We’re going to show you exactly which skills to add to your CV, mention in your job interview and to improve in the workplace.
You’ll see which are the top skills wanted by nearly every employer and how to improve on them to make sure you advance your career. These are the core skills that are most often asked for and receive the best response from employers.
Let’s dive right in.
We have said before that every job is different. And we do genuinely believe it. However there are certain indispensable skills that are useful for every job. These are often referred to as “soft” skills. These are skills that are often talked about but rarely talked about but are very important. They are overlooked and misunderstood but are vital not only in the workplace but also in other aspects of your life.
The Difference Between Hard Skills And Soft Skills
In the job hunting world there are two kinds of skills – hard and soft. Hard skills are technical capabilities, skills such as knowing how to code in a particular programming language or having administrative qualifications.
These are the skills that most people focus on in their job descriptions and CVs. And for good reason, they’re very important and they qualify you to do that role. But they are not the be all and end all.
Soft skills are the skills that apply to every job. These are your personal skills – people skills, communication skills, and other qualities that enable you to be successful in the workplace.
These are often overlooked in the standard day to day, but when asked in surveys they are ranked as the top skills looked for in an employee.
What Skills Should I Emphasise?
But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career.
Liam Neeson in Taken
There are lots of skills that should be included on your CV. Your CV should be full of hard and soft skills. These skills are those that you have built up and improved upon over time.
Obviously, your hard skills that are perfectly suited for the role should be front and centre, but your soft skills are equally as important as these will prove your benefit to the business beyond the bottom line.
According to TopCV the top skills to include on your CV are:
- Time management
- Creative/Critical thinking
So let’s explore what they are and how to improve them.
This is seen as the #1 skill. Being a great communicator is paramount to almost every job and is the most requested soft skill. This is a skill that will not only benefit your professional life but also your personal life.
Communication involves getting your message across clearly, being a good listener and using appropriate body language.
There are three major types of communication available to us currently; phone, email and face to face. Even though business has changed massively these three make up the core pieces of all business communication.
You need to be able to communicate your point clearly and succinctly. This could be over the phone (and having the confidence to do so over the phone) or in the written word through email correspondence. Professionals need to be able to craft clearly written, concise emails, using the appropriate format and tone for colleagues and employers alike.
These pieces of communication open up the gates to the next pillar – face to face. Using body language, listening, persuasion, negotiation and more will let you clearly communicate with your team, your superiors, your clients, potential clients and more. Being able to show how you clearly you communicate your message or your ideas will serve you well in your CV, in your job interviews, and in your job.
Communication is a skill that needs to be constantly worked on and improved. By grasping the core fundamentals and practicing them (along with receiving and working with feedback) you will see your prospects and relationships grow – both professional and personal.
Collaboration and Teamwork
Showing how effectively you work in a team is a skill that’s automatically expected of you, but as a result it’s rarely explicitly mentioned in job descriptions or on CVs.
Being a “team player” means not only being cooperative, but also displaying strong leadership skills when necessary. While leadership is another skill to include (more on this later), providing proof of how you worked within a team and contributed to the success of a group will be more beneficial than just solely focusing on you.
Being able to collaborate is the foundation of success for business, therefore subskills such as conflict resolution, relationship building and team building are all good points to raise in your job application process.
A big portion of this is the give and take of feedback. Having self-confidence is great especially in an interview, but being self-aware enough to acknowledge that you needed feedback and worked on it is not only a great way to show your humility but also how you appreciate the effect it will have on the whole team.
Flexibility & Adaptability
The world is constantly changing. In today’s modern era, change is coming faster than ever, with brand new technologies appearing every day and with them new skills to be learnt. As a result there is one skill that is (arguably) the most relevant and important in today’s modern age: adaptability.
This is an extremely valuable asset for the modern employee. Those who can adapt to any situation are dependable no matter what’s thrown at them, and adapting to new technologies and methodologies will keep the workplace modern and up to date.
