How to learn soft skills

Career advice

If you’re thinking of looking for a new job this summer then adding some valuable skills to your CV is a sure-fire way to make you stand out.It doesn't have to cost you any money and you can do it from the comfort of your own home! Make this your month of learning new skills and you'll come out the other end with a great CV and a fantastic set of skills to make any employer take a second look at your application.

Whilst digital skills are very important and you can read all about how to build them up here, the other element that's just as important is your soft skills. They're not talked about as much, but in our 2018 survey, employers ranked teamwork and communication skills as the most important for any candidate to have. Soft skills refer to the personal attributes that dictate how you interact with other people. In other words, your inter-personal skills. Most job descriptions that you'll see these days include lines such as 'must work well across all levels of the business' and 'has a strong work ethic'. So which are the most important and what do they really mean?

  1. Communication skills

    Communication skills are to do with relationship building, from building a rapport to supporting a long term business relationship. It also refers to how well you can express yourself both verbally and in written forms like emails. This often tops the list of soft skills needed for a role.

  2. Decision Making Skills

    Making business related decisions isn't as easy as it might sound. What employers are looking for here is how you deal with the situation and come to a decision. Often, the decision itself isn't as important as how you reach it.

  3. Self Motivation

    Self motivated or self-starter are words you'll see liberally sprinkling many job adverts. They mean employees who don't need much supervision and can be counted on to keep going through their work. Being self-motivated also makes you more resilient and able to adapt to change.

  4. Leadership Skills

    These are the skills that you need to lead a team. From communicating with them to being an effective leader, you'll need these skills if you ever lead a project or when you take a step up to management.

  5. Team-Working skills

    Working as part of a team isn't always easy, and being able to play to your strengths in a group is an invaluable skill to have. These skills are really important if you're working on a project with a group of other people, and it's great to be able to demonstrate that you can come into your own in this setting.

These are all well and good in a job advert but the real question is how can you demonstrate that you have them?

  1. Examples of your work

    If you've led a team to success through collaborating with other departments or outside agencies, then take examples of your work with you. By demonstrating that you lead the team to success and explaining how you managed the process, youll be able to prove your skills as a leader and in a team setting.

  2. Have answers ready

    You're likely to be asked a question (or something similar) along the lines of tell me about a time when you struggled to complete a project or tell me about a time when you failed. The most important thing to remember here is that your interviewer isn't looking for someone with a perfect record of success, they're looking for someone who can demonstrate self-motivation in the face of failure. They want to see that you can pick yourself up and work with a team to fix the problem, so make sure you've got an example ready to go.

  3. Check, check and check again

    Any job application process will involve the written word. From CVs to Covering Letters and emails, you'll be in constant communication with your recruiter or hiring manager as you progress through the hiring process. Make sure that all of your communications are clear, precise and don't contain any spelling mistakes or typos.

For more tips and tricks to refine your soft skills and interview style, check out our latest videos.