While most job seekers try to highlight their specific technical skills and experience when applying to jobs, that’s not all that employers are looking for in 2024’s job market.
If you want to stand out amongst other candidates, it’s also important to showcase your soft skills. Soft skills are non-technical skills and personal qualities that impact how you work, and include traits like teamwork abilities, leadership, time management, and so on.
If you’re looking to have an edge in your job hunt (or upgrade your career!), we’ll go over some of the most important soft skills you should develop. As a bonus, these skills and capabilities also count as skills to put on a CV or mention during your job interview.
Technology has been advancing at a rapid pace over the last few years, with nearly 60% of all companies in the UK using computers at their workplace.
However, that’s not to say that employees’ technological literacy has also grown. In fact, a recent survey by FutureDotNow found that 32% of UK workers with basic digital skills still can’t use digital systems.
Technological literacy refers to the ability to interact with files, use office applications such as Excel or Docs, write emails, use search engines like Google, and understand basic Internet security principles. Modern employers increasingly expect their employees to be able to easily interact with computers and technology, which is why more workplaces are looking for employees who already have such skills.
One skill that has proven itself across virtually every industry over the last few years is none other than communication. Using and practising this soft skill is a surefire way to advance your career, make acquaintances and business partners during networking events, and resolve any underlying conflicts with ease.
However, communication doesn’t stop at talking at meetings and presentations. Writing emails, drafting business memos, and creating organised reports also require the ability to communicate your thoughts and ideas in a clear way.
If improving your communication skills is a priority, there are several steps that you can take.
Consider joining a Toastmasters near you, which is a global organisation that helps people improve their speaking and communication skills. These groups typically meet once or twice a month and practice speeches on various topics. Another great resource is to read self-help books like How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, which is full of helpful strategies that you can easily use in daily life.
Last but not least, make it a habit to practise communicating with various people (both in conversation and in written form!) and see how quickly your skills improve.
As they say, teamwork makes the dream work!
Teamwork is another soft skill that will make your work easier, fun, and more efficient. Although this skill is nice to have across many industries, it’s especially important in sectors like Human Resources, Recruiting, Media (advertising, marketing, etc), Sales, and Entertainment.
The ability to work effectively in a team will help you find a common language with colleagues in order to achieve your common goals; exchange suggestions and brainstorm ideas; and be more productive on challenging projects.
If you want to develop your teamwork skills, you can sign up for quick online courses or watch YouTube videos. If you’re already working at a company that offers training, inquire with HR and see when the next class is.
Ever since the invention of the internet, the world has become increasingly interconnected — and now people that are thousands of kilometres apart can communicate with each other in nanoseconds. That also goes for companies, employees, and clients as well!
Companies are increasingly on the lookout for employees with a knowledge of foreign languages, as it opens up opportunities for new partnerships and expansions into other countries.
Some of the most in-demand languages in today’s job market include Spanish, German, French, and Chinese (Mandarin). Interestingly, German is the most in-demand foreign language in the UK and also the highest paid language!
If your knowledge of a foreign language ends at Hola or Guten Morgen, there’s nothing to fear. If you have a few extra hours per week, we recommend enrolling in a foreign language course or hiring a native tutor to brush up on those skills. If you prefer to self-study, there are dozens of free and paid resources like Duolingo, Rosetta Stone, or Babbel.
Adaptability & Specialized Technical Skills
Last but certainly not least, we have a twofer: adaptability and technical skills. Whether it’s healthcare, technology, commerce, or media, your industry is constantly changing — and staying on top of the latest trends and developments is an excellent way to move up in your career.
The best way to stay adaptable is by taking courses, seminars, and certificate programs to stay up to date. For example, those working in healthcare can join an NHS conference, while programmers can take part in open-source projects or learn a new language (i.e. Python or C++).
By staying on top of the latest trends, you’ll always be in demand!