During the course of your job hunting, you’ll find that the employment process can be tough especially when there’s a lot of competition. It’s best that you know which assets to emphasise during your applications – of which there are two types hard skills and soft skills.
What’s the difference between hard skills and soft skills?
Hard skills or technical skills are teachable and measurable abilities that you learn and regularly practice within your industry, such as writing, reading, or how well you use Microsoft Office applications. Soft skills, on the other hand, are traits that make you a good employee outside of what you can objectively do, such as work ethic, communication, being able to work well in a team, and so on.
While employers will look at how well you can potentially do the job, they will, most of the time, put more weight on your personality trains and soft skills. They are especially judged during the interview or reference check phase. The fact is: your professional expertise and certificates amount to little when you don’t know how to work well with others or if you’re not “the right fit” for the company. Discussing soft skills as well as your hard skills in job applications can give your resume a unique edge.
Let’s dive into some of the most valuable soft skills you can develop that will make you more employable, and how you can develop these soft skills through gaining work experience and in your daily life.
Being an effective communicator does not only mean being excellent at speeches or having impeccable grammar for e-mails or articles. Communication is also about having the ability to connect with people on a personal level right from the get-go. And because communication is a two-way street, this means being an effective listener. You don’t have to do all the talking! Listening is also an integral part of effective communication. When you listen, you begin to understand. When you understand, you begin to create affinity. When you have affinity, you build rapport amongst your group.
Employers look for effective communicators and those who have better “people skills” because it improves work efficiency and helps create a better work environment built on strong relationships.
Working within a group teaches you the importance of teamwork. This is an important soft skill, because it teaches you to value the skills that other people possess. When employees can combine varied talents and skills, everyone wins!
Being a good team player and having good interpersonal skills also makes you receptive to the needs of others. It’s all about wanting to push each member of the team forward and helping each other thrive. Employers are always looking for staff who can be empathetic towards their team’s needs. A friendly working environment and collaborative office culture helps retain more employees and pull top talent.
It’s not as simple as being analytical in solving a problem. Of course, that’s important too, but you also need to work on approaching problems with a level-headed mindset. If you are more calm and sensible in tackling problems, you’ll be more equipped in delivering efficient solutions. Companies rely on problem solvers to navigate unforeseen trials especially in urgent situations.
Most employers are not looking for those who love to stay in their comfort zones. They are keener to hiring applicants that are flexible and know how to adapt.
In all areas of life including work situations, things won’t always go as planned. However, if you know how to adapt, you’ll be able to pivot and find alternate solutions. It’s an important soft skill as it demonstrates your openness to new challenges and conquer them with a positive attitude.
Leadership is a combination of several soft skills. You can show leadership through having a positive attitude, being motivating for yourself and others, and being able to communicate effectively. Displaying leadership skills can make you more noticeable and help you gain more opportunities for career growth. Employers will always seek out staff who possess great leadership skills, as they have the potential to grow and thrive within the company.
Stand out in your application!
Now that you have an idea of what soft skills employees are looking for, what are you waiting for? Start making a conscious effort to develop these skills and you’ll notice a significant difference in your employability. You can develop soft skills in your daily life – in social situations or when you are around family. Any time you have to coexist with other people are times in your life you can be developing soft skills.
Another way to develop soft skills is through work experience. If you’re looking to develop your soft skills in a real work environment, Crown Institute can help. We provide some of the best short courses Auckland can offer and have excellent relationships with a huge range of partners in industries where our students can gain work experience. You’ll get the adequate training you need to develop multiple skills and become a leading candidate in your job applications.
Contact Crown Institute today to discuss enrolling in a course and gaining hard and soft skills to make you employable.