When applying for a job, people tend to focus on showcasing their experience and knowledge that is very specific to the role in question and can often overlook the personal skills and attributes they will bring to the role too.
These different types of skills are commonly known as hard and soft skills, with hard skills referring to the job-specific qualities and soft skills referring to the personal attributes that allow you to thrive in the workplace. You’ll likely have a number of ways in which you’ve applied these skills in your personal life, which means you’ll be able to draw on them when job seeking regardless of your experience level.
We’ve pulled together our top three soft skills to develop that are great to reference when job hunting in order to give you the best chance of landing the role.
The ability to learn
No matter how senior, there isn’t a single person who knows everything about their industry. Being able to learn new things, whether that’s a new skill, new information, or new ways of working, will always be an essential soft skill to possess in the workplace. If you can show an interviewer that you have a strong capacity to learn, you’ll definitely impress.
Why is it so important to show a strong ability to learn?
Firstly, you’ll be able to get up to speed quickly. For someone looking to onboard new starters, this is a massive bonus. Also, recruiting someone is an investment. If a new employee can showcase the ability to learn new things effectively, they’re likely to be able to progress well and deliver on the investment in recruiting, hiring, and nurturing them as an employee.
How can you showcase you have the ability to learn?
An easy way is to explain how you learn new things. Not only will this demonstrate your capacity to learn but it’s also a great fallback if you’re asked about something you don’t know. Rather than panicking about not knowing the answer, explain how you’d go about learning or understanding the matter in question. Would you do some initial reading? Write down key points? Try to apply the knowledge in some way? Try to explain it to a friend to test yourself? Detailing your own learning strategies in this way clearly demonstrates your ability to learn to a recruiter.
Interpersonal skills are likely to be on an employer’s radar, especially if the role involves working as part of a wider team. But more broadly, learning to communicate better is something that everyone will benefit from continuously developing throughout their career.
How to improve your communication skills
Identify areas of improvement
Communication covers a range of attributes from writing clearly to speaking confidently to listening effectively (among others). You’ll naturally excel in some areas but be weaker in others, so a great place to start is to examine your strengths and weaknesses to focus on the main aspects to improve on.
Ask for feedback
This is one of the best ways to determine your strengths and weaknesses. Ask someone that you trust (like a line manager, mentor or colleague) for honest feedback and possible suggestions on ways you could communicate better.
Whether it’s active listening; writing clear and concise sentences; or public speaking, make time to research the fundamentals of communication and put them into practice. Set yourself goals to keep yourself on track and to give yourself something to work towards.
The best way to improve your communication skills is by taking a course. On our website you can find a numerous courses on communication skills that have been reviewed and assessed to meet the required industry high standards and have been accredited on behalf of our CPD providers. Many of these are entirely online, meaning they can be taken around any existing commitments.