- Soft Skills: What’s Hot?
- Soft Skills Audit Notes to Think Through Your Career Choices
- Welcome to your Soft Skills Questionnaire
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‘Soft skills’ are increasingly valued within organisations. Your ability to influence your career with others is essential in getting what you really want from work and life. Undervalued by those with ‘traditional’ functional competence, but essential for ‘getting on’.
The quick Soft Skills Audit below builds on on your Personal Branding by understanding your soft skills across 15 areas. Although not all-embracing, it will provide you with valuable material for defining what you want, marketing yourself through your CV or resume, and selling yourself in the interview situation. Rating yourself against each skill has value in itself. However, by also providing examples, you will have the material necessary for interview – good interviewers ask for examples (episodic or competence-based interviewing).
We have throughout this site talked about how you can think about the career you want in terms of a group of skills (including soft skills), rather than identify a job title. Increasingly employers are understanding the concept of ‘transferability of skills’. You can read an interesting academic article by Kathryn L Shaw on the subject here.
Although ‘soft skills’ usually refers to skills that are associated with interaction, we have broadened the definition for the audit. This is so you can gain a more holistic view of your skills.
Before taking the Soft Skills Audit towards the bottom of this page, you may also wish to undertake a short skills check-list. You can download this by completing the form below. This will also register you with us for new article and tips of getting the right career.
Please provide your name and email address for your free download.
Soft Skills: What’s Hot?
According to the UK’s National Careers Service, employers are particularly looking for certain soft skills. These are:
Perhaps the most important of soft skills. This is about getting along with others, listening attentively, understanding directions, and changing your style of communication to meet the needs of the other person. It is a very all-embracing soft skill, and includes speaking to groups, selling concepts and products, and written communication in a way that a person understands.
This is about actually making a decision, but one based on analysis. Analysis can be in many forms and includes creating a range of options and alternatives. It is about judgement in decision-making, and considering risks and opportunities. Interestingly, some personality types struggle with making decisions at all. Find out if you are a natural decision maker through our personality test.
Being Committed and Resilient
Employers want staff that will be ‘engaged’ and actively contribute to their business, rather than just doing the job. Sure, reliability, dependability and hard-working are all expected. But going the extra mile for your employer generally means more profit for the business. Resilience means getting up again after a knock or a failure. For our recruitment agency, we are seeing a growth in the need for resilience in employees.
Personal Change and Adaptation
There is little choice. The world is moving faster, and so is the world of work. Companies that react to changes survive, whilst those that do not, slowly sink. With the nature of work changing so rapidly, unless you change and adapt, then you are likely to be labelled as a ‘dinosaur’ or ‘yesterday’s person’. Not nice, but it is the way it is. When employers see a ‘can do’ approach, it becomes a big tick on the interview scoring sheet. A great soft skill for progressing your career.
Self and Time Management
Resources are stretched within all but the most cash-rich organisations. This s unlikely to change. Staff increasingly ‘double-hat’ (do more than one job), and as organisations restructure or down-size, the work still has to be done. That means organisations want people who are efficient, and can decide priorities based on objectives and pay-back to the business. It means ‘spinning plates’ continuously, and maximising outputs.
Organisations look for actual leadership skills, or the ‘potential’ for developing leadership skills. This is possibly one of the oldest required set of soft skills, and things will not change for the foreseeable future. Being positive, showing your ability to listen, make decisions, and do what is right are important aspects for those seeking leadership roles.
Creativity and Problem-Solving Soft Skills
Although these are two separate sets of soft skills, problem solving is a continual need within any organisation. As the pace of organisations increases, problems have to be solved at a faster pace or there is usually a profit implication. The creativity can be both logical or theoretical (wacky). Of course, if you find the problem and come to your boss with a range of possible solutions, then that is just about perfect!
That means the buck stops with you. Get it right, and it is you that is praised. Get it wrong, and it is your responsibility. The days of being ‘pulled over coals’ for making the wrong decision are slowly disappearing. Have a logically argument for why you made the wrong decisions, and it is usually allowable. Next time you are in that meeting, just say, “I will look after that”.
Soft Skills Audit Notes to Think Through Your Career Choices
Note 1: Areas for development very much depend on your desires and these will have been informed by your Personality, Culture Fit and Personal Values questionnaires. Think about the following examples. These are extremes and you may wish to pursue a combination of these:
- Generalist – it may be that you want to be a generalist. In this case simply raising their lowest percentage scores may be best.
- Specialist 1 – you may want to further enhance those scores where you are already competent to assure that competence. In this case you need to simply find those areas you are already competent in and further develop them.
- Specialist 2 – you could simply want roles in the future utilising those competencies that you enjoy most which you may/may not already be competent in. In this case they would design your development concentrating on those areas.
- Role specific – you may already have formed some ideas about the type of role you wish to develop into. In this case, you need to get feedback or second-guess the competence requirements of the role. Then plot yourself against those needs. This will produce ‘development gaps’. Your development should then focus on those gaps.
Note 2: When defining the solutions to the areas for development, remember to think laterally. A training course is just way of developing an area. What about:
- Self-learning/development – reading, web-based training, external courses.
- Coaching, being mentored and shadowing.
- Delegation from above, peers and those reporting to the person on a temporary basis, for very defined tasks, or as part of job enlargement.
- Secondment or attachment, and so on.
When you have completed this section, you may wish to move on to your achievements. This is essential for both CV’s and interviews.
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