After graduation, getting a job is a typical first priority. People want to find one quickly, in their area of study. Beyond that short-term goal, people generally have a long-term goal: a successful career. What skills do people need to accomplish each of these professional objectives? According to new research (Hogan, Chamorro-Premuzic, & Kaiser, 2013), to find a job and accomplish short-term goals, one of the most important things people need is social skill.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL SKILLS
Social skills include the ability to work well with others, to make a positive self-presentation, and to be sensitive to the needs and wishes of others. Possessing these types of skills makes people more attractive to potential employers. In fact, some employers place greater importance on social skills than academic credentials. So, to get the kind of job people want, they need to turn on the charm and make sure their prospective employers find them pleasant to be around.
But what next? How do employees leverage their newly acquired position into a long and successful career? According to a wealth of previous studies on this topic, there are three factors of particular importance: cognitive ability (or intelligence), education, and personality (e.g., responsibility, independence, persistence, social skills). Given that social skills are important for both getting a job and having a successful career over the course of a lifetime, building the ability to connect with others, paying attention to their needs, and putting a best foot forward are aspects of self-presentation that employees will definitely want to focus on over the long haul.