If you had asked me five years ago about the key skills that employers are desperate for, I would have told you that someone who was is a super star coder, excellent copywriter, and front end web developer, with seven years experience in project management was the perfect vision of the ultimate employee. These days changes in the generational shape of the workforce, and the emergence of soft skills have made things a lot more interesting.
While there is no denying that technical skills are all well and good, and great assets to have on your resume, the real in-demand skills for employers these days are a little more unexpected.
I’m talking about soft skills. Things you don’t get taught at university, but everyone thinks you naturally have.
If you don’t, you're not the only one. Most people have never even heard about soft skills, let alone done anything about trying to learn them.
So here are our top eight soft skills that employers are looking for:
1. Strong work ethic
Are you determined and diligent? Will you do whatever it takes to get the job done no matter what? Employers love workers who are keen on the job. Making sure you arrive early to work, and see things through from start to finish every time will get you far.
2. Keeping a positive attitude
Remember that person from your last job? The one that everyone liked around the office because of how cheerful they always were, how they would make a point of saying hi to everyone they crossed paths with and asking them how their day is.
Being positive and upbeat in the workplace will make people—including your boss—drawn to you. Make yourself that one person and stand out for your positivity.
3. Being a good listener
A few things to remember here—speak, clearly and directly; articulate yourself. And... listen carefully, there is nothing more off putting than having to repeat yourself at work. Employers love an active listener.
4. Time Management
Someone who can prioritise tasks according to importance will always know how they should be using their time. Minimise distraction and get started early. Make a habit of using lists to manage tasks.
5. Be a team player
Any smart worker knows that a team that plays together stays together. Make the most of all your co-workers individual skills by listening carefully for their input and delegating between each other. Be cooperative and help others out, and know when to step up and take charge at the same time.
6. Be a good sport
Sport references are my favourite because a game and playing field is the perfect metaphor for a workplace. Team players listen carefully and take the bench for a while when they make an error. They also remember what the coach said and turn criticism into career building—listen and learn.
7. Adaptability and flexibility
The hallmark of having good soft skill capabilities is versatility. Being able to adapt to new ways of working, different types of personalities and managing the potential for conflict will be the best thing you ever learn!
8. Willingness to learn
You know how the saying goes—never know too much to learn something new. Willingness to learn is a great soft skill to adopt for yourself, because you should want to leave each job having learnt at least one thing new (but ideally lots of things).
Your employer will love this in you too, because guess what? Practice makes perfect. So, the more you stay open to the possibilities of learning something new, the better you will get at picking things up and having a go!