For workplace success, soft skills are crucial. Soft skills, also known as "interpersonal skills" or “social skills”, are the skills we use to communicate and interact with others. These skills can be both verbal (how you talk to others) or non-verbal (how you use body language, gestures, and eye contact).
Why employers value soft skills
Essential soft skills include effective communication skills. These soft skills, while they are important for professionals, can be acquired through training or education. However, the more personal qualities that are developed when you interact with others are crucial to succeeding.
Nearly every job requires soft skills. You must be able to work in a team and get along with other people. You must be able to listen to clients' concerns and questions if you are working with them. You will need to motivate employees if you are a manager.
Employers are always looking for people with soft skills. Your CV, cover letter and during your interview, it should demonstrate your soft skills.
Five Top Soft skills
Here is a list of the top five skills employers look for in job candidates. Check out these tips to help you represent your soft skills during your job search.
You must be able to understand others' feelings to interact well. This is a two-part task. You need to first understand what people feel. For example, a customer might be frustrated by a broken widget, or a co-worker may be overwhelmed by a project. Empathy is second in relating to others.
Clients who approach you with questions and problems need empathy. It is important to show genuine concern and help them solve their problems.
This skill is valued by employees because it promotes collaboration and fosters strong workplace relationships.
2. Teamwork makes the dream work
When you are working in a group, cooperation is essential. You will need to work with others to achieve a common goal. Even if you do not work in a group, cooperation is necessary when you are asked for help to achieve organizational goals.
Employers prefer candidates who can work with others and do not hinder progress.
3. Verbal and written communication
Verbal communication refers to the ability to communicate clearly with others using clear language. When you communicate with others, whether in person or over the phone, you will need to have good verbal communication skills. Writing communication is essential when you send an email, WhatsApp, SMS or by means of any other communication medium.
Communication skills are vital, no matter what role you play in the company. You will not be able to share information about your work, its importance, or when you need to seek help from others without them.
Listening is another important communication skill that will help you communicate well with others. This includes listening to your employer, your co-workers, and your employees. Listen to your clients and show that you understand their concerns. When people feel heard, they respond well to other people.
5. Non-verbal communication
Non-verbal communication is just as important as verbal communication. Your body language, eye contact and facial expressions can show that you are empathetic and that you are paying attention to them. People will be more likely to engage with you if you smile than if they see you with a frown on your face.
How to show your soft skills during a job search
Throughout your job search, show that you have all these skills. First, make sure you include the soft skills words ("empathy," cooperation," verbal and written communication," listening," non-verbal communication") in your CV.
These words can also be used in your cover letter. You can mention these skills in your cover letter by providing specific examples of when you have used them at work.
These skill words can be used in interviews. You should have at least one example where you have used each of these skills. Each job requires different skills and experience, so ensure you carefully read the job description and pay attention to the skills that the employer has listed.
Use both verbal and non-verbal communication skills to communicate your interest in the employer, the job, and your enthusiasm for the interview. Listen carefully and speak clearly. These interpersonal skills are the best way for employers to see that you can excel in the job they offer.
How to improve your soft skills
Some people are born with soft skills. However, this is not true for everyone. These areas can lead to negative feedback, and you may have difficulty with essential soft skills. Prioritise improving them.
These are some strategies that you can try:
Learn from others: Pay attention to how your friends, family, and co-workers interact with each other. Next, try to emulate their methods. You may soon find it becomes second nature.
Make small talk a habit: People may perceive shyness as being withdrawn around co-workers. You can practice small talk and engage in conversation with others. Begin with one conversation per week, and escalate it from there.
Try to convey interest: If you are interested in learning more, it will be easier to have conversations and make connections with others.
Pay attention and speak clearly: Listen to what others are saying carefully. When it is your turn, listen to what others are saying and then speak clearly. You can.
Analyse how you portray yourself: To get a better understanding of your non-verbal abilities, it may be helpful to ask friends for photos or videos of yourself. You may find that you frown when speaking with others. You might also find that you prefer to sit in the corner, hunched over, during meetings. It can make a big difference in how you present yourself to others by practising eye contact, keeping your eyes open, and using non-verbal communication.
Watch: 5 Soft Skills You Will Need To Grow & Be Successful In Your Career