Throughout your education and career, you will acquire a skill set made up of both hard and soft skills. The skills you acquire at college or university are what qualifies you to become a Software Developer, a Doctor or an Accountant. Soft skills are not something you can learn in the classroom. Although understanding what they are early on in your working life can really boost your career success.
What are Soft Skills?
Hard skills are rarely referred to as such but are more commonly known as technical skills. For example, a Software Developer’s hard skills might be the languages and platforms they are an expert in.
Soft skills, on the other hand, are personal attributes which enable you to handle the non-technical aspects of your job. Such soft skills are personality traits, or good habits, which determine how well you work with others. Better still, they will make you appear a more desirable candidate for hiring managers. That’s why developing your soft skills can help you climb the career ladder.
The Top 5 Skills Employers Desire Most and How to Demonstrate them on your CV
When you’re trying to keep to two sheets of paper, conveying soft skills on your CV can be challenging. The thing to avoid is an opening statement on your CV which reads something like the below:
“A punctual team player with impeccable organisational skills and a positive attitude. Furthermore, I have a high level of emotional intelligence and the resilience to bounce back from any situation.”
Personal statements like the above just won’t wash with employers and will likely find your CV in the rejection pile. Although exactly how you communicate these positive personality traits will be individual to your current role and future ambitions.
To help you, we identify the top soft skills employers value most and how to demonstrate them on your CV.
1 – Time Management
Time management is not just a question of being punctual, it’s an essential soft skill for career development. It enables you to keep on top of your workload and manage your career development. You may be the best PHP Developer in the world. But if you are late for every meeting and never complete work within set deadlines, nobody will ever want to work with you.
As the world embraces remote working, it’s easy to let time management slide. But really, it’s a discipline remote workers must focus on if they are to remain productive while working from home.
How to Demonstrate Time Management Skills on your CV
Candidates with good time management skills prepare their CV before they start searching for jobs. This means they are usually quick off the starting block when it comes to applying.
The best time managers have a five year plan. Not only that but they review it regularly to make sure they’re on the right track. This is extremely useful in interviews if you are ever asked where you see yourself in five years. It’s also an excellent habit to get into if you want to fast track your career success.
2 – Team Working or Interpersonal Skills
Hiring managers seek out candidates who demonstrate good team working skills for several reasons. For a start, it makes a manager’s job much more comfortable if all their team members get along and have a strong work ethic. Additionally, people who can work collaboratively tend also to develop good leadership skills. This makes team players an obvious hiring choice for companies who promote from within.
How to Demonstrate Team Working on your CV
A mistake candidates often make when trying to demonstrate team working on their CV, is talking about what ‘we’ did. Hiring managers are not interested in what your team is capable of. What they want to hear about is what part you played explicitly in helping the team achieve a common goal. For example, “Acted as a mentor for junior developers within the team.”
There is an ongoing debate as to whether or not it is appropriate to mention hobbies on your CV. Mentioning that you play any team sports is an easy way to demonstrate teamwork on your CV. Extra brownie points if you are a team captain!
3 – Communication Skills
Your ability to communicate is not just a measure of how well you can explain your point of view. You also need to be able to ask the right questions that will extract the information you need from others. It is also a measure of how much attention you pay to their response.
Good communication skills are required in most work environments these days, particularly in jobs like Technical Support, or Project Management. In jobs like this, workers must pay attention to the details of a problem before assessing the best action to take.
How to Demonstrate Communications Skills on your CV
The most obvious way to demonstrate good communication skills on your CV is to explain points as concisely as possible. Don’t forget to check it for spelling and grammatical errors and ask a friend or family member to see if they can spot anything unclear. Don’t rely on self-judgement because we are unable to recognise our own typos!
4 – Creativity
As scary as it may be, computers are becoming increasingly more able to carry out a person’s job! However, where they can carry out a set of instructions way better than any human, what they’re not so great at is creative problem-solving. Therefore, the best chance you have of future-proofing your career is to enhance your creative skillset.
Some people don’t consider themselves to be creative because they can’t paint or draw. That’s because they often take for granted that we use creative thinking to solve everyday problems. Organising events, for example, or household DIY.
How to Demonstrate Creative Skills on your CV
If you’re applying for a creative job, your CV should be more than two printed sheets. Your CV should include a link to your online portfolio.
Even if you don’t consider your job to be within the creative realm, you can still explain how you solve problems creatively. For example, increased sales by 15% in four weeks by experimenting with new sales techniques.
5 – Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is fast becoming the most desirable soft skill for hiring managers. That’s because our emotional intelligence enables us to control and express own emotions and also, be empathetic to others.
Emotionally intelligent people can have open-minded discussions without judgement. Being open to new ideas in this way enables them to learn more quickly. Such individuals are also able to accept and adapt to change more readily. People with a high emotional IQ are therefore easier to manage because they get along well with others. Furthermore, they are more likely to be good people managers.
A high degree of emotional intelligence is necessary in jobs like UX Design, for example. UX Designers need to understand not just the physical requirements the user has but their emotional desires too. Understanding a user’s physical requirements enables designers to create functional products. They also need to understand a user’s emotions if they are to develop products people love using.
How to Demonstrate Emotional Intelligence Skills on your CV
To explain emotional intelligence on your CV, think of a time when you have improved team morale by making changes. Alternatively, give examples of any public speaking you may have done. Public speaking may seem like a strange example to give. But to deliver a message effectively involves considering the emotions of the audience and storytelling skills.
You don’t need to have delivered a Ted Talk to be able to demonstrate public speaking. It can be something as simple as giving a five-minute presentation to your team to introduce a new idea.
A Few Final Thoughts on Soft Skills
With technology advancing at such a fast pace, it is becoming increasingly more challenging for managers to employ experienced tech professionals. Therefore, soft skills are becoming increasingly more important. Such as the ability to fit into a new team easily, adapt quickly, and be keen to learn new skills.
Fortunately, soft skills are not something you need to go to university to acquire. But they are relatively straightforward to develop on your own. You can do this by mapping out a career plan, seeking out public speaking opportunities and simply working on your relationships with others.
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