Updated: Dec 4, 2020
The World of Work is rapidly changing. In a future driven by globalisation, an ageing population, shifting global economic power, climate change, soft skills will be crucial, and the passport to your continued career success. The pace of uncertainty and constant transformation means employees will need to deal with change positively, requiring soft skills to be enhanced, developed and deployed effectively to reflect resilience and agility.
We have all witnessed how a global Pandemic swiftly infiltrated our lives, upstaging our daily routines and blurring the lines between work and home. The Fallout from COVID- 19 has forced job seekers to reinvent themselves as certain roles become obsolete.
However, amid this pandemic and the surrounding economic implications, several opportunities are arising in specific industries, and many of these companies in these fields are experiencing unprecedented growth.
The Case for Harnessing Your Soft Skills
As a job seeker, you may want to consider a career change, taking time to re-evaluate how you can leverage your skillset and expertise for one of these thriving industries. From my work as a Career Coach, I have seen a tendency for job seekers to throw all their intellectual output into gaining fresh new digital and tech skills. Digitally-literate and tech competency means becoming future-ready. Advances in technology continue to benefit us on a societal and an individual level, but it’s still the human skills/soft skills – such as the ability to think creatively and articulate ideas – that will provide opportunities in future workplaces.
Off course, the degree of change differs across various sectors and different types of organisations, however, as technology accelerates, new software solutions will be needed to ensure humans and machines are connected, demanding a workforce of high-level problem solvers and creators. Whether designing new tools or providing a public service, the focus will be on the end-user – humans – so employees will need to understand people, with empathy and emotional intelligence, which may get hard as human-to-human contact diminishes.
So what does this mean for you and your career?
78% of hiring managers and employers rank skills as the most important factor when recruiting. All hiring managers will have a priority list, but research shows that typically a core set of skills is desired.
The degree of unpredictability will continue to be part and parcel of the world of work, which has implications and opportunities for how hiring Managers resource for new employees like you.
There are core soft skills that employers will need to bridge the gap between the old world and the new economy. Many of these skills are within your possession but are not getting the attention they deserve when it comes to articulating your value to a prospective employer and hiring managers.
Below are some examples of what Hiring Managers are looking for in their organisation and an example of soft skills you will need to demonstrate:
✔️The need to find employees for organisations that are regularly contracting and expanding. Agility
✔️The capacity to cope with situations of rapid growth in numbers and rapid decline. Resilience
✔️The need to find Managers who can manage people during frequent periods of structural change and reorganisation, including mergers and acquisitions. Communication and Influence
✔️The need to recruit people who are adept at working with new technology. Responsibility for learning
✔️The need to source employees who can demonstrate initiative, self-reliance, motivation whilst working remotely. Self-Management
✔️The need to attract employees who can come up with new ideas, enabling the organisation to remain competitive. Commercial Awareness
Where and how to demonstrate your Soft Skills
When writing your CV, cover letter or covering email, you must ensure you consider the soft skills Hiring managers will want to see. The same principle applies to your interview.
Employers more than ever are looking for people that demonstrate initiative, creativity, focus, self-reliance and the ability to work with diverse teams across different timezones. To show evidence of where you’ve set yourself a goal and achieved it or where you’ve taken control of your own learning. It’s also important with regard to this skill that you display integrity and professionalism.
The good news is nobody expects you to be great at every soft skill, but employers and hiring managers do expect you to be able to articulate your experiences in relation to the two or three skills they really have emphasised on a job description.
So try to research the role thoroughly beforehand to get an idea of the type of person they’re looking for and focus your efforts on finding evidence in your work history of those skills. But be ready to talk about any of them.
The questions you need to ask yourself in order to level up
Before you decide to sign up to another course in data, tech, e-commerce or digital, ask yourself is there an easier and more cost-efficient option to showcasing my value and expertise to hiring managers.
What are the common soft skills emphasised in my target industry?
How have I used these skills in the past to solve a problem, increase revenue, save time, and optimise my team’s efforts?
Can you confidently demonstrate your proficiency in skills such as communication, collaboration and creativity?
If you see a colleague struggling, offer to pitch in. If there's a process that could improve your workplace, suggest it.
Do you need to develop your certain soft skills?
Can I develop these skills in my current job by asking for more responsibility?
What resources, courses, mentoring, coaching is available to me to enhance my soft skills?
The more defined your soft skills are the better placed you will be to make a career change and future proof your career for a new world of work.
Which skill will you work on this week?
"Assess your soft skills, not just your hard skills. Become an expert about WHERE your talents are deployed. The value is found in your ability to make smart decisions NOT on the same technical expertise that hundreds of people can execute."
I am creating a selection of videos that show you how to develop and demonstrate your 'Soft Skills', let me know in the comments below what soft skills you would like me to cover.