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Soft Skills that Can Help Minorities Find STEM Jobs in Today’s Workforce

Job markets like those in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) are notorious for having a low number of minorities represented within them. On top of that, today employees are looking more and more for soft skill sets as they hire new employees. This can be a problem for minority groups because assessing soft skills (like problem solving) is more subjective than assessing hard skills (like computer programming). Any time there are subjective circumstances, discrimination can play a role. It can be an uphill battle, so the following soft skills are good ones for the minority population to solidly demonstrate when looking for a job.

Being creative. Dave Featherstone, a professor of biology and neuroscience, believes that being artistic is so important to the technical skills involved with STEM, that he feels science is art. It’s even been suggested to change STEM to STEAM, to include the word Artistic. Demonstrating you have creativity and artistic skills are important to many (if not all) scientific fields. What does that mean in a scientific field? It might mean coming up with a creative way to program or showing artistic qualities when teaching a math concept.

Being analytical. The trait of being analytical encompasses several different attributes. Those with a scientific mind are likely to excel in this category. With the speed at which data comes at us in a digital world, those who can analyze and synthesize data accurately and efficiently make it far in their fields. Being analytical involves not only thinking critically but also using problem solving skills on new ideas to come up with creative solutions.

Communicating effectively. Likely the one trait seen as very effective in any workplace is that of communicating well. The reason behind this is poor communication stands in the way of all successes. In other words, it curtails the ability to talk about solutions you find critically or analytically. An article by explains, “If you know how to communicate your ideas in clear, compelling words, workplace discrimination, communication breakdown and the many challenges faced at interviews would easily get out of the issues you have to worry about as a minority.”

There is no question, and the research shows, that minorities can be at a disadvantage when relaying their soft skills during an interview. The process isn’t perfect and involves biases that we are trying to overcome as a society. But, until it’s a better process, an interviewer’s discriminatory tendencies can cloud the benefit of a minority’s soft skills. One of the best tools you can have in your arsenal is plenty of examples that back up your soft skill set and be ready to use them throughout your interview process.

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