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What Are “Soft Skills?”

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

If you are transitioning from the military and looking for a civilian career, you’ve probably heard the phrase “soft skills” to describe the unique qualities that you possess that companies are looking for. But what are “soft skills?”

Soft skills refer to those skills that are not directly relevant to the job qualifications; i.e. education, work experience. Soft skills are attributes that cannot be learned or obtained through experience, but rather character traits and abilities, like teamwork, motivation, problem-solving, critical thinking, the list goes on. Soft skills can make a huge impact in a job interview and can lead to an offer, even if the “hard skills,” (education, work experience) are not as strong.

Soft skills are extremely important, for they reveal to a potential employer what kind of employee a person will be, far beyond what their “hard skills” reveal on paper. For most companies, they are the deciding factor on whether or not a candidate is a good fit for the role, and if they are a good fit with the company at large.

Veterans possess an abundance of soft skills that employers are looking for, most notably leadership, teamwork, integrity, problem solving, planning, the list goes on. During the interview process, highlight these soft skills to your advantage by sharing specific examples of these skills during your time in the military.

For more interview help, visit our transition resource guide, and listen to our episodes on interview preparation on our podcast, From the Battlefield to the Boardroom.

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