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Why sharpening your soft skills could spell success

 
Whether you’re looking for a job in finance, marketing or engineering - one thing remains consistent, the job market is competitive. When pursuing opportunities many candidates focus all their energy on promoting their experience and job-specific skills. Of course, a healthy CV with relevant experience and technical knowledge is important but it isn’t always enough to secure a role.
 
With several candidates of a similar calibre often chasing one job, many employers carefully evaluate soft skills in order to choose the right person for the position. Some candidates greatly underestimate the impact that finely-tuned soft skills can have on their job search. By ignoring these skills, they’re often thrown by competency-based interviews and fail to show they are a multi-faceted performer.
 
If you’re considering a career move, here are five areas where you could sharpen your soft skills. 
 

Communication

 
An interview is a good opportunity for employers to assess your verbal reasoning skills and ability to communicate your ideas. Before an interview, practise talking about your experience out loud and try to keep answers clear, concise and to the point. Good communication also requires you to be an excellent listener, so always pay close attention to exactly what’s being asked of you.
 

Problem solving

 
Potential employers look for lateral thinking and an innovative approach to tackling tricky situations. If you’re a natural problem solver who takes a creative approach to solving business issues – this is a highly desirable attribute. Make sure you think of tangible examples to highlight your skill at overcoming obstacles and generating successful outcomes.
 

Decision making

 
Problem solving, if you are good at it, will involve making important decisions. Being able to make tough decision based on an intuitive or reasoned process is an essential skill in all types of work. Decisions need to be capable of being implemented, whether on a personal or organisational level. If you can show how decisions you made positively impacted your colleagues and company you will go a long way to convincing an interviewer of your worth.
 

Stakeholder management

 
Your ability to positively influence those around you can be seen as an impressive business asset. Do you negotiate effectively with different teams and individuals? Can you confidently build solid business relationships at all levels of an organisation? Make sure that you are prepared to demonstrate that you can manage relationships with stakeholders at all levels, internally and externally.
 

Management acumen

 
If you’re looking to progress up the ranks, you’ll need to inspire confidence that you have managerial aptitude. You’ll need to demonstrate an inclusive approach and the ability to engage with employees throughout the business as a whole. You’ll welcome responsibility for the success and wellbeing of others and be able to prove your ability at forging effective, lasting business relationships. 
 
From finance jobs to retail jobs, there is always competition for roles and it’s important to stand out from the crowd. Technical ability and relevant experience should always go hand-in-hand with great communication and interpersonal skills. Many businesses choose competency-based interviewing to uncover these softer skills, so make sure you have relevant examples at the ready before turning up for an interview.
 
For more useful interview advice, visit the Michael Page Career Centre.