If you’re on the job hunt, you know you’ll have to polish up your resume and seek out some great opportunities. However, it’s easy to forget the most important part of becoming an in-demand candidate: professional development. Hiring managers want to see individuals that are willing to learn and ready to demonstrate some excellent abilities. Go back to basics with the “ABCs” of soft skills: the top ten traits that will help you get the gig.

1) Active Listening

You want to show employers you can truly listen and understand what is being asked. Think about, for example, constructive criticism. The last thing a hiring manager wants is an employee not able to hear about their shortcomings. Prove you can take on advice and adapt your methods.

2) Body Language

When you’re looking to find a great fit, it’s not all talk. Employers gain a first impression from the moment you walk in the door. Focus on simple things that make a great impact: smile, maintain eye contact, and come with a strong handshake. If you can engage with a potential employer through body language, you’ll have a competitive edge on other candidates.

3) Confidence

A timid approach has no role in the workplace. The ability to sell yourself is a must to land you  the position you’re looking for. If you’re on the introverted side, concentrate on what you’re great at. Don’t be afraid to promote your skills and experiences: hiring managers want to hear about the terrific work you’ve done.

4) Direct

Maintain a communication style that is clear and concise. Being direct is essential, whether it’s with clients or supervisors. In an interview setting, be as transparent as possible when you communicate. If you’ve got questions, don’t be afraid to ask them. If details in a job description are murky, request clarification. Walking out of an interview confused can be disastrous.

5) Empathy

Sometimes you walk into an interview ready to be strong and assertive. Sometimes, however, showing a softer side may show that you are a uniquely qualified candidate for the job. Don’t be afraid to set aside a “brass tacks” approach and exhibit some empathy. Put yourself in inteviewer’s shoes. Finding the perfect candidate is hard and they probably have other priorities to focus on. You have no idea what’s happening on their ends. Have some empathy.

6) Friendliness

Be polite and kind to everyone you encounter. You never know when an employment opportunity may arise or when you are being judged. A quick internet search will reveal horror stories of a quality candidate missing out on a premium gig because they were rude to a janitor. An outsider never knows the office politics, so make the safe bet and be friendly.

7) Give a Good Impression

A great way to stand out among similar candidates is to make a strong impression. A hiring manager is more likely to remember you if you share a personal anecdote or provide a supplemental portfolio with additional work experience. Think about personalized ways you represent yourself so you don’t get lost in the shuffle.

8) Have Respect

Along with being receptive and kind, you want to always display deference to a potential employer. No matter what is said or how someone treats you, still be respectful and courteous. An appealing candidate is smart and considerate from the moment he or she walks in the door: hold yourself to this standard.

9) Input

Employers want your feedback too! If you’re too shy to give your opinion, a hiring manager may be nervous that you can’t be a decisive staff member. Show you can be a team leader by offering feedback and sharing your own insights. Outside input is often welcome in a company looking to improve their corporate environment.

10) Journey

Be positive and thoughtful, especially when detailing your employment history. Consider carefully each experience in your career path. Tell the prospective employer about your successes and create a vision of your trajectory, so they can help you grow with the company you want to be a part of.


With these soft skills ABCs, you’re ready to tackle any interview or job opportunity. Check out Job Store Staffing for job listings today to become one of our qualified candidates ready to take on the job!

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