While in order to get a job, you’ll most likely need to have a qualification or relevant experience in a certain field, that’s not all your potential employee is looking for. You’ll also need to wow them with your personality traits and soft skills, as they are key to creating a dynamic and integrated workspace. On top of the essential skills specific to the job, companies want somebody that suits their work culture, a person that can lead, solve problems, communicate effectively and motivate their fellow colleagues.
Soft skills are general, attribute-driven skills; usually self-developed (you kind of learn them in life, as opposed to hard skills, which you learn at school or uni). Soft skills are essential to succeed in life, and will certainly come in handy in the workplace as well as in your personal life. Some typical soft skills are time management, the ability to receive and give feedback, organisation, etc.
For employers, some soft skills are more valuable than others, and some will prioritise one soft skill over another – that all depends on their company values and what they’re after.
Being an effective communicator – both written and verbal – is a key soft skill for any job. An effective communicator is an active listener and relayer of information and someone who has the ability to break down complex information and explain it in simple and straightforward terms. Through communication, we can relate, learn, think and ultimately, get the job done. Communication skills also contribute to how people perceive you (through your tone of voice and syntax) and give you the tools to understand what’s exactly required from you – which is essential when you’re expected to perform a certain way.
Nowadays, the majority of jobs require you to do not one task, but a few. Typically, the smaller the company you’re working for, the larger variety of tasks you’ll be required to perform. However, all companies, no matter big or small, want someone who is able to juggle different tasks and projects at the same time without becoming overwhelmed. Organisation skills are key to successful multitasking – the more aware you are of everything you have going on, the better a multitasker you’ll be.
Being adaptable goes hand in hand with multitasking – if your employer needs you to work on a certain task, you have to be ready to take that on. An adaptable employee can step out of their role when necessary and do whatever is needed to solve a problem – without panicking. If an issue arises at work, you need to try and find alternative solutions to it, with flexibility and disposition. Being adaptable is incredibly important in the modern workplace, where companies and job descriptions change at the speed of light. A good way to try to become more adaptable is to continuously learn new skills.
Organisational skills are immensely important for any job – after all, time is precious and it costs money, for both your boss and your company’s clients. Planning effectively and distributing your time are key to success, especially when you’re working as a team and have to meet deadlines and KPI’s. To waste your own time is one thing – but to waste your employer’s or colleagues’ time is definitely not a good idea and shows lack of interests and respect.
While agreeing with your boss at all times may seem like what you’re supposed to do, thinking by yourself, giving constructive feedback, and voicing your ideas and concerns is ultimately better for business. The ability to take initiative is highly regarded in the workplace, so if you have an idea or opinion on something you believe to be beneficial to a client or your company, don’t be afraid to voice it.
Many jobs require some kind of collaboration, and even if they don’t, most modern offices have an open-plan fit out that will necessitate socialisation, so being a team player is a soft skill most employers will appreciate. In addition to being collaborative, getting along with a variety of people and personalities is also a plus. Start thinking about how well you work with other people – analyse how you can help the team improve and reach common goals.
While some candidates might look great on paper, the interview process is where employers can get the feel of the person. A company will place great emphasis on hiring someone that shares goals and values that fit well within the company culture. Different roles might have different needs, however, it’s important that all employees of the company share the same core values.
Hard skills are not the only thing employers or recruiters look for in a job candidate – soft skills are also extremely important and should not be left aside when preparing to apply for jobs. Whether it’s great organisational skills, adaptability, or excellent communication skills, think about what soft skills you have and how you can improve them in order to help yourself stand out. Thinking about brushing up on your hard skills, too? International Career Institute offer courses across a variety of industries, so you can gain the skills you need to get that new job or promotion.