We all know what an asset it is in the current job market to be able to code in three different programming languages, speak fluent Mandarin or be an expert in data analysis, but the benefits of being able to communicate effectively, manage your time or lead a team without alienating everyone are not always so clear.
Although they’re more difficult to measure and quantify, these types of skills, known as soft skills, are incredibly valuable in the workplace. In fact, as technical skills become harder to find, more and more employers are looking for candidates with desirable soft skills.
What are soft skills?
Soft skills are the personal attributes, character traits and other non-technical abilities that dictate how you work with other people and behave in a professional environment. While some skills might come to you naturally – for example, you might be a warm, friendly and skilled communicator – you may have to learn other skills such as time management or the ability to lead a team effectively.
Although technical abilities, or hard skills, are easy to define and measure, soft skills are much more difficult to quantify. A master’s degree in computer programming is an objective measure of someone’s proficiency in computer programming that will be understood by people in the relevant field. An ‘excellent communicator’, on the other hand, is completely subjective, and one person’s ‘excellent communicator’ might be another person’s office gossip.
But while they might be difficult to measure, that doesn’t make soft skills any less valuable, or any less worthy of a prime spot on your CV.
Identifying your soft skills
How many of us really have an accurate idea of what our soft skills are? Without getting too philosophical, our perception of ourselves is rarely anything like the perception other people have of us, so when it comes to gauging our soft skills, where does the reality lie?
To understand your soft skills, you need to gain self-awareness of your strengths and the areas where there’s still plenty of room for improvement. Given the chasm that often exists between our perceptions and reality, it’s best to ask friends, colleagues and even family members for help creating a list of the soft skills that apply to you. If they can also provide specific examples of when you have used that soft skill, then it may help you identify skills you had not considered before.
Can you think of a time in your career when the following soft skills helped you accomplish something?
- Ability to perform under pressure
- Creative thinking
- Work ethic
- Ability to listen
Showcasing your soft skills on your CV
Once you have a list of your soft skills and examples of how they have helped you achieve something in the workplace, it’s time to update your CV. When deciding which soft skills to include on your CV, make sure they match up with the skills the employer is looking for. If soft skills are described in the person specification, include those that apply to you on your CV. If none are listed, think about the qualities you think would be important for the role and include the skills that you have.
The natural place to detail your soft skills is in the ‘skills’ section of your CV. However, you may also reference the soft skills you have used previously in the ‘experience’ section of your CV, so make sure they match up.
Find your next bilingual role
At Linguistica Recruitment, we can help you showcase your soft skills in the right way so you can find your next bilingual role. Take a look at our current vacancies, submit your CV or give us a call on 02392 987 765 to discuss your requirements with our team.