5 critical soft skills laid-off employees should embrace to land a job

August 26, 2022

Do not blow your trumpet. Show how your skills align with the company’s requirements.

Whether laid off due to business headwinds or strategic realignment, the fact is that it is the survival of the fittest in the corporate world.

Gone are the days when hard skills — easy to demonstrate and measure — were all that counted. Modern businesses lay equal emphasis on both hard and soft skills while assessing an individual’s ability to get the job done.

Industry experts have listed below the top five skills that laid-off employees can polish to get back to the corporate world quickly.

Work on an ‘in-bound approach’ 

Career coach Sawan Kapoor believes that laid-off employees must understand that a company reaches out to them for its own needs. Which could be the opportunities before the company or the challenges it may be facing.

Critical thinking and people skills 

To be able to work with people at the workplace, people skills are a must, says Saurabh Deep Singla, CHRO of edtech firm upGrad. “People skills enable professionals to be vertically or horizontally mobile (move up or across roles) and get their work done.’’

Recruiters are particular about the energy a candidate brings into the system.

“Agility and critical thinking are two very important skills that help drive business results. These enable an employee to solve complex problems and be comfortable with rapidly changing industry dynamics,” Singla said.

Analytical thinking and EQ

Sekhar Garisa, CEO of recruitment firm Monster, says that per their data, ‘analytical thinking’ is among the skills most in-demand, followed by emotional intelligence.

“EQ is a priceless skill that helps employees manage stress, communicate ideas, overcome challenges, and contribute to overall organisational harmony,” Garisa added.

Echoing the point, Abhimanyu Saxena, co-founder of edtech firm Scaler, says that there is a need to build resilience in the workforce through empathy, effective management of emotions, problem-solving, and self-management — regardless of designation — to be able to achieve sustainable growth.

“The ability to manage emotions and to propagate a sense of calmness within the team is a necessary trait to possess and develop for an employee,” he added.

‘Growth mindset’

Laid-off employees need to have a `growth mindset.’ Job portal Indeed lists this as the skill that has seen the highest rise in demand in the last two years — a 194 percent jump between April 2020 to April 2022.

A `growth mindset is the confidence that one can develop one’s capabilities through dedication and hard work, appreciating that learning is always part of the process, and having the resilience required to achieve results.

Indeed, Indeed has put up a list of the top 10 soft skills that companies look for.

Creative problem-solving and adaptability 

“Out-of-the-box thinking will showcase to a potential recruiter your ability to tackle new challenges, and even existing problems, in innovative ways,” Piyush Raj Akhouri, co-founder & business head, Bridgentech Consulting, says.

“Creative problem-solving is a skill that can prove your ability to think logically and analytically while managing VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity).

“Another soft skill that is key in today’s business world, especially for new hires, is adaptability,” he added.Akhouri pointed out that recruiters want to know that even when there were bumps along the way or unplanned career breaks, the potential employee was able to understand their new environment, plan their next steps, and bounce back.

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