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What is a soft skill on a CV?

Not every job seeker has heard of a soft skill and understands its meaning. But the difference between knowing what a soft and a hard skill is can make the world of difference when writing a CV.

When trying to get an edge over the other applicants it’s important for a job seeker to cover all aspects of a role. Some roles require a heavy emphasis on certain soft skills, and although this may not be directly stated on the job advert, it would be logical that they are important.

So what is a soft skill?

To help explain what a soft skill is, let’s first look at a list of hard skills:

  • Machine operation
  • Microsoft Office
  • Adobe Premier Pro
  • Crane driver

As you can see from the examples above, a hard skill could also be described as a ‘specific’ skill. These would often be a mandatory requirement as stated on the job advert. The job seeker would need to have a set of specific skills in order to apply or stand a chance at getting an interview.

A soft skill relates to something which could be described as a personal trait or attribute. Here are a few examples of soft skills:

  • Communication
  • Team work
  • Problem solving
  • Organisation

These common soft skills are often required in any role in order to function efficiently in the workplace. Someone with great team working skills would of course be an asset to the business and the department. However, someone who struggled to solve a problem on their own and needed constant assistance could cause issues and hold the team back.

Why do I need to show soft skills on my CV?

An employer will receive many applications that all show a great set of relevant skills, qualifications and experience. So what can set a candidate apart from the rest is also how they demonstrate their internal skills, or soft skills.

If a candidate can demonstrate how their past performances have proven they can achieve great results, they are already one step ahead of the competition. Take a customer service role for example and what soft skills would be important to the employer. Communication would clearly be vital for the job, possibly both written and verbal. In addition, someone with a high level of problem solving skills would be able to help customers far greater than anyone else.

Show – don’t tell!

This is a great way of summarising how a CV should be written. It basically means, don’t tell the employer how great you are, but show them instead. You don’t need to state how great your communication skills are if you are able to provide past examples which prove it must be so.

Personality boost: make your CV shine by giving soft skills the hard sell

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