What are soft skills? Soft skills are non-technical and are usually more to do with how someone relates to others rather than what they know. They're often used to describe a person's EQ (emotional intelligence quotient) as opposed to IQ (intelligence quotient).
Why are they valued by employers? As organisations face more and more challenges around technology, productivity, supply chain and competition, their need to employ people with a mix of skills who can adapt and grow as business needs change, becomes increasingly important. Employees who can bring that balance of soft and hard (technical) skills to a company are therefore becoming more highly sought after.
How do I verify my soft skills? Unlike technical or job-specific skills which are usually well-defined and easily demonstrated, soft skills are harder to verify. A Diploma, Certificate or Degree can be confirmed with official documents, but identifying a willingness to learn for example, can be much harder. That's where having good examples of your soft skills to use at interview is so important, as well as knowing that your referees will be able to verify them in a reference.
Why include soft skills on my CV or Resume? Even if you don't think they're relevant to what you do, it is important to include soft as well as hard skills on your CV or Resume when updating it Yes employers are looking for technical skills and experience, but they're also looking for people who are going to "fit" their organisation and be able to adapt to changing business needs as they arise. Most job ads have a "Skills & Experience" or "Who we're looking for" section and many of the bullet points will relate to soft skills. Here's an example of an advert for a Mechanical Engineer, with the soft skills they're looking for in bold:
Strong communication skills and confidence in liaising directly with customers
An outstanding attitude towards customer service
The ability to manage multiple projects for fast paced fabrication and production workshops
An ability to translate customer information and drawings into robust fabrication instructions
Organised work practices, excellent multi-tasking and priority setting abilities
Flexibility with a ‘can do' attitude and a focus on meeting deadlines
An excellent attitude and ability to work in a high performing team
The ability to work autonomously within a dynamic and changing environment
Self-motivation with lots of energy and drive If you were applying for this role, you'd almost certainly want to include some of the soft skills on your CV or Resume - assuming as previously mentioned - that you can give examples at interview and get them backed up by referees Some other examples of soft skills
Excellent interpersonal skills
A willingness to learn or a quick learner
Mentoring or coaching ability
Finally, if you're contemplating a change of job or career and wonder how you can get a foot in the door, it's good to know that many employers are now starting to embrace soft and transferrable skills. They realise that technical skills can be learnt but not so easy to teach someone how to relate to colleagues or communicate with customers. I'll be doing a post soon on transferrable skills and how to use them on your CV or Resume!