stare. It’s okay to breakand reestablish eye contact during aconversation.never check my cell phone Iduringa conversation.Why it’s importantPay attention to the person in frontof you, using body language andeye contact to show you are trulylistening to them. Checking yourphone during a conversation makesthe other person feel devalued.mirror the posture and Imannerismsof others.Why it’s importantWhen someone is in a hurry andyou respond at a leisurely pace,they think you don’t care abouttheir needs. Mirroring isn’t copyingsomeone’s every move, but simplymatching their mannerisms to showempathy and put them at ease.38 I smile often, and mean it.Why it’s importantA smile is welcoming and makespeople want to be around you. Whileyour smile can’t always be genuine,adopting a positive attitude can helpmake it so.avoid inappropriate Inonverbalclues.Why it’s importantBody language can speak louderthan words. Be aware of any nonverbal messages you’re sending.How to demonstrate this skillAvoid eye-rolling, finger-pointing,arm-crossing, etc.Verbal Communicationspeak clearly and Ienunciatemy words.Why it’s importantIf people can’t understand you, itdoesn’t matter what you say. Somepeople are uncomfortable asking youto repeat yourself, and will pretendto understand. Clear enunciationeliminates this risk.How to demonstrate this skillRead aloud or record yourselfspeaking. Make sure to speak at arelaxed pace and project your voice. I am an active listener.Why it’s importantTo understand what a client orsupervisor wants, you must listencarefully, and ask them to clarifyanything you don’t fully understand.How to demonstrate this skillPractice focusing on the speaker andnot letting your mind drift.Let others finish speaking beforeadding your thoughts.criticism is positive Myand constructive.Why it’s importantNo one likes being criticized, but itis essential to improvement. Framecriticism as helpful suggestions andtake care not to belittle the person orquestion their ability.How to demonstrate this skillBegin by saying something positiveabout their performance, thensuggest ways to build on theirstrengths. Avoid making passive/aggressive remarks or laying blame.use sarcasm all the time Ibecausethere’s totallyno way anyone could evermisinterpret my meaning.Why it’s importantSarcasm, especially in writing (seeabove), can be easily misinterpreted.While humorous in casual situations,avoid sarcasm in the workplace. Beclear and direct.Written Communicationclearly and simply, Ibutwriteexpress myself fully.Why it’s importantWriting must convey meaningwithout the benefit of gestures, facialexpressions, and body language.Clear, direct language is essential towriting effectively.How to demonstrate this skillPractice writing on subjects thatinterest you. Write reviews of moviesor products. Edit them to eliminateunclear sentences and unnecessarywords. Try writing texts in completesentences without photos or emojis.MONTANA CAREER GUIDE 2016

avoid overly long and IcomplexsentencesWhy it’s importantBrief sentences communicatemore directly. Your goal is to conveyinformation, not to impress peoplewith elaborate phrasing.double-check my Ispellingand grammarWhy it’s importantTypos and grammatical mistakesmake you look unprofessional andsuggest you lack attention to detail.can assess problems, Iandfind solutionsWhy it’s importantEvery business encounters problems.Employees who can identify thesource of a problem and offer viablesolutions are highly valued.How to demonstrate this skillTake a creative approach to solvingproblems. There’s no instructionmanual for running a business, so acreative mind is a must.use good judgment and Imakesound decisionsWhy it’s importantThinking of creative solutions is agreat skill, but must be temperedwith the ability to evaluate thosesolutions to decide if they arerealistic. Ideas must become wellthought-out plans with many factorsconsidered before acting on them.Soft Skills Checklistavoid over-sharing, Ipoliticalincorrectness, andobscenities on social mediaWhy it’s importantSocial media profiles are our publicidentities. If your profile containsobjectionable content or representsyou in a bad light, you may be turneddown for a job offer or let go fromyour current job. Don’t rely on privacysettings to keep your secrets safe.Privacy policies change all the time,often without a reasonable notice.How to demonstrate this skillcan identify areas that Ineedimprovement andoffer positive suggestionsWhy it’s importantEven if a business is doing well, onemust always be on the lookout forpotential problems or ways to makethings work even better. The ability toframe suggestions in a positive lightmakes others more likely to embracethem.approach my supervisor Iwithpossible solutionsrather than just problemsWhy it’s importantOften, you understand the realities ofyour job better than your supervisordoes, making you the ideal candidatefor proposing solutions. Comingto your supervisor with solutionsrather than just problems shows thatyou can take responsibility for yoursuccess.MONTANA DEPARTMENT OF LABOR & INDUSTRYGo through your social media profilesand delete anything you wouldn’twant your employer to see. If youmust share your wild side withfriends, create an alternate profile.take notes to remember Iimportantdiscussion points.Why it’s importantYour memory is unreliable. You mayforget the finer points of a discussionafter a night’s sleep. Taking noteskeeps you focused and can jog yourmemory when you return to a task.can change my mind when Ifacedwith new information.Why it’s importantIt’s embarrassing to be wrong, butit’s worse to cling to a position forfear of admitting you were wrong.When you learn something thatchallenges your point of view, don’tdismiss it. Carefully consider thefacts, and if the new position is moreconvincing, there’s no shame inchanging your mind.How to demonstrate this skillPlay devil’s advocate and practicearguing in favor of a position youdon’t hold. Even if you don’t changeyour mind, it can be enlighteningto follow the logic of the opposingviewpoint.39

