Striking a balance between hard and soft skills

November 3, 2017 by Storm Crow

Striking a balance between hard and soft skills

Let’s face it, the world is moving pretty quickly these days – technology is advancing and we’re finding easier ways to get jobs done. So much so some jobs are being outsourced to other countries, or they’re being completed by robots. But, it’s not all doom and gloom from here on out – there’s some skills that can’t be easily copied by a machine. We’re talking about your soft skills. The very core of what makes us valuable to an organisation.

According to employers, soft skills are in high demand – though applicants rarely claim they have them on their applications. With no easy way to measure or confirm them, we understand it can be pretty hard to provide evidence on your resume.

Technical skills are still important and valued by organisations, but a balance of hard and soft skills is what will really get you noticed by employers. So, with your technical skills down-packed from your time at uni, here’s some tips to help you understand how you can harness your soft skills:

What is a soft skill?

A soft skill describes a person’s ability to interact with others and enhance relationships, job performance, and career prospects. Employers are looking for candidates who can

-        Demonstrate excellent verbal communication skills

-        An ability to work within a team

-        Solve problems and critically analyse information

-        And can apply professional ethics and global citizenship

Why are these skills so important?

With an alarming number of graduates all searching and applying for the same jobs, it’s a really good idea to start acquiring skills that will differentiate you against your competitors – in marketing we call this your competitive advantage.

“It’s been said, hard skills will get you an interview but soft skills will secure you the job” – GradPotential

These skills are also valuable within the collaborative team work environment. Open plan workspaces are popping up within companies, having been designed to increase interaction and collaboration between teams and different departments. You’ll likely work in an environment like this at some point, so it’s a good idea to start brushing up on some essential workplace behaviour and communication etiquette.

How can I demonstrate these qualities in my application?

It’s important to remember that evidence is key in persuading an employer you’re a good fit.Social capital skills can be shown through instances where you’ve dealt with pressure and succeeded, or where you’ve been able to effectively manage change. Where you have communicated effectively and this has led to positive results, or you’ve collaborated within a team and reached a common goal. Maybe you’ve been able to influence others to demonstrate your leadership abilities? These are all worthy examples.

Where can I develop these skills?

At Curtin, these skills are embedded into each unit’s curriculum – take a look at the first page of your unit outline and you’ll see them printed there. Rest assured that you’re being shaped by graduate attributes every semester, and they’re transferrable to industry when you graduate. Alternatively, engaging in extra-curricular work experience and internships can help you strengthen and show evidence of these skills.

We’d recommend doing some research on an organisation that inspires you or one you admire – find out what sort of skills they value through their websites or social media accounts. You can also attend the Graduate Gateway series coming up next month. Attend the whole series or pick and choose the workshops that focus on your soft skills.

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