As highlighted in this month’s analysis of the job market, it’s safe to say that hiring processes are becoming ever more competitive. Skills shortages, coupled with the impending deadline of Brexit, have led to uncertain times in recruitment. As such, employers are under significant pressure to find the most elite of candidates.
This year, employers are looking for a wide variety of soft skills that are fit for the digital age, which can work as an indicator of a candidate’s aptitude for the 21st century job market. While relevant knowledge and experience is still vital, soft skills can demonstrate an employee’s cultural fit, willingness to learn, and their ability to deal with change.
LinkedIn regularly compiles a list of top skills sought after by employers every year; they do so by analysing thousands of job postings across their site. While many soft skills never truly go out of fashion, hiring trends and changes in technology can affect which attributes are prized more highly. And with automations and technological processes becoming commonplace in modern-day businesses, the value of soft skills increase tenfold, as they are precisely the type of skills that cannot be replicated by bots.
So which soft skills are the most valued by employers in 2019, and how can you turn this to your advantage?
This was found to be the most desirable attribute an employee can possess. Even if you’re working within a field that isn’t necessarily considered to be creative, such as arts or media, the ability to think outside the box is still an enormous asset. As companies become ever more innovative and agile, employees that can challenge the status quo and offer alternative ideas are sure to stand in good stead.
This can be a difficult skill to master, especially if you’re not always predisposed to creative thinking. But don’t despair- there are still plenty of ways to get the creative juices flowing. Simple steps such as brainstorming and consuming content outside your comfort zone will help you broaden your horizons and find a fresh perspective. Try out new things, switch up your routine, and don’t be afraid to fail!
Business is now more changeable than ever; with advancements in technology being made at a faster rate than ever before, it’s no great surprise that employers are looking for candidates that can approach their work as flexibly as possible. Whether it’s learning a new system, changing processes or taking on additional responsibility, employees that can adapt to change will ultimately demonstrate their value to employers in the long term.
There’s no easy way around this one- if you find it hard to break out of your routine, this is a skill that’s going to take time to acquire. Start small by asking a colleague to show you an unfamiliar process or system, or take an interest in what other departments are doing. You’ll then start to build up confidence in your ability to master uncharted territories, slowly but surely.
In the digital age, it’s now more important than ever for employees to be able to work well with others. Not only does it demonstrate an ability to compromise, but it also displays a candidate’s aptitude to mix with others, regardless of personal differences.
Strong working relationships are essential to business growth, so do all you can to build solid foundations with colleagues and peers. This means networking- lots of it. Be sure to attend events and conferences, and maximise your scrolling time by keeping tabs on the movers and shakers of your industry via LinkedIn.
Whether you’re working in a sales-based role or otherwise, the art of persuasion is a solid attribute to have. It’s essential that you’re able to articulate yourself effectively to persuade others to listen and value your opinion. This is especially useful when working on group projects, or presenting new ideas to management.
Looking for ways to develop your persuasion skills? Start with the basics by understanding what it is you’re wanting to achieve with others in your workplace. If you have some ideas about streamlining processes, you first need to distil your thoughts into something clear, concise, and easy to digest.
Next, take a look at what it is your audience wants, and how you can bring this in alignment with your own ideas. Remember to keep things light, positive and proactive.
A basic skill, but vital nonetheless. No matter the role or sector, time management skills are a pretty solid essential- businesses need to know if their employees can meet deadlines, manage workloads, and prioritise appropriately.
If you tend to struggle in juggling several different tasks or find it hard to delegate, see if you can polish up these skills week by week. Something as simple as writing a To Do List at the beginning of the day will help, and be sure to give a rough estimate of the time that you should be spending on particular tasks.
New projects will inevitably be thrown at you during the day, but this is where you can come into your own. Prioritise what needs to be done first- are there any deadlines looming? Can anyone help with a certain task? Stay focused, and work through your tasks as systematically as possible.
If you’re therefore looking to take the next step up the ladder in 2019, make sure you do it in style. Building up your skill set is the best way to polish and perfect your reputation as an employee, which can take practice (and a fair bit of determination thrown in for good measure). But keep at it- soft skills are an invaluable way to assert your prowess as a worthy candidate.