Don’t underestimate the value of your soft skills

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Research undertaken by McDonald’s at the beginning of 2015 highlighted that ‘soft skills’ were contributing £88bn to the UK economy, this is set to rise to £109bn by 2020. 

So what are soft skills? Simply put, they are the attributes that aren’t teachable, such as flexibility, positive attitude, respect and creativity. Effectively the skills that identify how people relate and interact with other people.

As with most things that are in high demand, there generally aren’t many to go around and 75% of employers believe that there is a lack of these skills within the UK, particularly within the hospitality, retail and care sector. However, as 54% of UK employees have never included a soft skill on their CV is there a real cause for concern or just a ‘perceived’ shortage?

Either way, I think the message couldn’t be clearer; too much emphasis is placed on having the right academic qualifications to do the job. But if you can ‘sell’ yourself through desirable soft skills, you may be far more valuable to the hiring manager than you (or they) first thought.

So what is that employers look for?

Communication skills (verbal, written, listening) – the one skill that crops up time and time again, as it’s the key to all human interaction. The ability to listen, write and speak effectively and concisely is critical within the workplace – having exceptional ideas is useless if you can’t deliver those ideas!

Key phrase for your CV

Outstanding communicator who interprets and conveys information orally and in writing.

Dependability - the sole purpose of you being at work is to do your job. Your boss needs to know that you are reliable and if he asks you to do something, you’ll do it to the best of your ability.

Key phrase for your CV

Dependable and diligent individual committed to excelling and succeeding.

Flexibility – is a necessary skill in any aspect of life; within business providing evidence that you can adapt, prioritise and manage multiple projects is invaluable, as is the ability to accept change, new ideas and concepts.

Key phrase for your CV

Highly adaptable individual who is open to change and new concepts, thriving when required to prioritise multiple concurrent projects, but remaining focused to meet deadlines.

Problem solver – challenges and obstacles arise in any organisation. A manager will gravitate towards employees who demonstrate they can think constructively and meticulously to solve problems.

Key phrase for your CV

Resourceful and innovative problem-solver, who uses logic and understanding to create practical solutions.

Team player – we all work to achieve a common goal, your ability to coordinate, cooperate and work professionally as part of a team is an important part of workplace success.

Key phrase for your CV

Confident and practical team member who thrives on building trusting and credible relationships with all stakeholders.

Influencer – employers don’t usually look for a ‘yes’ man and within any autonomous role being able to influence the chain of command is essential in getting your ideas and proposals off the ground. The ability to then get engagement and participation from your colleagues to implement these ideas and proposals is also vital.

Key phrase for your CV

Able to produce business cases in line with high level strategic objectives that influence upwards to command attention, action or change decisions.

So, with the report stating that 97% of employers believe that soft skills are a key driver to the success of their business; it seems pertinent to include them on your CV.

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