How to show hard and soft skills to new employers

How to show hard and soft skills to new employers

New research has shown that one of the biggest concerns for employers in 2018 is set to be filling skills gaps within their companies.

According to the CBI/Pertemps Network Group employment trends survey, 79 per cent of respondents think a skills shortage will be their biggest concern going forward, with 49 per cent citing an uncertain access to labour supply as a reason.

Yet it was interesting to note that there isn't necessarily a shortage of jobs to be filled. Half of employers reported that they expect to expand their workforce next year, meaning there may be good pharmaceutical and therapy jobs available.

Small to medium-sized employers were among the most confident about their hiring prospects.

HR and quality director at Pertemps Network Group Tracy Evans said: "One of the big problems we face in recruitment at the moment is the skills gap and how to overcome it. Finding the right staff is obviously key in recruitment and we need to find a solution to this ever-growing problem."

So, perhaps a key thing for jobseekers is going to be ensuring they show off the fact that they have the skills employers want and making it easy to snap them off.

How is this possible? Well, one good thing to do is to clearly showcase hard and soft skills on a CV, covering letter and - hopefully later on - into the interview stage.

What are hard and soft skills?

Simpler than they sound, hard skills are the quantifiable things you can list as achievements, including your degree results, foreign language skills and course passes.

Meanwhile, soft skills are harder to measure, but often also called interpersonal skills. These include things like communication abilities, leadership and motivation.

How to emphasise soft skills

It isn't usually possible to pass courses in these skills, but it's vital to get them across to employers nevertheless. What's more, they may be even more attractive to employers than hard skills because they're often inherent rather than taught.

To show that you can do them, use case studies and anecdotes. For instance, if you know you're a team player, point out examples in which you have successfully worked as a team. If you think you're a born leader, demonstrate how you steered a research group towards tangible results for a client, perhaps.

These examples should be brought in as early as possible, starting from the CV stage and reiterated at interview should you get one. Remember not to make your CV too lengthy in doing so, though.

Skills not to include for employers

It's tempting to want to list absolutely everything you're good at when you're seeking out your dream job and really want an opportunity to shine, but being relevant is important.

Remember to keep referring back to the job description and company notes to make sure the skills you put down link back to the role you will be doing in some way.

For example, if you like to sing or write stories in your spare time and have certificates in both, it's commendable - but employers in the pharmaceutical industry probably won't be interested.

Furthermore, don't include things that should come as a given. Employers are going to expect you to be focused and punctual, so adding this to your CV isn't necessary. They will also expect you to be skilled at using simple computer programs like Word and Excel, so don't waste time listing them.

Putting together a CV and preparing an interview can seem like a minefield, but keeping everything simple is key when it comes to showing off your skills.

By showcasing them properly and concisely, you might find you are the person to bridge that skills gap in the company you've been longing to work for.