By Christiane Soto, Snelling Medical Professionals
The term “soft skills” is used to describe an employee’s non-technical skills and abilities and is known by many other names, including interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence or “people skills”. Soft skills include (for example) problem-solving skills, working well on teams, showing up on time, and the ability to effectively communicate.
Technical skills can be taught. Medical workers go to school to learn the hard skills needed to work in the medical profession. Soft skills are influenced by who we are as a person. There is no substitute for a person who has the natural ability to communicate well, provide exemplary patient care, and work well with others.
Because of this, soft skills have gained more importance among employers. In the medical field, the following intangible skills are ranked very highly:
- The ability to lead
- Work well in teams
- Communication and listening skills
However, if you are searching for a job in the medical field, soft skills are hard to highlight. You cannot simply list the number of days you had no arguments with co-workers, or the number of fights you resolved, or the number of days you arrived on time for your shift.
What you can do is:
1) References and Endorsements – Having co-workers write recommendations (either manually or by through LinkedIn) are an extremely effective way to highlight soft skills. In addition, LinkedIn provides an entire catalog of soft skills that you can add to your profile. Ask others to endorse you; once complete, you can provide this list to a potential employer (if they have not already looked it up themselves).
2) Be thorough. Nothing says “lack of communication skills” better than a typo on your résumé, cover letter or application.
3) Weave a story around your soft skills, either in your cover letter or during the interview. Instead of simply stating that you are emphatic, highlight how (for example) you had to handle a particularly difficult family dealing with a devastating medical condition. Employers view past behavior as an excellent predictor of future behavior. Therefore, tie in your soft skills to your past successes.
4) Watch body language during the interview. If you are not very confident, act like you are. Make eye contact, pay attention to slumped shoulders, wringing hands, etc. Practice your “interview voice”. Do not act too shrill or too cocky.
Most jobs require a combination of technical skills and “soft skills”; healthcare jobs are no different. Healthcare professionals are expected to form relationships with their patients and cohorts; many are business owners, and all are expected to bring a tangible set of highly technical skills with them to the job.
Therefore, in order to receive a job offer from the medical facility of your choosing, you must highlight both. The medical field has done a remarkable job of promoting the field during this last recession. The end result is that many healthcare workers are graduating. Their hard skills are top-notch. However, it is essential that you provide a strong package of soft skills, and that you are able to demonstrate their existence to healthcare employers.
Snelling Medical Professionals can help. We can provide you with the resources you need to better customize your résumé and your LinkedIn profile as well as interview tips and tricks to best highlight all of your skills (both hard and soft). To access this information, register on the Snelling website today and then visit our Candidate Resource Hub for all the information you need to find your perfect job. Then when you are ready to begin the job search, locate your closest Snelling Medical Professionals office, where our talented staffing managers can help you with your search.