CPD tips - The best skills to learn as a job seeker

CPD tips - The best skills to learn as a job seeker

04 Aug 2022

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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.

Communication skills

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.

Practice

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.

Communication courses

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.

CPD communication courses

Good listening skills

It might sound obvious, but listening to others effectively is a hugely important skill to have in the workplace. And yes, most people may think they’re good listeners, but studies have shown that the average person listens at around 25% efficiency.

How to improve your listening skills

Look at the speaker

Looking directly at the speaker ensures you’re offering them your undivided attention and helps limit other distractions.

Try not to focus on how you’re going to respond

It’s very difficult to focus on preparing a response and listen properly at the same time. Try to stay present and not think about what you need to add to the conversation.

Don’t interrupt

Not only can interruptions be frustrating for the speaker, but if you interrupt, it can sidetrack the conversation away from the key information that needs to be communicated.

Acknowledge non-verbal cues

When we communicate verbally, it’s not just the words we say that help us communicate. Try to take account of the body language of who you’re listening to; are they smiling? Are their arms crossed? Is their tone excited? Or do they seem exasperated? All of these things can add valuable context to the conversation and what is being communicated. Learning how to become a better active listener requires practice and undertaking a listening course can be the best way to develop this skill.

Looking to make your CV stronger?

Established in 1996, The CPD Certification Service is the largest and leading independent Continuing Professional Development accreditation organisation working across all sectors.  

We have a wide array of courses, workshops, and seminars that can help you develop skills and broaden your understanding to bolster your CV. You can search our CPD Course Catalogue by industry or by using the CPD search bar to find relevant learning for your ongoing professional development. To find out more about why CPD is so helpful for your CV, please read our previous article: Is CPD Good For My CV

We hope this article was helpful. If you are looking to become an accredited CPD Provider, please contact our team to discuss your requirements in more detail. Alternatively if you are looking to record your CPD, please go the myCPD Portal where you can manage, track and log your learning in one simple place.

CPD News Team

For more information from CPD News Team, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.

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