This week’s issue of my early-careers newsletter, Hit the Ground Running, is all about “soft skills,” those people-focused capabilities you keep hearing about. One thing I’ve heard from jobseekers is that just knowing about an in-demand skill is fine, but the real challenge is telling hiring managers about a time they actually demonstrated it.
So here are a few prompts to help you zero in on a concrete narrative from your work experience:
- Managing inclusively: “That time I led a diverse team and our project turned out great . . .”
- Problem-solving: “That time something went wrong unexpectedly and I came up with a way to solve it . . .” (Hint: Think small! “I overhauled our supply chain” is fine but needn’t be so complicated.)
- Adaptability: “That time my boss got fired/a reorg took place/my team’s marching orders changed, and I had to adapt by . . .”
- Emotional intelligence: “That time I looked at the numbers–even though I’m not a data wonk–and figured out what our customers really wanted . . .”
- Empathy/storytelling: “That time I built a tool or came up with a new process, pitched it to my boss/coworkers, and they actually adopted it . . .”