Selling your ‘soft skills’ to employers

What are they?

Soft skills refer to your personal qualities and character traits. Where hard skills are about your ability to perform a certain type of task or activity, soft skills are more concerned with the social aspects of these abilities. They include things like integrity and a sense of humour as well as communication, team work and leadership.

Soft skills are important in every sector and with them being transferable; they can be used in many different working environments. Nevertheless, candidates often find it difficult to demonstrate their soft skills in interviews and on application forms. The best way to demonstrate them is to provide concrete examples of when you have had to apply them. Here are a few things you could think about:

Demonstrating commitment

Employers want to know that you are reliable and that they can depend on you. Think about times where you have shown a considerable amount of commitment to something. It may be in relation to your studies or even to a voluntary position to which you have given up your time – showing your commitment to a particular cause. Think about times when you have undertaken tasks without the need to be prompted or motivated by others; or times where you have gone the extra mile.

Demonstrating that I am a team player

Employers also want to know that you can build positive relationships with your colleagues and make valuable contributions to a team as well as actively listen to the ideas of others. Think about times where you have been a cooperative and supportive member of a team as well as times where you have made a conscious effort to get to know your team members in order to understand their work and other habits.

Demonstrating that I can work under pressure

In many working environments, it is very important to be able to handle pressure and be able to focus on the job at hand despite any feelings of stress or apprehension. Think about times where you have been given very strict deadlines or times where you have had to make important decisions in a limited space of time and how you overcame this.

Of course, these are just a few soft skills- there are many others. Think long and hard about situations where you have been able to demonstrate your soft skills and bear in mind that, examples out of the work place are just as relevant as those within your personal life.

Novlet Levy

Careers Information Assistant

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