Executive Assistant – According to a 2013 study conducted by Millennial Branding and American Express, hiring executives highly favor skills such as the ability to prioritize work (87 percent), a positive attitude (86 percent) and teamwork skills (86 percent). What do these skills have in common? They are what are known as “soft skills.” Soft skills – as distinguished from “hard skills” – are intangible qualities that employers value and can, in the end, be just as important as hard skills. (Hard skills are tangible skills that are demonstrated by a candidate’s verifiable qualification, education and professional experience). Unfortunately, many job applicants feel that they will be a shoo-in for a new position as long as they can demonstrate their hard skills alone. However, time and time again the firms contacting our company have consistently asked that candidates also possess these soft skills.
As one of the leading staffing firms in NYC, we wish to give prospective employees every advantage when it comes to securing the right position. That is why we encourage them to develop other soft skills such as:
- Curiosity and Research Ability: Executives value assistants who are naturally curious, like to read and are able to keep them informed. This helps both the assistant and the executive do their jobs in the most efficient manner possible.
- Time management: Hiring professionals will often ask applicants to describe a typical day at their previous job. This is because new hires often find themselves being given multiple assignments and executives need to know if they can manage their time and prioritize tasks wisely.
- Leadership: The ability to be a good leader actually combines soft and hard skills. The soft skills required to be a good leader include having a positive attitude as well as the ability to listen, and communicate effectively.
- Flexible Personality: Workplaces are filled with all kinds of people from different backgrounds. Businesses run smoother when employees can learn to adapt their personality to environments where different personalities would otherwise clash. This is an important part of what it means to be a team player.
- Problem Solving: This soft skills encompasses the ability to stay calm and think clearly when a problem arises. It can also mean knowing who to work with in the company when you cannot reach a solution on your own.
The good news for those people who feel they may not possess these soft skills is that they – just like hard skills – can be developed over time. All that is required is a commitment to learning these skills, a willingness to acknowledge the areas where you may be lacking and education. Indeed, some workplaces are more than willing to help employees strengthen their soft skills. Staffing agencies in New York like ours can help you find the position that best suits your skill set and that can help you grow professionally.