The top 3 soft skills employers look for

Soft skills

If you are a news junkie like me, you will be familiar with two important facts about employability skills that dominate the education news recently:

FACT 1: One of the main challenges faced by business in the current market is the skills gap, meaning employers cannot find a skilful workforce to fill their vacancies

FACT 2: According to recent surveys, businesses do not only look for technical skills and qualifications but also really value the soft skills of candidates

I start every workshop with these daunting facts as young people (our future workforce) are not aware of those two very important pieces of information. The statistics and findings behind each fact have the purpose of challenging the mindset of young people and encouraging them to start thinking seriously about their soft employability skills.

Of course, the good news is that soft skills can be learned but young people need to go out of their comfort zone and start today. Also, many young people already have the foundations of these skills so the secret lies in learning how they can be presented to employers.

As a result of these discussions, the young people want to know exactly which skills hide behind the concept of ‘soft employability skills’ and what do they mean in practice?

3 top soft skills valued by employers

From my experience, I truly believe that the top 3 key soft skills that make a significant impact on the potential of a future employee are:

1. Effective communication skills

Since we interact with each other every day, we believe that we know how to communicate effectively. Sadly, not many of us can be proud of truly mastering the Art of Communication which means:

  • Expressing your thoughts and opinions clearly
  • Presenting your thoughts and opinions clearly and professionally to other people
  • Listening actively to others
  • Maintaining professional body language
  • Generating a positive first impression
  • Adjusting your communication style depending on the audience
  • Reading other people’s non-verbal cues

2. Teamwork

Being a valuable team player is not only limited to contributing to the goal of the team but it also includes:

  • Demonstrating collaborative spirit
  • Knowing the principles of creative cooperation to synergise working in a group environment
  • Solving problems creatively and negotiating solutions by thinking in a win-win mindset

3. Time management

The paradox of time is that how much of it we have depends on our perspective; we therefore really need to manage ourselves in time. This means:

  • Focusing on important rather than urgent tasks
  • Adjusting your perspective about time
  • Meeting deadlines
  • Being punctual
  • Delegating tasks
  • Dividing big goals into manageable chunks

Written by K Mitura

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