The Soft Skills Employers Want to See on Your CV
Published: 16 Sep 2016
With their pick of the best candidates, employers want to see that what they’re getting is the complete package – and that means a fully rounded individual who can demonstrate they have the so-called ‘soft’ skills they need as well as the expertise.
So what are the top soft skills employers are on the lookout for, and how can you make sure you get them onto your CV?
We all have demonstrable communication skills, so if in a past position you ever wrote reports, handled telephone calls, were in charge of an email campaign or anything else which shows off your verbal or written talents, make sure you mention them. Of course, one of the best ways to flaunt your communication skills is through your CV itself. Spelling mistakes, sloppy grammar or badly worded descriptions reflect badly on you, so always proof-read both your CV and cover letter before you send them off.
Within your ability to demonstrate teamwork, you also need to show you have the additional interpersonal and conflict management skills required to work with other people. It’s always easier to give examples when face to face at an interview, but it’s a good idea to work them into your CV as well. When describing past positions and experience, highlight not only the knowledge and ‘hard’ skills they gave you but how you fitted into the company. Phrases such as ‘I was part of the team which successfully delivered…’ or ‘I worked closely with my team to…’ help show-off those interpersonal skills.
Employers want to see that you’re more than simply an ideas person, but can take practical steps to resolve issues when you identify them. Think of a past occasion when you saw something was wrong and turned things around, then work this example into your CV. It could have been finding a way to speed up a task, streamline a process or make a system more efficient, but make sure it’s something which shows you can walk the walk.
This isn’t about proving you can be bossy and like to take charge. Leadership skills are like teamwork skills, and should prove that you’re capable of listening, critical thinking, taking big decisions and managing disagreements. If you can highlight instances where you took charge of a team then make sure you mention them in describing past positions. If you’ve never actually led a team then make more of a song and dance about having been a ‘key team member’ or playing a ‘pivotal role’ in a group project.
This means showing you can be flexible and can turn your hand to anything. Try to think of occasions when you had to take over a task from someone else, took on additional responsibilities, had to be trained up quickly on a new process or piece of software – whatever it is, highlight it in your past experience and make sure they know you’re a fast learner.
Work into your CV that you’re capable of juggling deadlines and don’t deliver work at the last minute. In describing past jobs it’s always worth mentioning a couple of instances when you’ve completed an important project well in advance of the client’s deadline, for instance, or took on additional work and still managed to balance your workload.
Every skill you can list – directly or indirectly – adds extra value to your CV. Making sure you get all those keywords employers love into your resumé will make it more likely they’ll put you through to the interview stages, and something like the ValueMyCV tool can help you get an overall picture of how many boxes you’re ticking and where you need to sharpen up your CV.