Employers value soft skills – like problem-solving, teamwork, emotional intelligence and judgment.
Such managerial skills are set to grow in importance as aspects of work increasingly become automated; soft skills are not ones that can be acquired by a robot, after all.
Now leading Republic of Ireland recruitment website Jobs.ie has given an insight into the most important ones.
Jobs.ie general manager Christopher Paye points out, “Once you tick the boxes for qualifications and experience, hiring becomes a matter of judging the calibre of the individual in the interview. Showcasing your soft skills during this process is a sure-fire way of standing out from the pack.”
The top five skills Jobs.ie has reported are most important to their clients are:
“Displaying motivation starts with your cover letter and CV,” says Paye. A cover letter stands out when it’s personalised and relevant, he says. Showing insight into the organisation and how your skills match its needs marks you out from the competition. Take this further by researching those who interview you, showing knowledge of their interests and responsibilities. This ability to connect on a personal level, he says, will prove that that you will be a good fit for the team.
Paye says that showing flexibility is best accomplished during the interview stage of the application process. He advises you to give examples from your work and personal life that show your ability to adapt, “such as taking on tasks outside of your core responsibilities, pushing aside routine work to respond to an emerging problem or relocating to take up a new position.
Attention to detail
This is an easy one, says Paye: make sure your CV is perfect. That means no typos, nothing irrelevant to the role you’re applying for and no inappropriate email addresses. “Personally speaking,” he says, “even if a candidate has an impressive CV, I’ll usually bin it if I spot spelling mistakes. If they make mistakes on a job application, what kind of mistakes will they make in their day-to-day work?”
Consider extra-curricular activities such as sport, community work and volunteering – “a great way of demonstrating drive,” says Paye. “It gives you relevant experience and can sometimes count towards training qualifications. It’s a win-win.”
This might seem like more of a character trait than a skill but, in a work environment, it can be learned, says Paye. “The key to friendliness is respect: it means active listening, an open attitude, and making an effort to connect with people. Also, saying please and thank you might never get you a job but not saying them might lose you one!”
He points out that the number of roles listing friendliness as a sought-after soft skill increased by 22% between 2016 and 2017, and is particularly valued in client-facing roles and where the applicant will be part of a close team.