Soft skills

When it comes to creating the skills section of a CV we should always refer to the job advert for guidance. Typically you should find all the skills you’ll need for the role, and it’s a simple task of matching them on your application – if you have them of course!

The skills section of your CV is dedicated to hard or specific skills, like computer programming, machine operation, book keeping, data analysis, graphic design, and so on. Almost all of the hard skills you will learn throughout your career are through training courses and may even require a qualification or certification. These mandatory skills are often role specific and require many years of experience to gain and perfect – but what about soft skills, and why are soft skills important for your CV?

What is a soft skill?

A soft skill is an everyday personal attribute or trait which helps us all to function, not just in the workplace but in every situation. Communication is a generic example of a soft skill, and one which we probably use almost every minute of a working day. Whether written or verbal, an excellent communicator will achieve good results in certain fields like customer service, sales and hospitality.

Here are a few more examples of soft skills so you can begin to understand their importance in the work place and on your CV:

  • Problem solving
  • Leadership
  • Friendliness
  • Time management
  • Organisation
  • Teamwork
  • Creativity
  • Idea generation
  • Constructive feedback

When it comes to naming popular workplace soft skills, the list is literally endless. But you, the job seeker can narrow that list down and focus upon what your career demands. Your ability to present both hard and soft skills on your application is the key to gaining lots more interviews.

Why are soft skills important for your CV?

When the hiring manager reads through the many applications they receive they are mainly looking for two things. The first is how the job seeker matches the requirements of the role through their skills, experience, qualifications and achievements. Not every candidate is able to tick all the boxes, but transferable skills are also favoured by the employer. The second is evidence of their past performance, which can be exhibited through results, achievements, awards, accolades and even examples.

Read: 15 awesome transferable skills you learn through studying part-time

No matter how highly qualified, skilled and experience a candidate is, it doesn’t mean they are a high achiever. But it isn’t just a list of achievements that sparks the interest of the employer – soft skills have to be demonstrated too.

What are the most important soft skills for a CV?

Relevancy is the key to success and the employer must see within your application that you are offering the right things. Don’t make the mistake that so many other job seekers do of offering too much – especially when most if it is irrelevant.

One of the aspects that are often missed is the demonstration of relevant soft skills. Let’s look at the hospitality industry for one moment and focus upon communication, rapport building and customer service in general. A hotel receptionist would need to have all three of these soft skills – and to a high level to succeed.

With many years of experience in the hospitality sector, a candidate could be offering a very attractive CV. But what sets them apart from all the other applications that offer the same? A candidate who can demonstrate their customer handling skills is far more likely to gain an interview. The employer is reassured that they are inviting a worthy a candidate for an interview.

Read: How to develop and train for soft skills in the workplace

Carl Thomas

Carl Thomas, an expert in employment law with 15 years of experience, advises firms on UK recruitment legislation. An LSE graduate, he writes for top legal publications and mentors law students.

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