Why Your Soft Skills Will Get You Ahead

ncs 26/07/2019

You might think that to be a good accountant, the most important skills you need to possess are maths-related and yeah obviously these are pretty vital... But it’s not just about your qualifications and previous experience – your ‘soft skills’ could be the difference between getting an interview and landing the job. And this is true for any career path you might be wandering down.

WHAT ARE ‘SOFT SKILLS’?

Basically, these are the skills you possess (or can develop) that don’t earn you a qualification! Frustratingly they aren’t exactly tangible but they will 100% make you a more desirable candidate or a successful entrepreneur. We’re talking...

Communicating

This broad category covers everything from public speaking, ‘active listening’ (when you are focused, make regular eye contact and nod along at all the right moments) to having the confidence to network and negotiate.

Do you adjust your tone and style depending on who you’re talking to? This is a great example of communicating well and proves you have the emotional intelligence to realise different people are receptive to different things. Know how to read people’s body language? Hold onto that enviable skill!

Critical thinking

Unfortunately, this isn’t about moaning! It’s about problem solving and identifying logical solutions while keeping your cool. In your day-to-day you will face all kinds of problems, big and small. If you can approach them calmly, with tact and show a willingness to learn, you’ll go far!

Self motivation

A strong work ethic will never go unnoticed. If you have a positive attitude, show initiative and prove yourself to be reliable, you should rocket up the career ladder of your choosing. If your manager can trust you to get the job done, you’ll be their go-to.

Leadership

You might think this only comes into play when you’re a manager but that’s not the case. Proving you’re a team player who can motivate and mentor your colleagues will put you first in line for promotions. Likewise, an ability to delegate and offer constructive criticism will be a great bargaining chip for when you’re looking to take a step up.

Entrepreneurial

Whether you like the idea of running your own business or are just aiming high with your aspirations, these skills should help you make it. Time management and budgeting will help you get the most of any given project, while some creativity, curiosity and resilience should have you succeeding where others don’t. Inspired to take on the world? Go do it!

SHOW, DON’T TELL

Now you know your soft skill strengths, let’s make them work for you.

When it comes to applications and selling yourself, give tangible examples of when you’ve demonstrated these skills. It’s far more compelling than just reeling them off – they’ll come across as empty claims.

For example, you could reference your time on NCS when you managed yours and your teammates’ time to make your social action project a huge success. Or how you delivered a confident presentation to a room full of people in phase two. You get the idea...

AND REMEMBER...

Your CV will only get you so far. Why do you think face-to-face interviews are a thing?! Once you’ve ticked that box, employers will look past your technical ability and specialist knowledge. They will ask themselves, “Is this person a good fit for my company?”.

And that’s why your soft skills are the key to unlocking that dream job.

Still deciding on what that career is? Check out our Job Dreams series to give you some ideas...