Whatever industry you work in, soft skills are an essential part of your job, and essential to include when writing your CV.
The skills you need will change depending on the industry you work in, your exact role and even as your level of seniority changes. But they are an essential tool that you will need to use frequently throughout your career.
In this article we’ll detail what soft skills are, which are the most important, and how to include them in your CV: To help you in your job search and career.
But first things first, what are soft skills exactly?
Soft skills are any non-technical skills that you use in your workplace to be more productive in your day. They are a combination of people and communication skills, character and attitudes skills as well as personal and work ethic skills. These are transferable skills that can be used in most, if not all, industries and jobs.
Let’s look at an example: Customer communication skills.
You may have picked up experience and skills working with customers in a customer service position. But unlike technical skills you learnt in this job, these customer communication skills are transferable to any role where you work with customers or clients.
Which is why soft skills are so important. They can be used from job to job, and are something that are sometimes more difficult to teach and need to be learnt through experience.
Soft skills are an essential part of your everyday job, and are a huge benefit to you, your team members and your employer. Which is why they can set you apart from others when you’re applying for a job.
Soft skills can make you more productive with your own work, help you to work more efficiently with others in your team, improve the company’s profitability, and help the business win new clients and customers.
All of these are obviously valuable to an employer as well, which is why 92% of talent professionals reported that soft skills are equally or more important to hire for than hard skills. So it’s important for you to know just what soft skills you possess, and how to include these soft skills on your resume: To ensure you aren’t looked over for positions where you would be a great fit.
We’ve mentioned hard skills a few times before this. But what’s the difference between the two?
Hard skills are technical skills that you may have learnt through education, training, certifications or through your work experience. These are typically more measurable than soft skills. For example, you will have certifications showing your ability, or in an interview setting a future employer could create tasks or tests to measure these.
Hard skills examples: Coding, video editing, copywriting, email marketing etc.
Soft skills are non-technical skills that are a mix of interpersonal/ social skills, character skills, and professional workplace attitudes. These can be skills learned through life, through work experience, or skills you are naturally born with.
Soft skills examples: Communication, time management, problem-solving, leadership.
We’ve analysed the hundreds of jobs that we hire for here at Herd Digital, and these are the most important soft skills for the employers we work with, in 2023.
Communication is key for almost every job in every industry. At some point you will work with colleagues, work with customers or clients, or converse with a superior. And then you’ll need to be able to communicate with them effectively. Communication skills includes:
Management is the ability to effectively manage people who work in your team; from ensuring work is completed on time, to promoting the happiness and wellbeing of your team members.
But it also refers to the ability to manage yourself when it comes to workloads and projects. Management skills can include:
Adaptability shows how you can embrace new change and thrive in any environment. Which is a great skill to have. You will adapt to new working situations and challenges, and aren’t someone who is stuck in their way of working.
Skills that are a part of adaptability are:
Creativity isn’t just essential for a job in the design or creative fields. Being creative and thinking of out-of-the box solutions for problems is just one example of how creativity can be a great soft skill for your career.
Some other skills related to creativity are:
Multitasking is being able to work concurrently across multiple tasks. This is essential for some roles where you are working with multiple clients or customers, or on different projects. This also becomes more essential as you become more senior, and are responsible for more people and projects.
Multitasking skills include:
Your work ethic is your drive and determination to put in the work and achieve on a regular basis: Hard work without the necessity of a reward or punishment. This is a skill that every employer wants to see from their employees.
Work ethic encompasses:
Your job won’t always go to plan. And when things go wrong your employer wants someone who will come up with solutions to problems when they present themselves, while remaining cool under pressure.
Problem solving skills include:
Being able to work as part of a team is an essential skill in practically every job on the planet. Being able to work cohesively to efficiently and effectively meet a common goal or complete a task.
Teamwork skills include:
Being able to work with autonomy and still complete work as needed is also a valuable soft skill to have, in opposition to working as a team. Because your employer wants to know that you can be trusted to get the job done, without their constant supervision.
Skills that are part of autonomy include:
An attention to detail can be crucial to your work. Avoiding making any mistakes in your work that could potentially be counterproductive to your work or the business. When you don’t make mistakes, your employer and superiors are more inclined to trust you to get the job done, and get it done right.
Skills that are important for an attention-to-detail are:
Your CV should contain a skills section that contains both technical and soft skills that you have learned through your career.
And while simply listing your soft skills on your CV certainly isn’t a bad thing to do, there are extra steps to make your CV stand out more.
The best thing you can do is put in soft skills that match the skills the job advert asks for.
For example, let’s say that a job advert you’re applying for a Digital Marketing Director. The job advert lists these following requirements:
From these requirements you can figure out which of the soft skills we listed are some important ones for this role:
And while there aren’t all the soft skills that the role will probably require, these are likely to be the most important. Below, we’ll have a look at how you can support these claims on your CV.
Just listing all these fantastic skills you have on your CV might not get you that far. Because if you sound too good to be true, then a recruiter or hiring manager will probably assume you are.
But if you back your soft skills up with evidence from your previous experience section, you’ll be a much more attractive candidate who the recruiter will trust.
Let’s continue with the example from before using the same soft skills:
An example of work experience that highlights some of these soft skills would look a little something like this:
This one example of previous experience shows creativity, management and teamwork.
Still have some questions about soft skills and why they’re important for your career and for your CV? We’ve got some of the other commonly asked questions we hear below!
Yes. In fact, they get more important as your career progresses. As you begin your career, you’ll be focused on learning and mastering the technical skills of your job, such as the software you need to use.
However as you progress into a senior position, your focus will move into soft skills like strategy, team management and client and customer relationship management.
Soft skills aren’t always as easy to learn as hard skills, where you can simply take a course or learn a new skill.
But there are courses you can take for some soft skills like communication, organisation, management and leadership.
But taking a course won’t make you an expert. It can take plenty of self-development
You should include as many soft skills as you need to, without trying to cram them all in. What this means, is matching the soft skills you include to the ones that the job advert is asking for, as well as any that you feel would be appropriate for the position you’re applying for.
For example, if you’re applying for the Digital Marketing Director position from earlier, the job advert likely won’t say you ended the ability to multitask. But you can safely assume that you’ll be responsible for multiple campaigns and projects running at once. So it would never hurt to include it.
If you’re looking for more tips on writing a CV in the digital marketing space, you can read our complete guide on writing digital marketing CVs here.
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