Borrowman Baker, LLC
There’s no question that a high GPA from a stellar school, great technical skills, and a couple of years’ experience (or an internship) at a respected financial institution will help you get an interview. But, those things still might not be enough to get you that desired BV position at your preferred firm.
As the labor market tightens, employers are more focused on hiring staff that possess the right mix of both technical and soft skills. A recent Wall Street Journal survey of 900 executives showed that 92% think soft skills are equally or more important than soft skills. But, the vast majority of employers are having trouble finding people with the requisite attributes.
This definitely applies to the financial-services field: in contrast to the stereotype, you know that your job doesn’t just require “number-crunching”. To succeed, you need to communicate and work with teammates, upper-level management, and the all-important clients.
What “soft skills” are most desired by employers?
LinkedIn analyzed data from 2014-2015, and determined that the most sought-after skills are:
- Capacity for Teamwork
- Critical Thinking
- Social Savvy
Workers with these traits aren’t always easy to come by. So, if you have these soft skills, it is important to highlight them. If not, it’s well worth your time to work on the deficiencies.
And, don’t think it will work to just rattle off a list of soft skills on your resume with nothing concrete to back them up. Soft skills can’t really be “told”, they must be “shown”. If you show up late for an interview and demonstrate an inability to clearly communicate, your chances of getting hired are slim to none. Interviews are being conducted more thoroughly, and a good interviewer will spot your lack of soft skill development.
- The first step is to honestly assess the soft skills areas which are lacking.
- Second, create a list of your top three skills in which you wish to improve (remembering that interpersonal communication is always the backbone of soft skills). Start slow, and don’t try to achieve everything at once.
- Finally, set a plan for improvement. There are many steps that can be taken toward this end: share your thoughts with a close friend or mentor who can give you good advice. Do some internet research: there are a plethora of articles available to assist you with soft skill improvement. Sign up for a class on communication or writing. Expand your social network through LinkedIn or other sites.
Whatever action you take, remember that investing time in your career will pay out over time, and the people who work the hardest on soft skill development will have the best shot at getting ahead.