Sprinkle some of these on your CV — it's a recipe for success.
Looking to supercharge your CV? When you're in the midst of applying for new jobs, it's the finer details that matter. Taking the time to create an interview-winning application should be your top priority. When you put pen to paper, don't forget to include some soft skills. Unlike hard skills, these are transferable traits that you can use in a load of different roles. Here's what you need to know to get started.
What are soft skills?
Soft skills are the traits that will help you get ahead in your career, despite not being job-specific. For example, this skill-set may include interpersonal skills, communication, and fact-checking. All of the above can be spread across a range of different disciplines. Someone working in HR will need to have excellent fact-checking skills as will someone in accounting. Put simply, these generic skills can cross over to a variety of roles, meaning that they are extremely valuable.
Why are soft skills important?
As a well-rounded candidate, you should have a variety of skills, including both hard (industry-specific) and soft skills. Hiring managers will look for candidates with a bunch of soft skills because it's likely to make them more successful in the workplace, according to a survey from the Society for Human Resource Management. For that reason, defining your soft skills and using them in your applications could help you get ahead of the crowd. While it's important to highlight the skills that directly adhere to the role at hand, sprinkling in some choice soft skills is a way to make you more attractive to recruiters.
Top soft skills to put on your CV
Now that you understand what soft skills are, it's time to take a look at some examples. While the skills that you list will be unique to you and your experience, there are some core skills that many people will have picked up over time. With that in mind, here are some that you may wish to include:
Regardless of the industry in which you work, you will need to communicate well with other professionals in your department. This soft skill has never been more important, now that many people are working remotely and having to keep in touch via remote telecommunication tools like Teams, Skype, or Slack.
You should never underestimate the power of good time keeping. No matter what job you happen to have, being punctual will always put you in a great position. Additionally, this soft skill shows that you have the ability to prioritise important tasks and work closely to deadlines.
Are you a critical thinker? This soft skill is the difference between taking information at face value and digging a little deeper. Approaching tasks with a critical mind could be of real value in many positions. For example, if you work in talent acquisition, you can look into candidates' backgrounds by running a Google search before deciding whether to interview them.
Whether you work in marketing or education, having a flair for creativity means that you will excel. Whenever you're dealing with communications, this soft skill will help you get the message across in an engaging and interesting manner. Should you choose to list this soft skill on your CV, you may want to back it up with supporting evidence in your work experience or even education sections.
Have you got your sights set on a promotion? If you could envision yourself leading a small (or large!) team of workers, you might want to list this soft skill. The truth of the matter is that you don't need to be a manager to have great leadership skills. You may have honed this trait while working directly with your department and coworkers. If you want to put your best foot forward, include this soft skill.
Conflict arises in all workplaces. It could be a difference of opinion or co-workers that simply cannot see eye to eye. When these situations come up, it's important to handle them with care and be professional. That's where the conflict resolution soft skill comes into play. Showing that you have the finesse to combat issues and solve them is a simple way to increase your value as an employee.
The modern working world is an ever-changing place. Millennials will hold an average of 12 jobs in their working lifetime. That means that adaptability is sure to be a killer skill on any CV. If you're thinking of switching things up and trying something new, this soft skill shows that you have what it takes. When you're hoping to get ahead, it's crucial that you can learn new skills and shift from task to task.
Of course, you can have the most finely tuned skill set in the world, but if you lack motivation, that's a real problem. While many people rely on their managers to motivate them to work well, this is a trait that should come from within. Highlighting that you have what it takes to push yourself forward is a bonus.
How to list soft skills on your CV
When you've identified your core soft skills, the next step is highlighting them on your CV. Don't make the mistake of always listing all of your soft skills every time. You should tailor this aspect of your application to the job you're applying for. Be selective in the skills that you want to highlight for each new role.
You can list your soft skills as part of your skills section on your CV. You don't need to give an explanation or description for each skill that you choose to include. Instead, you can list them as bullet points with the rest of your skill set. Mix these in with your hard skills, i.e. those that are directly applicable to the job role at hand. For example, if you are applying for a marketing role, you may list 'knowledge of CRMs' as one of your hard skills and 'great communication' as a soft skill.
What's more, you can highlight your soft skills in other parts of your application. When you're creating your work experience section of your CV, you may want to talk about these skills in context. You might say that your role as a customer service provider helped you boost your communication skills. It doesn't end there. Include a mention of these skills in your cover letter for some bonus points.
Including some choice soft skills on your CV is a smart way to get ahead of the competition. Now that you know how to include them and which ones may suit you, why not spruce up your CV? You could get started by jotting down the soft skills that are in your ballpark and seeing what roles they apply to.
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