According to leading figures in business, including former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, the top soft skills they want in employees include persistence, curiosity and an excellent ability to communicate.
Indeed, hard skills such as knowledge of IT systems, accountancy methods or marketing tactics are crucial to finding a new role. However, your intangible skills, which reflect your attitude and character traits, can often determine whether you’re going to succeed in a role and fit in with the company culture.
Every employer is different with each CEO having their own opinion on what works for their organisation. The combination of soft skills required by the financial team at Sainsbury’s is unlikely to match the qualities needed by a financial professional of a trendy tech firm.
Below are a few examples of the type of soft skills in demand in today’s job market. Which ones do you possess yet haven’t been promoting?
Being optimistic influences how we handle work-related challenges. Among other benefits, positivity drives us to find solutions, helps us to deal with stress and avoid conflict at work, as well as keeping our minds open to new opportunities. This personal quality shouldn’t be undervalued, especially when businesses need to innovate in order to thrive.
“Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration,” claimed Thomas Edison. Considering he’s one of the most important inventors of the industrial revolution, we’d do well to listen to his advice. Smart employers appreciate that a job interviewee may be gifted, but without evidence of their tenacity, their longevity within a company may be questioned.
- Emotional intelligence
Having an instinct for engaging with and understanding other people is essential in most jobs. No longer is empathy seen as a weakness; it’s become a valued quality as fewer businesses are based on the traditional hierarchical structures, and instead embrace collaboration thanks to digital technology.
Therefore, being able to relate to others underpins successful projects, and, ultimately, fuels business growth.
Simple politeness goes a long way in building business relationships. Demonstrating courteous conduct in your day-to-day dealings with people is likely to earn you respect and recognition from colleagues, employers and customers.
Taking ownership for our mistakes not only helps us to learn quicker, but it also earns admiration for our integrity. Turning a failure into a learning experience enables us to establish what went wrong and make changes to avoid a repeat incident.
It also creates opportunities to share your hard-earned knowledge with colleagues. Whatever you do, avoid blaming others – this behaviour can ruin team morale.
Having a creative streak is no longer considered to be a flaw in business. This skill, once confined to the Arts and advertising, is now highly valued across all industries as the corporate world sees the benefits of creativity to the bottom line.
It helps us look at life differently, leading to imaginative solutions to problems, increased resourcefulness, improved team building, unique customer and employee communications, among other outcomes.
Our advice to job seekers is this: research the most desired soft skills in your industry or preferred company and read job descriptions thoroughly. Then, during the application process, highlight your relevant soft skills and their value, and how you plan to develop any skills you may currently lack.
If you’d like to discuss the importance of soft skills, our consultants across the East of England are happy to help.