If you’re job hunting at the moment and feel like your CV just isn’t wowing you – or employers – it may be time to read back over it. If you have all the qualifications they’re looking for and still not hearing back, it may be important to look over some key areas like hobbies, opening statements or even your soft skills.
Many people brush over the soft skills section in favour of the hard skills – technical programs you know how to use, theories you’re well-versed in – but soft skills give employers and idea of who you are.
Are you a team player? Are you good at time-keeping and delivering projects on time? What are your priorities when working in a group? A solid set of soft skills can make or break how you work within the company, so it’s essential that you understand their importance in a work setting.
Of course, every job and employer are different and require different things from you and your skill set, but generally, these are the top four skills – and proof of skills – that employers look out for!
No, not being a chatterbox! Communication is actually a complex web of different skills all under one title – being able to explain ideas, seeing things from another’s perspectives, helping others to understand complex premises and interpreting information and creating a cohesive plan from it – it’s one of those skills that covers an awful lot under one little word.
It’s an underrated skill – how often have you seen someone try to explain something and the idea has fallen flat? Or tried to re-tell a joke or funny story and no one laughs? It’s not necessarily that only they find the story funny or the idea exciting – it may just be that it was properly communicated. And when that happens in a business setting – that ideas aren’t properly communicated and received – opportunity and understanding are missed out on.
We’ve all been in a group project before – but do you know what kind of role you played in it? Were you the leader of the group, taking charge, delegating tasks? Were you diligent about your end of the project and disappointed when others let you do the work? Did you do your own thing or collaborate with others to complete the task together?
Working within a team is something that is always important to keep an eye out for. It’s not just checking that you’ll pull your weight – it’s also to see how comfortable you are working with others – how you deal with conflict, uneven workloads, whether you take control or follow along with the leader. A happy team is a productive team, so introducing a new player can change the dynamic – they want to know you can fit in well and take on a key role in their group.
If you come up against an issue, what’s your go-to reaction if there’s no easy fix? Do you get frustrated and walk away? Get upset and doubt yourself? Look at it from every angle? Or ask for help?
When we seem to be facing an insurmountable problem, it’s extremely easy to get frustrated. But problem solving is as much about our reaction to the problem as finding a solution. Some employers are looking for someone who isn’t afraid to speak up and ask for help with a project (teamwork skills again) while others are looking for someone who can take initiative and come up some sideways thinking or creative problem solving – it depends on the job, the problem and the employer.
It’s more than just being prepared! Coordination skills are very transferrable and can be used for everything from scheduling future projects to arriving at the office on time! A disorganised person may not be able to keep on top of their workload, can let people down when projects are due and may not be able to help move the company forward.
Organisation sounds like one of those fluffy or filler words you put on a CV, but it’s actually probably one of the most important ones to prove when it comes to an interview or your cover letter. An organised person makes the company run more smoothly, is prepared for what life and work throws at them and can make life easier for those around them. Try to think of examples of times you had to be organised – project deadlines, fundraising or event management, coordinating a team – it all looks good so be sure to mention it no matter how small it may seem!