Social Skills and your Employability

Are you frustrated because you are qualified but not just landing that perfect job that will give you the experience you need?  Is your resume all up to date, reviewed and polished by a professional?  Do you have all the “hard skills” employers require and more?  Are you looking for new opportunities non-stop through all avenues like social media, online job portals, help wanted ads and even career centers?  If you have all of these taken care of and still aren’t having luck, maybe it is time to take a look in the proverbial mirror and find out what is it that is standing in your way.

One thing you might notice, and something that has come to my attention when students visit me, is that the required social skills are not being displayed when speaking to others in a professional setting.  When you are looking for a job, the person hiring you is constantly looking for things they like and don’t like.  Guess what… your social skills are a huge part of the consideration.

So next time, make sure to practice your social skills before interacting.  There are times when you will interact with the prospective employer outside of the interview.  They will call to schedule an interview.  You may sit in a lobby with a receptionist or other candidates, who you should also get along with.  There may be a long walk down a hallway to the interview area.  There may be distractions during the interview where moments arise for small talk.  The person leading the interview may even stop the process just to talk more with you about something they found interesting.

The best way to start is to be happy to see/meet the the prospective employer!  They want to see you smile, even if they don’t smile themselves.  Keep in mind that you can overdo it with smiling, but a nice smile is unarming when a person is susceptible to it.  Also, if the opportunity arises, be ready to make “small talk”.  There are some topics we enjoy that a stranger may not, and it is important to be ready to talk about subjects that don’t carry a lot of opinion but have entertainment value and can create common ground between you and your prospective employer.  For instance, avoid talking about politics, bad news and things you don’t like.  If possible, talk about family you love, beautiful places you have been, hobbies you have and things that you generally look forward to.  If the prospective employer is comfortable sharing personal things about themselves, be ready to listen and look for cues from their facial expressions to know if they want you to answer them or just listen.  If you want to get a heads up on your competition, make memorable moments that are positive whenever you can!

Please check out this link at the end of the post, I am sure you will like it.  If you have any questions and would like to learn more, please email me, Bryant, at bdolbow@ssu.edu .  I look forward to communicating with you, happy hunting!

http://money.cnn.com/2015/09/01/news/economy/job-search-social-skills/