The selection criteria for highly-skilled jobs is shifting, with more weight assigned to a new wave of soft skills – which few jobseekers are promoting on their CV and in interviews, according to recruiting expert Hays.
These skills include a willingness to learn, adaptability and respect for the ideas of others.
“To be job-ready, you need to offer a complete package of advanced technical skills, which remain in high demand, as well as progressive soft skills,” says Nick Deligiannis, managing director of Hays in Australia and New Zealand.
“The world of work changes rapidly, with digital innovation altering the way we operate and the skills we need. Employers are updating selection criteria accordingly with new soft skills joining communication and organisation as essential for today’s jobseekers,” he says.
According to Hays, today’s most commonly requested soft skills are:
1. A willingness to learn
“A willingness to learn tops the list of soft skills sought,” says Deligiannis. “The ideal employee listens to webinars and podcasts, looks at what the competition is doing, keeps an eye on customer feedback, recommends news articles to their colleagues and creates email alerts for themselves surrounding relevant topics.
“This goes hand in hand with being self-aware. As changes occur in your industry, you must have the self-awareness needed to spot any new gaps in your skills and knowledge, and seek to bridge them.”
2. A customer focus
“Most businesses are steered by their customers and the ways in which customer buying patterns evolve,” notes Deligiannis. “For instance, sports fans will now buy match tickets via a third party app rather than at a stadium box office and holiday makers will go on price comparison sites for the best deal before booking their flights. Technology changes consumer behaviour, and organisations require employees who are in-tune with these changes.”
“An ability to accept and adapt to change is important too because, like it or not, change is part of the modern working world. Whether organisational, technological or skills-based, the jobs we do and the way we do them is and will change again and again. Since we don’t know what those changes will be, employers want people who can move out of their comfort zone and see change as an opportunity for growth and innovation.”
4. Interpersonal and communication skills
“It is all well and good learning something new every day and thinking of smart solutions to challenges, but these soft skills get lost if you don’t communicate your knowledge to others,” says Deligiannis. “That’s why employers still require jobseekers who possess exceptional communication skills and are comfortable speaking with people at all levels of an organisation in a professional manner.”
5. Respect for the ideas of others
“Yes, an individual must bring ideas to the table and communicate their views effectively but, crucially, they must also respect each other’s ideas,” Deligiannis explains. “In workplaces that embrace diversity of thought and collaboration, debates sometimes ensue and push people to come up with more innovative solutions to the problem or issue at hand. But you must be able to keep the debate on-task and professional, never personal.”
6. Organisational skills
“Organisational skills remain a focus with employers still looking for new recruits who can effectively organise their time to ensure productivity is maximised, deadlines are met, resources are coordinated and no details are missed,” he says.
“Being ahead of the curve by developing these job-ready soft skills will help you stand out to employers, both now and in the future,” says Deligiannis. “And when combined with digital literacy and relevant technical skills, a solid soft-skills base will future-proof your career in the years ahead.”
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