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The X-factor - How soft skills can put you ahead of the pack

The X-factor - How soft skills can put you ahead of the pack
In the dynamic world of work, the path to success is paved with a unique combination of hard and soft skills. While hard skills, such as qualifications and training, provide a solid foundation, it's the often-overlooked soft skills that truly propel individuals to new heights. OCG Consulting, your trusted recruitment partner, delves into the essential role of soft skills in advancing careers in the competitive job market.

The Foundation: Hard Skills

These are the teachable and measurable skills needed to perform and be experienced at certain jobs. Depending on the industry, these skills may be deep knowledge of HR law, marketing principles, or data analysis. Hard skills are teachable through a class or certification and can be quantified through skills tests or assessment tasks.
Job seekers are expected to posses a range of hard skills to perform at executive level, allowing them to execute tasks with precision and meet the demands of the ever-evolving business landscape.

These hard skills do the job of getting candidates an interview or ‘through the door’ of businesses, by ticking the box of the core skills to fill the gap that is needed in the workforce, but it’s the soft skills in addition to these that really give candidates the edge they need to succeed.

The X-Factor: Soft Skills

Soft skills are behaviour or personality-based traits that help a job seeker be great at what they do. While it can be harder to demonstrate these non-technical, soft skills than it is to demonstrate hard skills, the interview process is the place to show hiring managers that you have important soft skills that set you apart from other applicants.
Having these kinds of skills not only helps job seekers stand out in the job-hunting process, but also helps existing employees stay agile and adaptable in a fast-changing world. LinkedIn’s recent talent blog states that since 2015, skills for roles have, on average, changed by 25%; and by 2030 it’s expected that number will reach at least 65%. Due to the rise of AI, adaptability has become the most important feather in employees’ hats, with businesses changing at rapid pace and the way of working in constant evolution.

What are the other soft skills employers are looking for?

Verbal & Written Communication
Effective communication is the linchpin of success in almost any role. Whether it's crafting compelling marketing messages, engaging with stakeholders, or explaining results, the ability to articulate ideas clearly and persuasively is paramount. Soft skills, like active listening and empathy, enable professionals to understand client needs and tailor their communication accordingly.

Stakeholder Engagement
In any client-facing, sales, or relationship building role, stakeholder engagement will be important. To be able to establish and build relationships with key clients, decision makers, internal leaders, vendors, or providers is a skill that will help any employee or job seeker in the long run, as these relationships eventually lead to business success.

Problem-Solving & Decision-Making
As businesses are constantly changing and evolving, being able to make decisions and solve problems is vital to success. Especially as teams are operating leaner, being able to offer solutions rather than more problems to business leaders who may already be stretched thin will provide value to the team overall.

Collaboration & Teamwork
Working with others and in a team will always be paramount to business success. Hiring managers will look for ways candidates have successfully worked with others to see whether they will be a good culture fit for new opportunities, and this could be a deciding factor in whether they are put forward for a role or not.

To discuss what other soft skills employers are looking for, get in touch with our team for a confidential chat, or to view all our open vacancies, click here!

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