Conscientiousness, Hard Skills, Soft Skills, Working on a Team, Leading a Team, Staying Motivated
SKILLS DEVELOPMENT / 14 December 2016
Interpersonal Skills That Will Set You Apart
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Kirsten Jorgensen

Soft skills make up an individual’s personality and are many times, things that can’t necessarily be trained. We spend our whole lives figuring out who we are, growing as people and taking on new challenges to find out how we work, interact, and learn. 

A recommendation to entry-level graduates who are entering the real world is to get to know yourself. Actually, what has college taught you about yourself, and jobs you’ve had, and what are the skills that set you apart.

As a college graduate in nearly two months, I have been interviewing like crazy, and while the companies are interviewing me, I am also interviewing them. I am looking for these soft skills in the company’s recruiters to see if my skills match theirs and if I would be a good fit for their company culture. With these interviews, I have found that the three soft skills that will set you apart are conscientiousness, team oriented, and motivation. As a Business Marketing major (I may be a bit biased), these skills seem to be the top priority for hiring managers because they make the best employees.   


Employers love people who show high levels of conscientiousness. The people who know what time to call it a night because they have to be functioning in the morning, the people who actually attend every class and complete all assignments, the people who are organized and dependable! Progress, whether it’s at work or school, shows that the student is hardworking and organized. Companies want to hire a person who is punctual, hardworking and reliable, which are all traits of a high scoring conscientious individual. 

If you are not punctual, always out late, not participating in group projects, or not prepared for group presentations, you need to start building up your conscientious behavior now. It can be a tricky skill to acquire, because who wants to be responsible and actually show up prepared? There is a balance; you can still have an amazing social life, do well in school, and show up for your job on time. You just have to have the mindset and be organized enough to do that. Fake it till you make it!   

Team Orientated:

Team, team, team! This is basically how you interact and cooperate with others. Are you willing to work with others and share their ideas? or is it all about you? It’s tough to work with competitive and selfish employees whose only goals are to only boost up their own resumes. Companies want to see that you get along with others, can work on a team by taking into account how different individuals work and that you know how to make decisions. You will use your team skills everyday weather your job involves being in a team setting and working together or not. Being a part of a team is also about being empathetic, having a certain level of openness to other’s ideas, and being a person who is easy to get along with. Playing sports is an excellent way to build teamwork skills, and there are several things in college that can boost your teamwork skills as well. These include group projects, part time jobs, having to work with different personalities and coworkers etc.   


Energy is contagious! If your coworkers are sluggish that may wear on you! Do you enjoy your job? If it’s a no, figure out why and try to fix that! The coworkers around you should be positively impacting your life which is a huge motivation in the workplace. Decide what motivates you. Is it life, coffee, coworkers, family, your dog, significant other, money? Whatever it is, thrive on that and let it keep you motivated to always perform at your best. 

I would have to admit that coffee is what motivates me, I am always walking around with a coffee in my hand or some type of caffeine. I like to have lots of energy all the time because energy is a big motivating force for me. When people tell me that my energy is contagious, that makes me feel great and inspired. 

It can be easy to get burnt out from your job, school, maybe even from the area you live. We all have times in our lives when we’re just not motivated, but don’t let that stop you! Motivation is one of the most vital traits in the workplace because without it, you would be a negative, sluggish person all day. Work on this skill if it's not one of your strong ones, I would start with some caffeine, there is nothing like it to put some spark in your day! 

There are also ways to work on improving soft skills if you seem to lack important ones. If you don’t like a trait of yours, then just set a goal and fix it. I used to be shy and slightly stuck up when I was younger. My parents coddled me a bit and I just was a little rascal growing up. I quickly learned that this wasn’t who I wanted to be or how I wanted to be identified so I just started putting in the effort to act differently. I grew up into being the happy, extroverted individual that gets along with all sorts of people I am today! I love customer service, building relationships, and having an energy level that is higher than most. I picked who I wanted to be and changed the way I acted in my life. 

Soft skills are skills that make up an individual so if you want a certain skill,  just take steps and work towards it! It’s an awesome feeling in an interview when you can communicate your strengths and it’s a soft skill that the company is looking for, it really connects you to the company. It makes it easy to find companies that are the right fit for you too! Personally, I am looking for companies that hire motivated, extroverted individuals, people that are competitive, team oriented and thrive on customer service. I am not going to stop until a company that has these values hires me because that would be a perfect fit! Start building you soft skills now, and be aware on those certain skills that really will set you apart to employers!

 If you are looking to build more soft skills and upgrade your hard skills, check out ProSky’s training courses where you can work with real people and real companies!