Soft Skills, Transferable Skills, Technical Skills….Confused?

Have you been told you need to work on your ‘Soft Skills’? Do you nod in agreement and then wonder what the heck that term ACTUALLY means?  What are employers really looking for?

Looking for your first job can be SO overwhelming. You are preparing your resume–cover letter, speaking with your school career councilor, speaking with your friends, parents–and basically absorbing so much information you don’t know what to do first.

Food Grads

Focus on Your Skills.

Soft, transferable and any others that will support your application!  You already know how to highlight your education on your resume (or at least your school can help you do that) but are you sure you are detailing all the skills you have?  The right skills will get you an interview (and hopefully the job)!

Soft Skills or Transferable Skills

Here are some examples of what soft skills are.  The reason they are also called ‘transferable skills’ is that they can be applied to any job and any industry, quite literally–you can take them with you.  They are extremely important for getting a job, thriving in your your role, as well as transferring to a different position, company or industry.

If career advancement is your goal, developing these skills is not a choice– and the best part, you will never stop being able to improve!

  • Communication
  • Listening
  • Leadership
  • Adaptability/Flexibility
  • Team Work/Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking
  • Resourcefulness
  • Decision Making
  • Responsibility
  • Self Confidence

It is not enough to list these on your resume.  You must be able to ‘speak’ to them (both on your resume and during an interview).

Think about every job you have ever had regardless of if it was paid or unpaid.  Look at your experiences through a new lens and pull out these different traits.  One by one, think about this list and start to write down why and how you honed each skill.

Don’t worry if you can’t include them all, that’s what experience does for you–it allows you to develop your skills (and this never ends!) nobody expects a new grad to have a ton of experience which breeds skill development (especially soft skills), but you might surprise yourself by how skilled you actually are!

Technical Skills or Hard Skills

Technical skills are easier to figure out.  You either have them or you don’t as they are more practical (think about what you have actually done with your hands) working on a piece of machinery, inside a lab, at the computer, writing.  Basically, something can that be identified by name or defined. Hard skills–as they are sometimes called–can be evaluated and measured, arguably unlike soft skills.

  • Computer
  • Mechanical
  • Laboratory

In the coming weeks we will talk about ‘experience’, and why you need to start planning early to get some, so that you’re able to walk into your perfect job (with a killer resume) once you’ve graduated and start your career.

This is a great opportunity for Food & Beverage Industry employers to add their comments.  Am I missing anything?  In Food & Beverage specifically, is there a particular skill you wish you saw more of?  Students and grads would benefit greatly from your insight 🙂

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