Mastering highly technical skill sets can be invaluable for anyone seeking to land a STEM job, but there’s a peculiar trend happening in the tech space. Many otherwise prime candidates for important roles are finding themselves ill-equipped when it comes to possessing the fundamental soft skills needed to thrive. This phenomenon has been dubbed the “STEM Paradox,” and it’s an issue that spans a broad range of fields and specialization.
Looking to avoid this hurdle and gain an advantage on the job front? Here are five non-negotiable soft skills that STEM employers are looking for in top candidates. Master these, and you’ll be well on your way to landing your next job application.
1) Strong Problem-Solving
Critical thinking skills are a must in any STEM-related position. Regardless of what type of job you’re after, the ability to think clearly under pressure and work through problems in a fast, effective manner will serve you well. Employers value team members who can get the job done without getting caught up and delayed by every minor snag that pops-up. Even if you run into bigger challenges, showing you can successfully navigate your way through the weeds and emerge unscathed will make you a valued employee.
2) Good Communication
Poor communication — or a total lack of it — has been known to hamstring even the most skilled teams, causing frustrating rifts between coworkers and collaborators. As such, it’s a critical soft skill that’s well-worth spending additional time to develop, whether you’re interacting with colleagues or the public.
Few things in life or in business go exactly as planned, which is why this skill is a valuable addition to your mental tool chest. Fast thinking, flexibility, and a readiness to adapt to unexpected situations as they arise will make every facet of your working world function more smoothly.
4) Leadership and Persuasion
Too many cooks in the kitchen can cause problems, but strong leadership abilities are highly sought after by companies seeking to increase staff. If you can take initiative when the need arises, be willing to help direct important decision-making processes, and engage colleagues with a certain measure of charisma and likability, you’ll do well in just about any type of position.
5) Be a Team Player
Beyond the perks of having leadership skills, being able to function cohesively as part of a team is one of the most important soft skills to have. Working with others is inevitable in any job, and being primed for camaraderie and high-level teamwork will make you an endearing addition to any team-driven roles.