The importance of soft skills in hard times – part one
Published: 24 Feb 2014 By James Stacey
WARNING! BUZZWORDS AHEAD!
Hard skills are part of the required skill set for any job that you apply for, where as soft skills are less quantifiable personal attributes that are gained through experiences rather than learning. A good balance of these has always been relevant in the employment market, but soft skills have become increasingly important to differentiate applicants in a competitive jobs market.
In no particular order, we have listed 10 soft skills that employers like to see when evaluating candidates, whether this is in the CV stage or interview process. It must also be noted that these attributes are never valued when just listed on their own - you need to provide examples in order to show the employer that you possess them.
Working under pressure
The growth of mobile technology has had a dramatic affect on deadlines, as it only takes one email from a client, boss or colleague to change the timings on an entire project. Although, changing deadlines are rarely a pleasurable experience, being able to keep a cool head and make the right decisions is an enviable quality to posses. Including examples where you have overcome difficulties and deadlines can really impress.
While it seems simple, good communication skills area paramount. Whether by email or face to face, listening or speaking, agreeing or disagreeing, buying or selling, good communication is invaluable to success in any situation. During an interview, you will be actively showcasing your communicative skills so be aware of your language when answering questions regarding your experience.
While this has many similar characteristics to working under pressure, in many cases good time management can negate any deadline panic that may arise. Size and number of projects are often a defining factor of your time management. Include examples of how you have planned your time (and the time of any reporting staff) to show your skills in this area.
Creativity and problem-solving skills
Every problem has a solution. Someone who can get to that solution faster, more efficiently or cheaper can hugely benefit a company and be a valuable commodity. Being able to think outside of the box in order to fix problems in your work is a key skill – include examples of how your creative approach to problem solving has helped you and your employer in the past.
Being a team player
Even if you don’t currently work in a team doesn’t mean you can’t put forward examples of team work. Hobbies such as playing sports can be exploited for examples of teamwork. Good teamwork happens any time you combine with other people to reach a goal – if your pub football team won the league it might be worth including it on a CV or save it as a good interview anecdote.
Read the rest of the article in part two of our soft skills advice