What Are Soft Skills And Why Are They Important?

Whatever life science vacancies you’re applying for, chances are that you’ll be in a competitive field of candidates. Getting noticed when there are so many applicants for jobs can be a challenge, but one area that could help you stand out is highlighting your soft skills on your CV.

Soft skills are increasingly sought after by businesses in all sectors, which is why it can be advisable to showcase your skills in this area. But what are soft skills and how can you develop them?

An article for Personnel Today shared the findings of a recent survey for McKinsey & Company, which revealed that 87 per cent of companies are currently experiencing skills gaps, or expect to experience skills gaps in the coming years.

Interestingly, employers also shared that they would prefer to replace employees with traditional skillsets with those who have soft skills. If you’re a bit lost as to what soft skills are, they refer to how you work as opposed to the specific tasks you might carry out as part of your job.

Resilience, empathy, interpersonal skills and time management are examples of the soft skills that employers are looking for.

As Riccarda Zezza, from Lifeed, explained in the article, having these skills “leaves workers well-prepared for a rapidly changing landscape where adapting to new technologies and environments will be pivotal”.

She cited the findings of PwC’s 2020 Annual CEO Survey, which noted that organisations in all industries need to build a workforce of people who have these transferable skills, because the jobs available are evolving so rapidly.

Ms Zezza also suggested that emotional skills will become more important than ever as a result of the additional stress placed on job seekers and workers due to the pandemic and the uncertainty this has resulted in throughout jobs markets.

For anyone who wants to develop their soft skills, the good news is that there’s a reasonable chance you’re doing just that by living through these tumultuous times. Ms Zezza explained that going through lockdown trained many of us in flexibility, self-determination and empathy, for instance.

She added that it’s highly likely you already have many of the soft skills employers are looking for, but the trick is “to constantly reflect on where such skills could be applied to a workplace context”.

An article for the Irish Times also offered some advice on how to identify and develop soft skills during the pandemic.

The news provider suggested that if you’re looking to identify your soft skills to highlight them on your CV or a job application, you should spend a little time practicing self reflection. Think about your strengths in terms of how you work.

You don’t only have to rely on your own perceptions for this. You could ask your friends or former colleagues to share their thoughts on what soft skills they believe you excel at. It can be difficult to quantify some of the soft skills employers are looking for, such as creativity or being curious. However, you shouldn’t let that put you off.