We understand how difficult and frustrating it can be for young people who are looking for a job, particularly when they are entering the workforce, having completed a course or degree in a specific field, especially when employers ask for applicants to have relevant work experience.
The good news is that employers place a high value on soft skills. Recent research shows that 58% of employers are now open to employing job seekers who can display the right skills, even if they don’t have all the work experience1. If you are lacking relevant work experience for the job you’re applying for, you need to demonstrate strong soft skills by showing evidence and providing examples.
What are Soft Skills?
Soft skills, also known as interpersonal skills, foundation skills, common skills, or employability skills, are non-technical skills. They are your personal qualities about how you work, which can be applied to any job and are transferable to different occupations and industries.
How do you Develop Soft Skills?
These are skills gained throughout your life through school, work, hobbies, sports, volunteering, travel, etc. Employers may not necessarily ask you directly if you have these soft skills, but when applying for a job, you need to demonstrate and prove how you have gained these skills and how you can use the skills relevant to the job requirements.
Examples of Soft Skills and How to Demonstrate Them
Businesses and organisations are looking for team players who collaborate effectively. They are looking for staff who will fit into their business and who want to be part of a team, working together to contribute to the goals of the business. Being part of a sporting club team demonstrates teamwork as well as taking part in a team assignment at school. In a casual job, an example may be picking up extra shifts and supporting your colleagues when understaffed.
Communication includes reading, writing, talking and listening. Employers want staff who understand and are prepared to engage professionally with other staff, their customers and suppliers through different forms of communication (verbal, nonverbal, phone, email and text) and be adaptable to suit the situation and your audience. You need to know how to demonstrate this in an interview and present yourself well. Ensure you listen to the interview questions and answer the specific questions.
Problem-solving is vital for the success of every business, which is why this skill is highly sought by employers. Businesses and organisations rely on their staff to identify and solve problems. An example of problem-solving could be how you responded to a customer complaint or where you assisted with the planning of a game with your sporting or social club.
Attention to Detail
Ensure you follow the specific requirements of the job ad when applying for a job. If the job ad asks you to include your resume and a cover letter outlining what unique skills and experience you can bring to this role, ensure you have articulated why you believe you are the best fit in your application. Following the application process as per the job ad shows your attention to detail.
Showing initiative is when you take control of a situation rather than waiting for someone to tell you what to do. A great way of using your initiative is researching the company before you have an interview, learning more things about the company, such as their products and services, who works for them, their suppliers, and their mission, purpose, vision and values. Sending a ‘Thank You’ email after your first interview is another great way of using your initiative.
Employers will want to know how you manage your time. Effective time management is important for businesses to ensure they meet deadlines and work efficiently and cost-effectively. You can demonstrate your time management skills by explaining the tools you use to best manage your time. For example, maintaining a daily and weekly To-Do List; using a calendar or diary to schedule events and tasks; explain how you prioritise your work.
Customer Service Skills
A business or organisation cannot survive without their customers. You need to know how to engage with a customer, provide good customer service, and also how to deal with difficult customers. These are all very valuable in business. In an interview, ensure you have examples of real situations dealing with people, whether it was at a part-time or casual job, work experience placements or other community activities.
Understanding your soft skills and how to demonstrate them will help you stand out in a competitive job market. Employers who advertise for a new position are looking for staff who are job-ready. To increase your chances of getting a job, check out Keyba Careers’ online program. It’s a short crash course with tips and strategies to help you become more employable!