6 most in-demand soft skills
Thanks to the rise in student fees you'd be forgiven for thinking a degree is more valuable than ever, however it's increasingly soft job skills that are most sought after by recruiters.
Unless you're applying for the position of Superman, soft skills are in-demand across most job roles; and while your knack for telekinesis and time travel might help you progress through the storyboard of a Marvel Comic, their impact in the world of business has a little less.POW!
Knowing which are the most sought after job skills will allow you to emphasise them in an application, CV or interview situation.
Seemingly a vague label, communication skills encompass listening, verbal and written attributes that ensure the effective movement of information throughout the organisation and to customers. Much more than just two cups and a piece of string, the skill most valued by employers is the ability to explain technical or complicated concepts in a simple manner to those who may not be familiar with the area. Good communication is an asset regardless of the industry, although professionals such as copywriters, customer service representatives or those in PR will need to highlight this the most when applying for jobs.
You'll be hard pressed to find a job spec that doesn't make some reference to teamwork, and whether you're a people person or not, the echoes of The Three Musketeers reverberate around most offices. Project based work often requires the collaboration of a range of individuals and employers need to know that you'll prioritise the company above any personal goals. While you may own a football team of voodoo dolls, all depicting various colleagues, tolerance and understanding needs to prevail in a team environment. Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno!
While you may think that your morning Sudoku puzzle makes you more than qualified for a spot of problem solving, the likes of graphic designers, engineers and paralegals need much morning than 15 minutes of brain training to be successful. This skill requires an employee to be able to pull together multiple facets of data and then apply a logical manner of thinking in order to find a solution to a problem. Being able to do this in a reasonable time frame is viewed upon favourably by managers and also the ability to explain how you came to that conclusion in case a similar problem arises at a later date.
Employers are hardly looking to hire members of Kraftwerk, but some knowledge and awareness of basic computer programs are essential in the modern labour market. The majority of jobs now require some computer contact, but it's often an assumed skill and many candidates fail to highlight them in their CV. Email, word processing and spreadsheets are features in the repertoire of any average professional, with social media and SEO also climbing up the list.
Not just a skill demanded by the Russian coach of a 12 year old gymnast, flexibility is a tag frequently listed by employers looking for their next member of staff. In an ever developing business world, staff need to be receptive to change and be able to adapt to new ideas and technologies. Similarly, unforeseen circumstances can see job roles become fluid and having a workforce that can juggle multiple and unfamiliar tasks is of obvious benefit to any organisation. So cancel those contortion classes and be prepared to take on a broad range of responsibilities.
Planning and organisation was once the calling card of a project manager, but increasingly organisations are entrusting their common worker to take charge of their own schedule and enterprises. Hiring project managers is slowly becoming a thing of the past and finding personnel who can implement and take charge of their own tasks without having to be micro-managed is becoming the norm. Listing such skills as 'being able to identify vital tasks and implement and organise the necessary resources' will highlight your prowess in this area.
Soft skills are some of the hardest to find for employers and while people have a tendency to rely on their experience and achievements, it's these more intangible traits that enable professionals to thrive in the workplace. Though they often get forgotten about, learning to market your soft skills may give you the best chance of landing your next significant position.