Identifying your top soft skills – What are employers looking for?

plush-dog-teddy-bear-soft-toy-softIt can be hard to know what employers are looking for. It’s a bit like trying to figure out what the best diet is, or which new smartphone to buy – everything you read says something different. One week you absolutely have to know HTML, the next being able to grow your Twitter followers and go viral is the thing. So how can you cut through the noise? Focus on Soft Skills and you can’t go wrong.

First up we recommend you learn what the 8 soft skills mean. There are a lot of different soft skills but we think they all boil down to the 8 we have:

  • Analysis: An eye for detail or someone who can see data and connect the dots. They can turn a stat into activity. They do this by knowing how to first find the numbers, then how to analyse them, then finally they use their knowledge to tie their findings to solutions.
  • Commerciality: Businesses usually get started to solve a problem, but beneath that the business has to stack up commercially. This means understanding what customers will buy, why and when they will buy and how to use this information to improve your business. Sales or strategy people need this in abundance.
  • Creativity: Typically people think of the Pablo Picasso’s of the world as being creative. This is true; he was a creative genius – but that doesn’t mean that you can’t be creative too. Most roles require a bit of creativity and all that really means is that you can connect the dots and come out with a new idea.
  • Leadership: We all recognise a strong leader, from your Richard Branson’s to your Steve Jobs. Whilst you’re still young its hard to believe you could show leadership, but if you’ve ever captained a football team, managed in a bard or been a prefect, these things all count.
  • Organisation: Everyone knows that one person who lines up their pencils and pens and whose room is always tidy. In business organisation is about much more than that. Some of the best minds fail because they do not create a structure or process to get the best out of themselves. Managing your time well and creating a process that others can follow is invaluable in business.
  • Resilience: Otherwise known as grit and determination, this is for those of you who get out of bed early to do sports and those of you who stick at that instrument for years even when it was a struggle to get past playing 3 blind mice. Employers want to know that you won’t fall at the first hurdle – it is fine to fail but only if you persevere and get to the right solution.
  • Teamwork: No man is an island. It is important that what you do has real value not just for the business but to help your other team-mates. The sum is often greater than the whole and if you help your team-mates and they help you, it can make sure the business grows quickly.

Understanding the 8 soft skills is the biggest step to knowing which ones are your strongest. However, if you’re still in doubt, ask an ex employee or lecturer, often people who know you best will know your strengths. If that isn’t on the cards just look back at your past experience objectively, if you always seem to be put forward as the captain, odds are you are a natural leader.Developing all of these skills by doing a range of activities will definitely make you more employable and at Rise To we can help you do that. Simply sign up and on the dashboard head over to ‘Improve your skills’ and we recommend the best resources for you to improve.

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