“My CV and Cover letter are excellent, and I feel well prepared for the Interview, but what else will my potential employer be looking for?“You ask.
“Soft skills!Yes, they are very important!”
Soft skills can be defined as intangible personal attributes that help in efficiently carrying out tasks and dealing with people.Some of the most sought-after soft skills by employers are Excellent Communication skills, analytical/critical observation, teamwork, adaptability, problem solving and leadership.
Communication skills-Both written and oral skills are critical skills to have in this modern day.It’s often assumed that jobs such as journalism, marketing, Public relations, teaching or sales are the only ones that need good presentation skills, but that’s not true.
Picture a well-acquitted engineer, who can efficiently carry out his task, but cannot clearly explain the procedure taken and why.In the same way, an accountant should be in a position to elaborate on the figures and give adequate financial recommendations to the organisation.
Analytical/critical observation-One thing that is very important to all industries is being attentive to details.This skill comes in handy when it comes to analysing trends in reports-which is important for good decision making and suggesting solutions.Secondly, by being attentive to details, you will avoid making mistakes(wrong diagnosis, wrong analysis of figures, technical mistakes etc.) which can cost an institution and that is why employers are looking out for such people.
Teamwork-Every organisation operates as a team and that is why it’s important to get people on board who possess excellent interpersonal skills.These are people who are applying synergy and know how to coexist with fellow colleagues and achieve the objectives of the organisation.No matter how much of an expert you are, you need to know how to work efficiently as a team.
Adaptability- Changes happen every day both in an industry and within an organisation.An employer is searching for a person who is flexible enough in case of a big change such as the market trend, an organisational structure change or even daily changes such as impromptu meetings.Some people would rather complain about how they did not see it coming, but you need to learn to push yourself to easily adapt to changes in your daily life.
Problem-solving skills– Every employer is looking for an employee who is not part of the problem but part of the solution.By being a problem solver, you become a valuable employee as you are able to identify a problem, and instead of complaining, you take the action.
Leadership-As much as an employer is picking out an employee to be under him/her in terms of hierarchy, employers are looking out for leaders-People who have goals and can work with others to achieve it.Every organisation needs someone who is a good decision maker, takes initiative and most importantly believes that they are leaders.
Soft skills boost your hard skills and are not necessarily a replacement as the expertise in your field is equally important.However, without the necessary soft skills, it is impossible to excel in the workplace both through achieving tasks and coexisting with fellow workers.
The best thing about soft skills is that despite taking a lot of effort to master the skill, everyone has the potential to gain the skill through interest.You can acquire communication skills by practising your writing and public speaking.Interpersonal skills can be achieved by becoming keen on people’s behaviour and being more aware of your own personality.Finally, leadership can be attained through reading the right materials, attending personal development programmes and exercising your leadership skills by taking up challenges.