Different jobs require different skills, however there are certain soft skills all candidates should have. ‘Hard skills’ are acquired by education and experience, and are identifiable by the technical abilities that you need to perform your job. But here at Three Q, we know that employers are looking for more than that. So what are soft skills?
‘Soft skills’, (a.k.a. ‘employability skills’) are skills that are completely transferable between industries. These skills include things like teamwork, problem solving and emotional judgement. Soft skills really grow in importance as employees rise up the ranks and take on broader, managerial roles, where they are more responsible for other workers.
Most candidates for a job will tick the boxes for qualifications and experience, so after that, hiring becomes a matter of judging the individual in the interview. Showcasing your soft skills during this process is a sure-fire way of standing out from the pack.
Soft skills are a key differentiator in the workplace. So what are the most sought-after soft skills and how do you show that you have them?
Displaying motivation starts with your cover letter and CV. A cover letter stands out when it’s personalised to the interviewer and relevant. You should try to give an insight into the organisation and demonstrating how your skills match its needs, show that you go beyond box-ticking and make the extra effort to succeed.
Candidates can show this skill in their interview by researching the people who interview them and demonstrating knowledge of their interests and responsibilities. Connecting on a personal level shows that you are interested in the people you will work with and indicates that you will be a good fit for the team.
Showing flexibility can be accomplished during the interview stage of the employment process. Show examples from your career and personal life which show your ability to adapt, for example, how you took on tasks outside of your core responsibilities, how you pushed aside routine work to respond to an emerging problem, or how you moved cities to pursue a new career.
Employers value flexibility, it shows that you are interested in their job and a right fit for their company when taking on tasks that may require extra time on your behalf.
- Attention to detail
Attention to detail is actually an easy skill to display. Make sure your CV is perfect with no typos, no irrelevant information to the role you’re applying for, and no inappropriate email addresses. Spelling mistakes can be a pet peace of most employers, it will make them question whether you are sloppy in your work. If you make mistakes on a job application, what kind of mistakes will they make in their day-to-day work?
Volunteering is a great way of demonstrating drive. Volunteering gives you the relevant experience and can sometimes count towards training qualifications. Volunteering can help improve your local community while also showing your personal interest with organisations that may even relate to your industry. Showing that you are caring enough to give away your time and skills for free to help the community shows that you have the drive to do good in your job.
Friendliness might seem like more of a character trait than a skill but, in a work environment, it may have to be learned. Friendliness means respect. This means active listening, an open attitude, and making an effort to connect with people. Saying please and thank you alone may not get you a job but it may the difference between you and another candidate.
These are just a few soft skills that candidates should demonstrate, however they are important ones. You must have the education and ‘hard skills’ to be considered for a job, but to really close the deal, soft skills are a must. If you are currently a job seeker and believe that you have the soft skills above, take a look at your job listings here.