What soft skills do employers want?

Writing a CV has got to be one of the most difficult things to do. Sitting there, staring at the blank document, you wonder whether it’s worth listing your Year 10 work experience at the local primary school at all. After all, all you did was mark spelling sheets. ‘How am I supposed to apply that at this marketing job?’, you wonder.

Writing a CV is all about relevance.

You need to be mentioning two sets of skills; hard and soft. Hard skills are those specific to a particular job, and can be developed by study and training – think your knowledge of CSS if you’re going for a developer job.

Soft skills are those which are ‘transferable’ – that is, applicable in any job and necessary if you want to advance your career or try out in different fields. They’re usually self-taught our developed, and show that you are proactive in trying to improve yourself and increase your employability.

In this article, Enrol takes you through the soft skills that – if you can master them – will boost your employability for any job.

Problem-solving

Thanks to rapid advances in technology and technological integration the scale of problems that we face daily is growing. No longer is it enough to simply display a set of technical or discipline-specific skills in order to get by at work.

These days, it’s near impossible to find a millennial who is planning on staying in the same career for their entire lives. It’s not their fault, either – we live in an age where the so-called ‘gig-economy mentality’ is pitting workers against each other for one-time contracts, and job security is on its way out.

Thinking critically and being able to solve any problem thrown at you is a skill that is held in high regard by recruiters.

Job candidates are having to learn to be more flexible than ever as they compete for jobs that may, in a few years, be completely different in practice to the way they’re currently being advertised.

The good news is that critical thinking and problem-solving skills can be honed without specialist training or courses. Like muscles, the critical part of your brain can be developed by reading and analysing information, and coming up with creative approaches to solving problems.

Teamwork

This term has been overused and is consequently undervalued by job candidates everywhere. It’s not enough to simply slap ‘great team player’ on the front of your CV anymore. If you get the job, your teamwork skills are going to be evidenced in a number of ways, including:

– The trust you display
– Your willingness to ask for and give help when needed
– Your active listening skills
– The shared responsibility you shoulder
– Your acceptance of the strengths and weaknesses of your team members
– Your ability to take constructive criticism and resolve conflicts

Thanks to the rise of internet connectivity, work is more collaborative than ever (especially in the creative sector). It’s important that you prove your teamwork skills by being able to embrace a variety of views, opinions, and alternative solutions to problems.

Though being competitive is healthy in small doses, the days of turf wars are over – it’s all about maintaining interpersonal relationships these days!

Written Communication

Once you’ve mastered your people skills, you’re going to need to show that you can communicate effectively in a written sense.

Employees at every level are expected to be able to send and respond to emails, write up documents and reports, and to be able to infer meaning from written texts.

Whether you’re going to be communicating directly with clients, writing copy for email campaigns, or simply replying to an internal email chain; your written communication skills are going to be the key to avoiding misunderstandings at work.

Brush up on your grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Errors reflect badly not only on yourself, but also your company.

Leadership

It’s important to remember that – while you’re expected to be an effective team player – companies are still looking for leaders within their workforce.

If you can display all of the skills above, as well as those unique to a potential successor, you’ll stand out. Leaders need to be motivators. Delegators. Conflict resolvers. They should be able to exhibit emotional intelligence and use their initiative in situations where it is appropriate.

To really motivate a workforce, there needs to be more than just a financial incentive. The reason companies are able to pull through a financial crisis tends to be largely down to strong management. If you can inspire and motivate your coworkers while keeping yourself disciplined, you may just find yourself on the path to a leadership role.

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