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How to Stand Out Using Soft Skills

This week in How to Stand Out as a Job Seeker, we look at ‘soft skills’ and how they can help you nail that job application. But first, what are soft skills? Let’s take a look.

What are Soft Skills?

Soft skills, which can be applied to a variety of jobs, differ from technical skills which are usually specialised and developed for a specific position.

Simply put, soft skills are general skills that help you to interact with others and work collaboratively effectively.

Here are some of the most in-demand soft skills in the job market today:

Communication skills - the ability to express yourself clearly and effectively

Teamwork - being able to work as a team is paramount in most fields

Conflict resolution - knowing how to handle conflicts in the workplace allows you to keep things running smoothly

Problem solving - being able to show that you know how to handle unexpected problems will make you stand out

Project management - most companies expect employees to have some degree of this skill.

Being able to plan and organise deadlines and implement tasks will make you an attractive hire

Why Does it Matter?

While having the right qualifications is important to finding a job, your soft skills are what really make you stand out from the crowd.

Always in high demand, your soft skills could be the deciding factor in whether or not you get the job you want.

Take the time to take inventory of your soft skills and add them to your CV.

But don’t just say “I’m good at problem solving”; give an example! Show, don’t tell.

Illustrate to the person reading your job application that you can actually solve a problem.

How Can I Build my Soft Skills?

Fortunately, soft skills can be learned fairly easily.

Let’s take a look at a couple of ways you can boost your skillset and stand out as a job applicant.

Short Courses - the obvious solution, short courses in anything from writing to management to leadership can help you to build up your set of soft skills

Volunteering - if you have the time, volunteering at an NGO can be a great way to pick up new skills. You’ll encounter problems and have to solve them, deal with people and manage teams

Look around - you may not realise it, but you’re using your soft skills every single day. Take a close look at your day to day life and try to identify when you use your soft skills and start to hone them to a fine point

If you want to really stand out as a job seeker, refine your soft skills and be sure to list them in a meaningful way on your CV.

These skills are highly sought after and could be what guarantee you that job you want so badly.

- Conor Engelbrecht




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