This doesn’t mean you have to follow every trend and be on top of everything, what we mean is that you are open to these possibilities and technologies as they crop up. You can them adapt to them and be flexible with your approach to incorporate them into your work.
Most jobs require a degree of flexibility, and the ability to be willing to change. It’s important to be able to understand different perspectives, and to adjust your workflow and contributions to the company as change arises.
Creative thinking & Problem-solving
You don’t have to be a creative to think creatively. Being able to solve problems in unique ways is a skill often lauded but also seen as a rarity. No matter what your profession, these skills are worth their weight in gold when unexpected issues inevitably arise. Being able to come up with unique solutions or alternatives is invaluable; it drives innovation and increases efficiency.
It’s also a skill you can train. By training this skill and providing potential solutions you can create notable achievements that you can put on your CV, mention in a job interview or event better, use to advance your career.
There are lots of ways you can increase your creativity and problem solving skills. They may seem a bit odd on the surface but they are designed to put you out of your comfort zone in one form or another to make you think about things differently.
However the core concept behind creative thinking and even problem solving is – there’s nothing new or original, just a different connection. Most people think that creativity is about coming up with original ideas, but creativity is really just about making new connections between existing ideas. Creativity suddenly seems a lot less scary when we think about it like that.
Even Steve Jobs agrees with this theory of what creativity is all about:
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something.”
Problem solving works along the same principle in so much as you have to find the best connections to overcome the problem.
Organisation and Time Management
As we said, it’s important to be flexible and adaptable in today’s environment, but with that comes the need to be organised and have excellent time management skills.
As a professional, you will be tasked with completing a variety of tasks, all with very tight deadlines. You’ll have to use your organisational skills to make the best use of your time so that you complete each task without feeling overwhelmed.
Being able to juggle all of your tasks perfectly has become common place and meeting every deadline can be very challenging. This can lead to a lot of stress and issues, so the importance of organisation and productivity in the workplace is on the rise.
These high standards will mean a lot is expected of you, so practicing and improving your organisation is a must.
People often mistake leadership with management. They think the only way to show off your leadership skills is being a manager, but the catch is how do you become a manager without showing your leadership?
Regardless of the role, seniority or position, leadership skills are important. Whether you’re working on a team or in are in a management position, being able to lead is one of those skills that will set you apart from the rest.
There are other factors that all come under the umbrella term of leadership such as being able to stay calm under pressure, having accountability for your actions, being able to influence and motivate others and more.
This skill has been growing in popularity in recent years. For a lot of people, the workplace has become a lot more a stressful environment. There will always be inevitable setbacks and issues and problems. Resilience is the ability to face setbacks, unforeseen events, obstacles and failures without allowing them to dominate, derail or destroy your life.
With the rise of mental health and wellbeing initiatives in the workplace people often mistake the intention of this skill.
Please be aware that resilience is not about being unaffected by stress or pressure but it’s about recognising and getting through it. You have grown and developed strategies to manage your stress and your response to it already.
Resilience as a skill is something that will developed over time as you discover new experiences and overcome new problems and issues.
Developing your resilience is a very personal thing; there is no one-size-fits-all technique. You will need to experiment to find what works for you. But the one defining factor of it is that you have to go outside of your comfort zone to improve it.
It’s Your Personal Growth
You career only grows if you do. Being able to show personal growth shows that you are serious about your career.
Showing how you’ve grown in any of the above skills or areas is very important and highly impressive to any potential employer.
The whole process requires self-awareness, self-confidence and self-management. Showing how you have taken the initiative and grown your skills outside of the work day or work environment is important and valuable.
Everything we have talked about so far falls under the category “personal skills”.
Admittedly this is only a brief overview of the hundreds of skills you can practice but these are the main qualities people look out for, particularly when it comes to jobs.
They are also the ones you use most regularly therefore the one’s where you can pull the best examples for use in your job search.