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Top 10 Soft Skills that employers will be looking for in 2022

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13 December 2021 | Produced by Kandy Shaw

New year.  New plans.  New beginnings.  If these new beginnings include a new career or progression in an existing one then you need to know what skills would look good enough on your CV to put it at the top of the tree.  So, with these thoughts in mind, the festive period might be a great time for you to mull over the 10 most important soft skills that employers will be looking for in 2022. 

Whilst we will not really be looking at hard skills in this post, I will list a few hard skills areas at the end, but a separate post explaining what they are in more detail will follow shortly.  Before we get into the discussion of the top 10 soft skills, however, I must firstly stress that whatever your skill set, when looking for a job, you will need to have at least one hard skill: a basic knowledge of navigating a computer and the internet. 

 

Soft Skills

I have concentrated on soft skills in this post because, technically they are the abilities you have that allow you to get the job done before any hard skills qualifications come into play.  Hard skills are what will put you on the ‘qualified to apply’ branch, but your soft skills are what will hoist you to the top of the tree.

Employers look for soft skills because they show you are focused, process-orientated and therefore organised in your daily work routine.  As well as this, if you have the right soft skills for the job then any hard skills can be learned.  So, if you are looking to stand out from the crowd during your new year job search, you need to think beyond your current degrees or qualifications (if you have them) to your soft skills.

Soft skills, as I have already mentioned are the skills you can apply to any job as opposed to hard skills that are usually unique to a specific type of job.  Many soft skills come with experience but if you have little of this, then think of what you do in your everyday activities and use those to sell yourself.  Now, let’s have a look at the 10 top soft skills…

 

1. Team Player / Organised

It goes without saying that you need to be a good team player in any role or career.  To be a good team player shows that you can collaborate with colleagues to achieve an ultimate goal.  Communication, empathy and collaboration as well as emotional intelligence are all necessary to good teamwork and I have explained them below.  These skills are what motivate you to be organised and to consider and support others in your team so that the whole team can be successful.  It also means that you will be willing to accept support from others.

 

2. Communication

To be able to communicate well is a vital skill for any job.  Even if you have no experience, the way you correspond to emails from the employer or recruiter will show your communication abilities.  As well as this, during your interview if you engage, listen, respond to the questions and then provide well thought out answers you will display your ability to communicate.  This technique applies to the experienced candidate as well. Being able to listen to and engage with colleagues shows employers that you will communicate and follow instructions so that the job will be carried out correctly, so to highlight this soft skill at interview is imperative. 

 

3. Time Management

Time management is very important to employers.  They need to know that you are going to complete the job within the time allocated.  If you are constantly late or spend too much time on one project and not enough on another, then you are not going to be organised.  If you are not organised then deadlines or sales targets are not going to be met … To have good time management skills is to manage your time effectively and to be organised so that business results can be maximised.

 

4. Decision-Making/Problem Solving

Not everyone is good at making decisions.  In fact, some may shy away from decision-making fearing they may get it wrong.  So, being able to assess what needs to be done and then to decide how to do it, even if there is a risk involved is a good thing.  You may think you are not a decision-maker, but the very fact that you are looking at this post shows that you are.  You’ve made the decision to read it because you’ve decided to look for a job or career and you want to know what soft skills employers are looking for.  (That’s 2 decisions right there!)

 

5. Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence was increasing in importance even before the pandemic hit and even more so as we live in its wake.  Mental health issues are very much at the forefront of employer considerations as a result.  So, to be in charge of your own emotions and those of your colleagues is now more valuable than ever.  Emotional intelligence is about being self-aware, being mindful of the language you use with others and shows you can cope with change and inconvenience whilst supporting fellow team mates to do the same. 

 

6. Empathy

Empathy and emotional intelligence go hand-in-hand.  Empathy ensures you are able to create a positive environment for those around you, so employers value this soft skill.  Displaying empathy means that you are a potential team leader and that you will contribute to improvement of team performance and ultimately business success. 

 

7. Continuous Learning

In this digitalised age, everything is in a constant flux and in terms of continuous learning, not only do you have to constantly learn new things, but you also have to learn new ways of doing things.  Continuous learning allows you to develop.  Just on the IT side of things, you are going to see constant change as I mentioned earlier, so it is important that you keep up to date with new technology, learning methods and software packages.

 

8. Adaptability

Continuous learning and adaptability go hand-in-hand as far as soft skills are concerned.  Similarly to being prepared to learn continuously, in this ever-changing modern world of technology, you also need to be adaptable.  Technology is constantly changing and evolving and we are forever finding new ways of using it, so to be adaptable is imperative. Added to this the pandemic has meant that new ways of working have been created, so employees now more than ever need to be adaptable. 

 

9. Leadership

Leadership skills are often thought to be solely related to more senior members of staff, but this simply isn’t true.  Leadership is about motivating and inspiring your work colleagues and you don’t necessarily need to be a manager or other senior member of staff to do that. Imagine a team where members motivate, inspire and even perhaps mentor each other…that is of benefit to any business.

 

10. Work Well Under Pressure

You need to be able to work under pressure as demands of the workplace can be stressful.  Aside from constant changes as mentioned previously, you will have deadlines to meet and will be collaborating with colleagues, customers and others outside of your organisation, so you need to show that you can work calmly and efficiently in any eventuality.

 

Hard Skills and Training Courses

Hard skills training involves specific tasks and processes that include the use of tools, equipment, or computer software applications.  They are learned through vocational training, on-the-job training or by completing a training course.  Hard skills are job-specific skills that directly qualify you for the position you are applying for.  They are also usually industry-specific too, so you would not be applying for the position of Digital Analyst with a qualification in bricklaying.  

It is wise if you are new to the job-hunting market, to hone your soft skills into hard skills training, according to what you feel most at home with. By this I mean that if you are happy being a bricklayer, do not try to train in digital analysis if it is not an area you would be comfortable in. 

Below I have listed some hard skills areas, but I will be explaining them in more detail in my next post. 

 

Hard Skills Training Areas

  • Technical Skills
  • Computer Skills
  • Microsoft Office Skills
  • Analytical Skills
  • Marketing Skills
  • Presentation Skills
  • Management Skills
  • Project Management Skills
  • Writing Skills
  • Language Skills
  • Design Skills
  • Certifications (Non-IT)

 

Finally

If you have many years of work experience, then you will already have developed your soft skills and have hard ones under your belt too.  That is not to say though, that it wouldn’t stand you in good stead to brush up on those soft skills and highlight them if you are planning a job search. For those of you who are new to job searching you will need to identify what your soft skills are and you can do this by thinking about what you do in your current everyday activities.  You’ll be surprised how many you already possess without even realising it.  Once you know what they are then you can apply them to hard skills training (which is the subject of my next post). The more skills you can acquire, both soft and hard, the more valuable you will be to employers. 

From all of us here at NILC, we wish you a merry Christmas, a prosperous new year and most importantly a happy job search.

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