What Employers Really Want (Part II)

What Employers Really Want (Part II)The Importance of ‘Soft Skills’

Keeping in theme from last week’s post on “street smarts”, we thought it wise to outline some more soft skills that would be helpful to jobseekers.  Remember while it’s important to have the required skills and core competencies for the role you’re applying for, they’re not the only things hiring managers look for.  The ‘edge’ or more importantly ‘your ‘edge’, may lie outside a textbook.

While soft skills are often acquired innately, they can be learned, though not normally via a formal learning environment.  Day to day life offers these lessons up as a matter of course and you choose whether to acquire the learning or not.  The greatest aspect to this is that everyone has access to them and they don’t cost a thing.

Here are a few soft skills or qualities that may help in your job hunting:

Leadership skills.  This is a must not only for those who are pursuing supervisory roles, but also for those who want to eventually rise up in the ranks.  Formal experience isn’t the be-all-and-end-all here, the ability to demonstrate you can lead is just as important.  Make mention of instances where you’ve taken the reins or been instrumental in helping bring about change.

Being a team player.  This means being able to work well with others even if you do not have a team of your own.  Organisations want people who interact well with others when required.  Be sure to talk about how you can easily work with not only people in your team but also with others who you might need to collaborate with.

Being goal-oriented.  This doesn’t mean that you’ll simply set goals for yourself in the office, it may be more impacting to discuss your personal goals too.  Setting goals is proven to improve your chances of success both personally and professionally (writing goals down improves success even further!).  Employers want people who set standards for themselves and that employing goal setters will ultimately help the organisation.

Communication skills.  Being an excellent communicator can definitely be an edge over other candidates.  Employers desire people who can speak and write clearly as it means they do not have to worry about the content being conveyed to other staff and clients.  With communication being so powerful, both in good and bad ways, it’s understandable why this is one of the most sort after soft skills.

Multitasking.  In this day and age, employers are on the look out for people who can ‘wear many hats’ or take care of different duties at the same time.  If you’re able to manage multiple duties then you’ll be a valuable addition to any team and it will definitely give you an edge over other candidates.  And before you say it, yes men can multitask too, although it appears to come more naturally to the female of our species.

Sense of humour.  Often, hiring managers would ask candidates to tell jokes during interviews.  While you don’t necessarily have to get them laughing uncontrollably, it’s a plus if you can tell a joke well.  This can be quite useful if you ever need to diffuse a tense situation in the workplace or to lower the stress levels that your teammates are dealing with.

Remember you won’t have a certificate or diploma to prove these skills are at your disposal, meaning you’ll have to rely on your wits to demonstrate your capabilities in these areas. The best method for demonstrating you have these skills is to outline their use in real world situations i.e. Where have you used them?, What problem did they help you solve?, Why were they integral to solving said problem?

Good luck and be sure to let us know if we’ve left any of your favourites out or if we can improve on any we’ve included.  Happy hunting!


Leigh Grigaliunas

Leigh is an owner and co-founder of School Hours Pty Ltd.Leigh's passion for helping others coupled with his desire to achieve a balance between raising children and earning a living, lead him to create School Hours Pty Ltd with his wife Yasmin.School Hours will be the place to go for Australian parents wanting to connect with progressive thinking, family friendly employers.

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