If you have a skills-based CV - or even just a short section outlining your demonstrable skills – you’ll have spent a lot of time questioning which “skills” make the cut, and which just aren’t worth mentioning.
Do you put “Word” in? Is that too obvious? What about “great communicator," or “adaptable”?
Hard skills are those you could have a qualification in, that are more easily quantified - like Photoshop or Hootsuite, for example. These are, especially if they're directly relevant to the job, generally worth highlighting. The difficulty comes when considering soft skills. Can't everyone say they're organised - is there any point including it? Well, recent research has revealed the most in-demand soft skills which, if you have them, you should probably start shouting about somewhere on your CV.
LinkedIn surveyed 291 hiring managers and found that the majority (59%) of them believed soft skills are tough to find in a potential job candidate. They then studied LinkedIn members who had changed their job title between June 2014 and June 2015, and the skills they listed on their profile.
Those who had been able to land a new job listed certain soft skills in common, suggesting they are the most sought-after by employers - and proving that some brief mention of these soft skills could be vital to getting your application noticed.
The top 10 most in-demand soft skills:
If you're struggling to figure out which soft skills to include on your CV, you might want to start here. But this goes without saying: only include those you're confident you can demonstrate in an interview.
5. Critical thinking
6. Social skills
8. Interpersonal communication
10. Friendly personality
Some of the above may seem generic, but if you can back them up with anecdotal evidence then they could prove invaluable.
For example, you can pull from soft skills you developed pursuing hobbies and interests at uni:
“Coordinated my university’s Dance Society for over a year, a role in which I effectively communicated with and organised friends, potential new starters and sponsorship partners. Quickly adapting to each new scenario and responding appropriately is now a skill I can utilise to fit into any new team.”
This example demonstrates a situation in which you used your communication skills, organisation skills and flair for interpersonal communication - plus, you were adaptable and a team player. Not bad for two short sentences.
Or, from the work experience you've built up so far:
“Working in my local pub taught me the importance of utilising social skills in a working environment. I developed relationships with clientele, mastered how to manage tough customers and always brought a positive attitude to the team, which saw me get promoted to supervisor for two shifts per week."
Here, you've shown you can work well within a team and in a customer-facing environment, talking to lots of different people in a sometimes high-pressure environment. You also show you have a friendly personality and, clearly, you excelled at these soft skills as they led to you being given more responsibility.
The 10 industries where soft skills are most common:
On top of this, LinkedIn calculated the percentage of skills members list that are soft skills, specifically. They then revealed the industries in which soft skills are most common among workers.
So, if you’re applying for a job in one of the sectors below, and hold some of the skills above, you should absolutely be talking about them - the people you'll be competing with for the job probably will be.
2. Customer services
3. Professional training
6. Facilities services
8. Family services
9. Health, wellness and fitness
10. Food & beverages
The key when talking about soft skills is to use examples and specifics to substantiate them. "Team player" sounds vague, but you can be more convincing by detailing the size of the team you worked with, the specifics of the work environment and by including anecdotal evidence of situations that called upon you to be a team player. When it's done the right way, the inclusion of soft skills can make a big difference to your CV.