The employment market has been dominated by skills shortages. However, the big challenge for employers in the finance and accounting industry is no longer a shortage of technical skills, but a shortage of good quality candidates with the right soft skills.
What are ‘soft skills’
Soft skills refer to a variety of personal attributes, values and social skills that make someone a good fit for a role, outside of their career expertise and qualifications.
Many employers struggle to find candidates that tick all the boxes. Soft skills such as cultural fit, strong leadership and efficiency are in high demand. Employing candidates with the right mixture of skills can minimise costly hiring mistakes that could undermine workforce productivity and morale down the line.
Job seekers that can demonstrate strong soft skills will have a great advantage in their job hunt. If you’re looking for a new job, the following tips will help you develop soft skills to make you high in demand:
- Do your research
Different employers value different qualities in a candidate, so you should spend some time researching what your prospective employer is looking for.
- Develop your skills
Work experience is the best way to develop your soft skills. Don’t be afraid to ask your boss for training and development, and make the most of any opportunities that let you improve your communication and teamwork. Seeking a mentor can also help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, and build your skill set.
- Show that you’re applying them
In your CV and discussions with hiring managers, it is important to provide tangible examples of times when you have used these qualities. For example, talk about business situations where you were recognised for teamwork or for inspiring others to perform at a high level. You should also take advantage of platforms like LinkedIn to list and show-off your abilities - like good writing skills. It can be a good idea to use keywords from the job description when talking about your talents.
- Demonstrate a cultural fit
In order to reduce turnover and increase productivity, many employers are interested in professionals most likely to blend easily into the prevailing corporate culture. Before the job interview, research the company and industry to find out more about the culture. A good way to establish what the employer is like is by using your professional network to gain insight from friends and colleagues. If you are using a recruiter they can be a valuable source of insight too. Once you get through to the interview stage, use it as an opportunity to establish a rapport with the hiring manager, and demonstrate why you would be a good fit.
Ultimately, landing a dream job is all about standing out from the crowd. Hiring managers receive a lot of CVs from candidates with strong technical knowledge, so demonstrating that you are an all-rounder may just give you the edge that you need. Want more advice on resume writing? Read our article 'How to write an effective CV'.