8am conversations with your colleagues won’t necessarily breed the most elaborate of discussions, and it is likely there will be times when working on your own makes sense, however, it is vital that your people skills transcend these moments. If you have ever put “team player” or “communication skills” on your CV, you have defined your soft skills. Soft skills “enable you to fit in at a workplace”. They are the personal attributes that increase collaboration, communication, and confidence. Any time you interact with a colleague, client, or customer, your soft skills come into play.
HARD VS SOFT SKILLS
Most job descriptions specify hard skills and qualifications that are required in order to fulfil a role, however ticking all of these boxes doesn’t necessarily mean you are perfect for the job. As a LinkedIn survey found out, “92% of hiring and talent professionals stated that it is ‘increasingly important’ to hire candidates with well-developed soft skills”. The same survey also reported that “82% of these professionals said that bad hires ‘typically have poor soft skills’”. Hard skills can be taught, but soft skills are not so easily gained. They are intrinsic values that go hand-in-hand with your personality, not qualifications that require correct answers on an exam. A candidate with the soft skills that an employer wants is much harder to find, and therefore is more valuable than someone who appears perfectly qualified.
VALUABLE SOFT SKILLS
Some of the most sought-after soft skills include:
Communication and interpersonal skills
Critical thinking and initiative
Adding personal soft skills to your CV will enhance your applications and attract more opportunities. It is also crucial to put them into practice at your interviews and in the workplace. Employers will recognise when you demonstrate these and will notice if you don’t.
BENEFITS OF SOFT SKILLS
There are extensive benefits of soft skills in recruitment. Soft skills help:
1. Employability- employers will look for indications of longevity through soft skills such as conflict resolution, commitment, and loyalty. These will make you a more attractive candidate. Employers can also measure how well you work within a team; they will be looking for soft skills such as active listening and flexibility. Organisation is also a valuable soft skill- it shows reliability and professionalism (a well—formatted CV and prompt communication can aid in demonstrating this particular soft skill).
2. Creating and maintaining relationships- networking is an important part of the working world. Soft skills allow for more successful interactions and lead identification. Professional relationships can provide opportunities and also impress potential employers. Soft skills can also determine your ability to maintain relationships. Sustained networks are essential in every role- from clients, to customers, to internal colleagues, you will need to be able to not only develop, but also to retain relationships.
3. Personal growth- soft skills will enable you to accept constructive criticism and will increase your drive to improve. This benefits both employers and candidates; the former employs someone who is constantly improving and learning, and the latter continually upgrades their skill set (both soft and hard).
4. Business improvement- the better soft skills an employee has, the more productive they are. From organisation to communication, soft skills aid in the success of an employee, and in turn, the company they work for.
DEVELOPING YOUR SOFT SKILLS
You can develop your soft skills by volunteering, increasing your social interactions, and challenging yourself to try new things (e.g., public speaking). It is worth doing because, as Deloitte reports, "soft skill-intensive occupations will account for two-thirds of all jobs by 2030”.
Get in touch for advice on how to add soft skills to your CV to create the most effective application.