How important are soft skills for employability?

We recently talked about how you can boost your employability while still at university – one way you can do this is by developing and honing your soft skills.

What are soft skills?

Whereas ‘hard skills’ is used to describe demonstrable job-specific skills – such as the ability to code in PHP – ‘soft skills’ are more indicative of character traits, people skills and emotional intelligence. Specific hard skills can be gained through courses or training, but soft skills are more likely to develop in a different way – for example through working in a team. Soft skills are also transferable across a wide variety of careers, you may not need to be fluent in Portuguese for some roles, but it’s likely you will need to be a good communicator or be able to work in a team.

Which soft skills are key?

Communication 📢
Often topping lists of soft skills as being the mostimportant is the ability to communicate. This means that you are able to express yourself well, this could be written form or orally, in a meeting or presentation for example. Communication is a core part of functioning well as part of team – which takes us on to…

Teamwork 👍
In most jobs you will have to work in a team at some point. Whether it’s working together to get a product to market, or creating an important pitch to an investor, teamwork is often an invaluable way to stimulate creativity.

Time management 🕒
Let’s face it, 9am lectures aren’t a favourite among students, but in the world of work, being punctual is highly important. Time management doesn’t just mean showing up to work on time, but also being able to keep on top of deadlines and often juggling competing tasks.

How can you demonstrate your soft skills?

Unlike hard skills you can’t complete an exam or a piece of coursework to prove that you are proficient in a soft skill. Instead, studying modules and taking part in activities that develop these skills is a great way to demonstrate to an employer your soft skills. Perhaps you’ve delivered a group presentation as part of a university module – this develops your skills in teamworking and presentation. Partaking in volunteer work can help you hone communication and time management skills. Be sure to keep on all the ways you might be building these skills during your time at university!

Don’t forget, you can list your soft skills on your Gradintelligence profile to let employers know which areas you excel in!

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