One of the most challenging parts of hunting for a job is figuring out how to market yourself to your advantage. When filling out your curriculum vitae (CV), for example, it can be difficult to determine what prior work experience, abilities, and knowledge to highlight for potential employers. This process gets even more difficult when you take into account the fact that hiring trends and preferences are rapidly changing. Employers today are beginning to look less at traditional qualifications like educational attainment and more at candidates’ skill sets—particularly their soft skills.
To better understand soft skills, it helps to set them against their counterpart: hard skills or technical skills. These refer to position-specific or industry-specific abilities like HTML coding, graphic design, illustration, and the like. Proficiency at these skills is measurable, and they can generally be learned through training or formal study. In contrast, soft skills are more generalized skills that allow a person to excel at any sort of job, such as critical thinking, conflict resolution, communication, and how to lead a team.
Though hiring managers typically screen candidates for both hard and soft skills, current research shows that the latter are rapidly edging ahead as currency for employees in the workplace. One study recently featured in the Manila Bulletin, for instance, shows that nine out of ten Philippine companies prefer to hire people with strong soft skills. The general consensus is that these skills enable effective work no matter the role or industry and that they help support the sustainable growth of any business.
If you’re looking for ways to navigate the complex landscape of job hiring in the Philippines, it’s important to nurture your soft skills and put these forward for employers’ consideration. These four skills, in particular, will boost your employability:
Strong written and oral communication skills will give you an advantage at just about any job. If you know how to express your thoughts and ideas clearly and effectively, others can better understand you and respond appropriately. Well-developed communication skills also help shape how other people perceive you, and they’re thus instrumental to building constructive, positive relationships with co-workers.
In any industry, workers who communicate well are invariably more productive than those that struggle with communication. After all, the less time you and your colleagues spend trying to articulate the goals, methods, and other particulars of a project, the more time you can spend actually executing the project and reaping its benefits. Good communication skills also help prevent misunderstandings that might disrupt your day-to-day workflow, which could otherwise pile up and lead to costly delays.
Most people are accustomed to associating creativity with fields directly related to the arts, such as theater, design, music production, and so on. However, these days, creativity has become a valuable skill that serves workers well in a much wider range of fields.
Companies know that the best way to differentiate themselves from their competition is to provide more than the same old goods and services. As such, many are on the lookout for imaginative individuals to help come up with innovative new offerings, marketing strategies, and solutions to pressing company issues.
Employers today will also generally no longer settle for job candidates who follow instructions or predefined workflows to the letter. Instead, they’ll look at potential employees’ ability to think for themselves—and to venture outside the box when necessary.
So if you’re the sort of person who asks thoughtful questions about the problems you encounter and likes experimenting toward possible solutions, you’re probably just the kind of job candidate the modern employer is looking for.
Rapid, often drastic changes are realities for almost any industry today, and modern companies thus need an agile workforce that can handle matters when things don’t go as planned. Effective employees must be flexible enough to recognize when a particular plan or project is not working, pivot, and find an alternative solution in real time.
As a soft skill, adaptability also refers to employees’ ability to anticipate and work around changes occurring in the wider world, such as shifting market trends, customer demands, regulatory standards, socioeconomic conditions, and many more. If you don’t shy away from these changes and instead actively embrace and consider them, you’ll help keep your company current.
Successful organizations rarely, if ever, depend on people who do their work in complete isolation. Rather, it’s the efforts of many people working toward a shared goal that enable a company to truly thrive.
Employees who play off of each other well and whose varied skill sets complement one another are highly capable of delivering superior results and furthering company goals. They get more done in shorter amounts of time and generally also produce better quality work than their counterparts who are less skilled at collaboration.
As an added bonus, good teamwork leads to amicable, harmonious company culture, which can boost employee job satisfaction, improve retention rates, and even help attract promising talent in the future. Handling employee turnover is a costly and inconvenient process, which is why it’s in both companies’ and workers’ interest to keep job satisfaction high.
Leveraging your soft skills is one of the best ways to get ahead in the current job market. Thus, before you dive into your job search, think about which of the above skills you already have a strong grasp of and emphasize these on your job applications. Before you know it, they may help you land the job of your dreams.