TEAMWORKpull my own weight Iwhenworking on a teamWhy it’s importantWhy it’s importantWhy it’s importantSlacking forces others to do morework and causes resentment,especially if you accept an equalshare of the credit and rewards.Everyone has some room to improve,and criticism is an opportunity tobecome better at what you do.Recognize that those offeringcriticism are there to help. Takingcriticism personally makes yourcoworkers uncomfortable offeringsuggestions, and your work maysuffer for it.A workplace functions better withoutconflict. If you are in a position tokeep the peace at your workplace, dowhat you can to resolve conflicts.How to demonstrate this skillOffer to help out with chores athome. In group projects at school orwork, make sure your part is donewell and finished on time. If you don’tknow what you are supposed to do,ask that specific roles or tasks beassigned.look at situations from the Iotherperson’s perspective.Why it’s importantUnderstanding someone else’sposition is vital for avoiding orresolving conflicts. The better youunderstand someone else’s position,the better prepared you are to givethem what they want, or to persuadethem that another option is better.How to demonstrate this skillWhen conflict arises, figure outwhat is motivating the other person.Imagine yourself in their position,and that you don’t know the otherside of the story.adopt a “We’re all in Ithistogether” attitude.Why it’s importantAn organization can only thrive if itsemployees work together, rather thancompeting against each other. Makesure all your actions are positiveand productive to benefit the wholeorganization.40take criticism gracefullyact as the peacemaker Iand Iwhenuse it to improve myselfconflicts ariseremain flexible and Iunafraidto change plans ifsomething is not workingWhy it’s importantAdaptability is crucial to survival.Workers stuck in rigid ways ofthinking cannot innovate, and cannoteffectively respond to changingconditions. This leaves a businessvulnerable to its competition.give credit to others for Itheirideas and effortsHow to demonstrate this skillAvoid taking sides in conflicts. Ifsomeone complains to you about acoworker, help them see the otherpoint of view. But know when it’s notyour place to get involved.speak my mind, but Iphraseopinions positivelyWhy it’s importantProgress and improvement dependon everyone contributing their bestideas, so voice them. Sometimes itis necessary to point out what isn’tworking, but to do so constructivelyrequires carefully-consideredphrasing so it doesn’t register asblame or negativity.Why it’s importantHow to demonstrate this skillOften, a few people get credit for asuccessful project that many otherscontributed to. Giving credit whereit’s due ensures that no one feelsundervalued. Taking credit for thework of others causes resentmentand can sabotage future teamwork.If you’re shy, practice speaking upat school, home, or work. If you’retalkative, practice keeping youropinions positive and constructive.How to demonstrate this skillWhen you receive a reward oraccolades, extend credit to thosewho contributed. Do it publicly at thetime you are acknowledged.MONTANA CAREER GUIDE 2016

How to demonstrate this skill Avoid complaining. When faced with a challenging situation, focus on the upsides. I project a welcoming, eager-to-please demeanor. Why it's important Being pleasant is the best way to make people comfortable. Clients are the reason you have a job, so show your appreciation. How to demonstrate this skill