HR/Recruiter Advice, Insights

5 Soft Skills That Recruiters Want You to Have

Businesswomen enjoying coffee break talking in sunny lobby

Recruiters understand that companies are looking for a mix of hard and soft skills in potential candidate. Soft skills can thought of as your interpersonal skills (like communication), whereas hard skills are those which you develop through training, education or certifications — these are often more quantifiable. Another way to think about the difference between the two is simple: hard skills are what you do, and soft skills are how you do it.

While hard skills can be trained, soft skills are harder to develop in employees. As such, recruiters understand that it’s increasingly important to market your interpersonal abilities, not just previous jobs, certifications and the like.

In fact, 35 percent of recruiters say that soft skills are one of the top trends reshaping the industry in coming years, according to the LinkedIn Global Recruiting Trends Report. Another report by Deloitte also shows that soft skill-intensive occupations will account for two-thirds of all jobs by 2030.

However, if you’re not careful, soft skills can sound overgeneralised and cliche on a CV (think: “hard worker with positive attitude”). To make an impact, emphasise the following five soft skills so you can stand out from other applicants.

1. Project Management

Use instead of “multitasking”

Project management requires you to be a master multitasker. But putting this on your resume shows that you can take this soft skill one step further. If you have project management skills, it shows that you can work with multiple stakeholders to organise, prioritise and see a project through ideation to completion, critical for many employees in today’s collaboration-focused workplace.

The good news is, you might have project management skills without even realising it. Have you ever coordinated with multiple departments? Have you served as a point person to complete a project on time and under budget?

These illustrate your ability to plan and manage people, which are critical skills if you want to move into project management or related positions, according to Laura Slater, Learning and Development Consultant. She explains: “Effective planning covers managing the project life cycle from initial analysis through to implementation and evaluation, ensuring the right things are done in the right sequence at the right time by the right people.”

2. Resilience

Use instead of “problem-solving”

Resilience in the workplace represents the ability to stay motivated and focussed, despite unexpected roadblocks. For many positions, unless you’re in a direct leadership role, you might not be solving problems or putting out the fires, but you’re still susceptible to the heat. Resilience suggests that, as an employee, you can work well in changing environments, and ride out the ebbs and flows of daily issues.

To a recruiter, this skill sums up several character traits for a valuable employee — perseverance, ability to work under pressure and adaptability. Corinne Mills, Career Coach, suggests putting this term in your personal statement to make the greatest impact.

3. Collaboration

Use instead of “team player”

Most jobs require you to have regular contact with either clients or co-workers, and your ability to be a “team player” should be a given as both a functioning adult and a working professional. Collaboration takes this soft skill one step further because it ensures that you can not only successfully interact with your colleagues but work effectively with them. You know how to work cross-functionally to achieve results.

A recruiter may also want you to use quantitative data or specifics to support this if possible. For example, “Collaborated with department leads to execute quarterly revenue project, resulting in €X earned for the company.”

4. Emotional Intelligence

Use instead of “effective written and verbal communication”

All job candidates should be able to read, write and listen in a professional setting. General communication soft skills are no longer sellable for recruiters. Emotional intelligence says you not only know how to communicate but also perceive and read situations. If you’re emotionally intelligent, you’re not just listening to co-workers and bosses, but comprehending what they mean and need.

Being emotionally intelligent is becoming more and more important to businesses. According to 2018 data from Robert Half UK, 60 percent of UK businesses feel having a high emotional intelligence score is critical for employees. Yet 25 percent feel this skill is undervalued in the hiring process. Stand out among other candidates by putting this skill front and centre on your C.V.

5. Research

Use instead of ”detail-oriented”

Knowing how to research effectively is an invaluable skill that applies to most industries and roles. If you’re a candidate who knows how to research, you know that this skill requires more than just a cursory knowledge of Google. It means that you’re resourceful enough to find, collect and present information that’s critical to a project or company initiative.

Recruiters want this soft skill, not only for its tangible value to many jobs, but because it also says a lot about your character as a worker. Use your CV as a chance to show that, as an avid researcher, you take the initiative, are a self-starter and someone who works to solve a problem before going to the boss.

Cultivate Your Soft Skills To Find Your Perfect Position

Step outside the box and impress recruiters and hiring managers by turning your soft skills into a professional representation of what you can offer, in addition to any certifications, previous experience and training you might have. The right mix is crucial to landing the job you want.

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