Soft Skills

I’ve been lucky in my life. I’ve been flat out given jobs that I was in no way qualified for. But at the same time, I have landed places that made other people jealous and asked me what my secrets were.

Those of us who have been gainfully employed for a while take this stuff as given, but to those who have never been taught how to get there, it really is complicated.

It’s getting to be close to retail season and it may be that you know someone who will be looking for a job in the near future. Here are a few tips from someone who’s got a lot of practice:

  • You have to be confident without being cocky. No one likes a know it all but at the same time you have to walk in there and let them know that they can stop interviewing because they’re hiring you.
  • You have to dress for the job. Last year, I watched a guy walk into Hobby Lobby and ask for a job application wearing a t-shirt and gym shorts. He didn’t get invited for an interview*.
  • You need to get to a decision maker. If you ask the girl or guy at the front desk for an application, follow up with a probing question like, “Is there someone here that I could talk to about a job opening?”
  • You have to be proactive. Don’t go into any old store and hem and haw around the question. Find somewhere you want to work and go get it.

What I have learned is that there are a lot of smart people out there who have absolutely no soft skills. They lack confidence, they lack the ability to communicate, they don’t know how to solve problems, they’re not able to read people’s emotions.

One of these days I may get around to offering a free course online for people teaching these skills. That’s how important they really are to success. How many times have you heard a CEO say something like, “We just can’t get any good help around here.”

But for now, I’m just throwing this out there for anyone who might see this and say, “This is EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for”. There’s gotta be at least one person out there in the universe, maybe 2.

If you’re reading this and you could use some help, please email. If you are local to the Houston area and would like more information, let’s meet in person. I feel passionately about this and here is why: Gainful employment is a blessing from The Lord. Nothing makes you feel better than believing you have everything you need to provide for yourself. Nothing makes you feel better than landing a job when you’ve been unemployed or under-employed for a long period of time.

*addendum: I felt so bad about what I saw that I deliberated for a good 5 minutes whether I should follow the guy out to his car and ask if I could help him find a job. By the time I figured out a way to approach him that didn’t seem psychotic, he was gone. Might have worked out for the best that time. Pretty sure it would have ended with me getting beat up.