The CV has become such a complex document that every employer now expects a far higher quality in order to make it through to the interview stage. With so much free information online helping the job seeker to write a great CV, it’s understandable that the quality has risen and the competition has become incredibly difficult.
But why is the CV a complex document?
There are now so many aspects to writing a professional CV that even missing just the one element will likely end in rejection. No longer can you pass through to the interview stage with a simple list of skills and previous tasks and responsibilities.
The employer is also interested in the way it looks, and with more and more online CV templates being created the job seeker has so much choice. Creative CV templates are now the ‘thing’, and no longer does the black and white traditional CV hold the top spot (see ‘Should you use a CV template?‘ for more info)
We would like to let you into a little secret to help you gain that slim advantage – and we’d like to talk about soft skills. But why are soft skills so important for a CV?
The definition of a soft skill
When we think about a skill for a CV we would usually picture something very specific. Machine operation or computer programming would be classed as a ‘specific’ or ‘hard’ skill which you would often see on a CV. The ability to use Microsoft Office – Excel and Word for instance – would probably be the most popular, especially when it comes to clerical roles.
So what is a soft skill?
A soft skill relates to a more generic or personal trait or attribute of an individual. For example, ‘communication’ and ‘problem solving’ would be classed as a soft skill. In essence, you could also call this a ‘life skill’ which would make sense as most of the time these soft skills are developed outside of work.
Why are soft skills important for a CV?
Whilst most job seekers will focus upon writing a CV that showcases the relevant hard skills, they will often miss out on the opportunity to express how well they can perform in general. An employer will expect to receive lots of applications which can demonstrate they have the skills as advertised in the job posting. But that doesn’t mean to say they will be able to use that skill efficiently in the workplace.
The employer is ultimately looking for a candidate that can also demonstrate their ability to perform well. A sales role will of course require a high level of communication skills, so it’s the CV writers job to ensure this soft skill is clearly demonstrated when applying.
Although each role would require a different set of soft skills, you can narrow down the most common to this list:
- Communication – written and verbal
- Problem solving
- Conflict resolution
- Time management
- Creative thinking
- Idea generation
As you can see from the above list, there are lots of different types of soft skills which everyone will use on a daily basis. Now that you know how important a soft skill is for your application, you can focus upon the most relevant to the employer and get started today on writing a fantastic CV!