Jobseekers - The simple things you can do to give you the cutting edge

These days, employers are looking for so much more than just the core qualifications. For those that don’t understand this, it can be quite difficult to get past even the resume stage of a job application process.

Soft Skills Win Jobs!

Here is an example….

You are applying for a specific job that requires certain qualifications and specific work experience. You know you are completely qualified, with good references and you are well spoken and confident. You make it to the interview stage and – as you sit down to wait – you realize that you’re a shoe-in… that is, until you talk to the applicant sitting next to you.

He also has the same qualifications, experience, and confidence. In fact, he now possibly has more confidence than you, because – upon realizing your competition is an equal in almost every way – your own confidence levels have taken a nosedive! Regardless, you go in, the interview goes flawlessly, and you leave with your confidence levels restored. ‘Surely’, you think, ‘the other applicant couldn’t have performed as well as me in the interview’.

When the call comes through a couple of days later, you are completely dismayed and shocked to learn that the other applicant won the job over you! In a bid to improve your job seeking skills though, you ask the interviewer why they decided you were second best, despite equal qualifications, experience and an outstanding job interview. “That’s simple”, the interviewer declares. “The other guy had a wider set of soft skills than you did”…

Soft Skills that Make you a Winner

There are multitudes of soft skills that employers look for when making their decision, but here are a few of the most sought after:

Flexibility and the ability to multitask – most employees these days are expected to take on many duties within their role, so having the ability to do so is definitely a benefit.

Good communication skills – this is an essential trait in almost all jobs and refers to the ability to communicate through the written word, as well as verbally. It also refers to a sense of comradeship and friendliness.

Good sense of humor – a good sense of humor and a bright, bubbly attitude is a major advantage. Of course, this is a trait that needs to be subtle too – nobody wants to work with a serial prankster, but being able to remain positive and upbeat around colleagues is a very attractive trait.

Leadership skills – If you’re going to be working with a team, aiming for a management role or hope to receive a promotion at some stage, leadership skills are what are going to get you there.

The ability to be a team Player – There’s no such thing as an employer who wants to employ somebody who doesn’t get along well with other people. Even if you won’t be working in a team at all times, the ability to be a team player when required is essential.

The ability to work independently and focus on goals – There’s nothing more annoying to an employer than having somebody ask them what they need to do every five minutes. They don’t really want somebody who ploughs ahead without being sure they know what they’re doing either, so a good mix of self-autonomy and common sense is a must.

Important Things to Remember

An applicant can have all the right qualifications, but if they cannot show the interviewer that they are going to be a team player with good communication skills and a friendly demeanor, they probably won’t be chosen over somebody who can demonstrate these skills on top of their qualifications.

The bonus is that the majority of these skills can be learned and honed, so even if you’re not strong in one or more of these areas, you can still get the cutting edge next time you apply for a job.

The CFS Team
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