What the heck are soft skills and why do I need them?

If you’re looking for a job and you come across words like soft skills, I don’t know about you but trying to work out what all these buzz words mean can be really confusing.

Soft skills – otherwise known as transferable skills, social skills or interpersonal skills. These are the talk of the town now, previously and definitely in the future. They are the skills that employers are looking for that you will learn outside of the set curriculum on your courses.

Some soft skills that employers are looking for are outlined below.

  • Communication
  • Time management
  • Persuading and influencing
  • Making decisions
  • Commitment
  • Flexibility
  • Leadership skills
  • Team player
  • Creativity and problem-solving skills
  • Responsibility
  • Working under pressure.

So how do you get these skills to show an employer that you are a well-rounded candidate for the role?

If you are at school or university

  • Clubs
  • Societies
  • Project work
  • Teams
  • Work experience
  • Internships

Basically anything that is outside of your curriculum. It isn’t difficult to find things to do that you can put on your CV. There was a survey done by Highfliers in 2015 that profiled the top 100 employers and nearly half of them said that candidates with no work experience would have little or no chance of getting a job at all so if you can work towards that, then do it!

If you’re in work or have been at work

Even if you’ve only done some work experience you would be surprised but you probably have a lot more experience than you think you do!

  • Do you manage anyone?
  • Do you have the power to influence projects?
  • Do you work in a team?
  • Do you work in a pressurised environment?
  • Do you manage different projects at once?
  • Do you have to complete projects by a certain time?
  • Do you have to work with other people?
  • Do you have to work with external people to your company?
  • Do you ever feel frustrated at work and need to manage that?

 

Basically any situation at work that you have to work through and manage is learning soft skills!

For example: 

That moment when you have two managers asking when the two projects you are single handily managing at the same time are going to be completed when half your team are off on a jolly team building day, and you have broken your hand and are trying to type with one finger without exploding with stress??

Yeah, that’s soft skills – they want to know, how you manage your time? How do you manage competing deadlines and managers? How do you mitigate for you hurting yourself at work and ensuring you still get it done? Do you see? Even without realising it, this is all amazing experience for you to take to job interviews.

When do people want to know this information?

  • When you’re applying for work experience/internship
  • Graduate trainee position
  • Jobs
  • Promotions

 

If you would like some help on prepping for these positions then please get in touch. I can help you review your CV and do interview coaching with you so that you are better equipped to handle anything an interviewer could throw at you!

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