How important are soft skills


The other day I met with a client to work on his CV; a recent graduate whose CV showed no work experience and only mentioned industry specific or technical skills. After listening for a few minutes I asked if he had ever had a part time job and the answer was yes, yet there was no mention of it on his CV. On further questioning, it became apart that the reason he hadn’t included his part time work on his CV was because he felt that it wasn’t related to the studies he had completed or the field in which he wanted to work and so not relevant for his CV.

What he, and so many others, failed to miss was what he had learnt from having worked (whether paid, part-time or voluntary) including the skills he had picked up.

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So how important are soft skills?

The short answer is, very!

“Soft skills” is the term used for communication skills, friendliness or interpersonal skills, teamwork, time management and so on. These are skills that are required in every job and are therefore transferable from one line of work to another. Yet despite this, many people do not think that they are important and do not realise the value they can bring to an organisation.

An increasing number of companies are putting more emphasis on an applicant’s soft skills when recruiting. This is because so many applicants have the necessary technical skills required for the job making it difficult for recruiters and hiring managers to determine who the best candidate is so they are looking more at what makes one applicant stand out above the rest; and this may be your unique combination of technical skills, achievements and soft skills.

This is backed up by an article I read today entitled, Campaign puts £88bn economic value on ‘soft skills’ which stresses that these are actually essential skills for any business; you can read the full article here.

In fact the Chief People Manager for McDonald’s is quoted as saying,

“I can’t think of any job where those skills wouldn’t be important… but they are not recognized as much as they should be,”

I have to agree when he says that part of the problem is that people do not know how to articulate these skills as that is clearly a problem that some of my clients are coming up against.

Being able to identify and then clearly and confidently communicate your skills, both technical and soft, is your key to interview success and it is also extremely useful when it comes to your annual appraisal/review at work.

 

© Anne Galloway

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Anne Galloway is the Careers Consultant for those who want to put the fun and passion back into their working week. Find out how Anne can help you along your path to career success at www.power-to-change.eu

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