As managing partner at Calypso, I have the fun task of weeding through stacks of resumes to look for candidates whose skills match our needs. It’s actually one of my favorite duties, because it not only gives me an opportunity to see how much talent is right here in our community, it also gives me the chance to reflect on what’s so unique and special about working at Calypso (why else would we get so many resumes each time we post an opening?).

Yet, the task is a challenging one because technical skills listed on a resume aren’t necessarily what it takes to succeed in a career in a small agency such as ours. Sure, graphic designers need to know the Adobe Creative Suite like the back of their hand and social media managers have to be able to interpret Google and Facebook analytics. The people who will find the most success, though, have to have the right balance of both technical skills and soft skills, something which is difficult to convey on paper.

While hard skills are the crafts and abilities a person is taught, soft skills have more to do with personality and your ability to engage with and relate to others. Many fields favor both sets of traits, a testament to the idea that it doesn’t matter how educated a person is if they’re unpleasant or difficult to work with. Experience tells us that we can teach hard skills; soft skills are, for the most part, inherent.

Here at Calypso, soft skills are essential to every position in our company. Take, for example, that graphic designer. You might think a graphic designer sits in front of a monitor all day, designing logos and websites for companies in a variety of industries. Yet, that behind-the-scenes work is only part of the job. A graphic designer needs to be a good listener so he or she can understand who the client is and what they want. They have to be a team player, as Calypso prides itself on its collaborative work environment. And, above all, they have to be open to feedback, so the clients feel comfortable expressing their opinions and ultimately getting what they want in a final product.

So, the next time you apply for a job, whether with Calypso or another firm, consider what soft skills you’ll need in that role and take the time to assess whether you have what it takes to succeed. Then, update your resume so your combined technical and personal abilities help you stand out from the crowd.

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