First of all, what is a soft skill? Let’s first of all look at hard skills…
A job seeker will be well accustomed to what a hard or specific skill is. For example, computer programming, Microsoft Office, speaking a foreign language, driving a fork lift truck, and so on. Typically these hard skills require a qualification, or at the very least some kind of training to acquire.
When it comes to a soft skill, most CV writers are confused as to what that actually means and how important they can be to an employer. A soft skill relates to more general skills and personal traits and attributes. Here is a list of the most common skills an employer would look for in an employee:
- Good communication
- Team working
- Problem solving
Everyone has the above soft skills to some degree, and being able to demonstrate the relevant ones on your CV is what counts. An employer will regularly receive an abundance of CVs that all show the right skills and qualifications. But what they don’t often see is a CV that shows both hard and soft skills.
So why should you show soft skills on your CV?
It provides a performance indicator
Having the right skills and qualifications doesn’t mean to say you are still good at what you do. The employer wants to see examples of your performance, and this can be achieved by demonstrating the right soft skills.
If you are applying for a sales role you would be expected to have great communication skills, and an ability to close out a deal. Rather than stating, ‘I have great communication skills’, you should instead provide examples of this.
State your sales figures for your previous roles, and also confirm anything else that would back up your claims of having great communication skills. This could be a leadership role, holding regular meetings, presentations, or training other members of staff.
One of the best ways to further demonstrate your performance is to have an achievements section on your CV.
It helps the employer to visualise
The employer is looking to short list a few CVs for an interview. If you want to leave the hiring manager wanting to know more about you, then try to insert as many soft skills as possible.
However, remember that your examples should only focus upon what is important to the role. A customer service role would obviously require good communication skills, but don’t forget that conflict resolution, problem solving and team working are also essential.
Remember, you have to prove to the employer that you not only have the specific skills and experience they require, but that you also have a proven track record of performing well.