Most jobs have a range of essential technical skills that are required to meet the demands of the job. These are “non-negotiable”, such as a particular qualification or using a specific piece of software.
At CV or interview stage, your recruiter or your prospective employer will be able to assess whether or not you meet these specific skills requirements.
But what about those skills that can’t be qualified by time on a course or years of experience? These transferable skills tend to be called “soft skills” and can include the likes of communication, time management or empathy.
Soft skills are transferable skills that, while not being specific to any one role or sector, will make you a more competent, well-rounded employee and a more desirable candidate.
So, how do you stand out in the qualified crowd?
Being able to foresee potential issues, mitigate problems, and effectively coordinate resources are highly desirable abilities. This can be anything from a piece of tech not living up to the demands of the job or workloads and deadlines causing problems. Do you have the experience and know how to spot these problems and stop them in their tracks?
A little respect goes a long way, and it might not be as difficult to demonstrate as you might expect. Showing up for an interview on time, dressing appropriately, and asking about the company's policies are great ways to show that you'll have the same respect when you're in the role. Be professional and polite, and ensure that you've followed any interview criteria as requested.
Having a solid understanding of the industry you're interviewing for shows that you'll be able to forecast commercials and drive the business in new directions. It can even be as simple as understanding how all of the moving parts of a business come together and being able to spot opportunities for more profit or better customer experience. Having your finger on the pulse and discussing current and future trends shows that you're already looking to the future beyond the interview.
Being empathetic and having a good awareness of other people's needs is a fundamental soft skill in the workplace. The pandemic has challenged us to communicate with our teams in a whole new way, and to recognise when others need emotional support rather than just professional support is vital. As well as looking out for others, it's essential to show that you're able to look after your own well-being; make sure you manage your time effectively, achieve a good work/life balance, and make time to take breaks are all necessary to avoid burnout.
A determination for growth and development shows a company that you're keen to make positive change. Development strategies and ideas are great for your personal development. Learning and developing will make you a more valuable employee, underlining that you're able to think in the long term and are willing to channel the same ambition into growth for the business.
A combination of these soft skills, as well as your role specific abilities, will help you to stand out when you're interviewing. Why not try and work them into your CV or interview responses?
If you'd like to discuss soft skills or you're looking to make a move in the Business Services sector, you can click here to email me.