Maximising Soft Skills on Your CV

The average recruiter spends just six seconds looking at a CV. That may not seem like much time, but in those six seconds, an employer makes the decision whether they like what they see and if they will invite you for an interview. When scanning CVs, employers and recruiters are quickly looking to match skills and competencies. They are checking to see if the candidate would be a good fit for their organisation and whether they have the appropriate interpersonal skills and business acumen required.

Hard Skills versus Soft Skills

Hard skills are usually specific to the particular job role and relate directly to the ability and knowledge required for that job. They quickly show the recruiter whether you have the ability to do the job they are recruiting for. Hard skills, however, don't always transfer well from one role or industry to another, unlike soft skills. Soft skills are people-focused skills. They are subjective, non-measurable skills that are not specific to just one role or sector. They generally highlight how well a person works in a team, interacts with others and gives the recruiter a valuable insight into the applicant as an individual. While they may provide less proof of experience than hard skills, they are just as important to the success of a job application.

Use Positive Language to Showcase Soft Skills

Soft skills are often more subjective and certainly harder to quantify than hard skills. They are still important skills however and can play a key part in winning you job interviews. It's important that you don't sell yourself short by describing your soft skills as an afterthought, using flat, overused words. Show them off in a more concrete way with confident, positive language. You should actively demonstrate just how your soft skills give you the skills required for this role. With each bullet point that describes a skill that the employer is looking for, use facts and figures to demonstrate just what an 'effective communicator' or 'skilled manager' you are.

Choosing Which Soft Skills to Promote

For each job you apply for you will likely need to adjust your CV so it's tailored to that specific role and organisation. You can usually find a list of desirable skills in the person specification or the job description. Use this as a guide of which skills you need to focus on highlighting. There are some soft skills that employers particularly value in the workplace. Teamwork, communication and organisation skills are often highlighted as being particularly important and valuable. Even if your previous jobs were in retail or bar work and the jobs you are going for are in different sectors, you would have certainly used these skills in those job roles. When highlighting these skills and experience on your CV, ensure you use industry terminology and language to showcase these skills. This will demonstrate a committed attitude and greater professionalism.

While many job seekers focus on highlighting their hard skills within their CV, soft skills demonstrate your interpersonal skills to the prospective employer. These skills help to inform a recruiter about how you would fit into their team and organisation and whether you have the personal skills to do the job they are recruiting for. When creating or updating your CV, make sure you spend time highlighting your soft skills in a positive and confident way and it could help you win your next job interview.


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