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  • Sandra Laws - Career Coach


Do you have the top three soft skills that employers are looking for? There is a saying that your technical skills (hard skills) get you the job interview but it is soft skills that will land you job offer and help to excel in the job.


The Cambridge dictionary defines soft skills as "the abilities to effectively communicate with other people and work well together. In a nutshell, soft skills are non-technical, transferrable skills: Soft skills are interpersonal and productivity skills that Involve working with people. No matter what you job you have or the industry that you work in, you will need soft skills to perform effectively and thrive in that job. Whereas hard skills are the essential technical skills that are required to carry the duties for a specific job.

Soft skills of very high priority for employers particularly for projects and tasks that involve a high level of group interaction. An example of poor interpersonal skills is where you might have be a high performing employee who is very brusque and speaks their mind without considering the feelings of other colleagues: this creates tension within a work environment.

Today, I am going to list three examples of soft skills: communication, teamwork and time management


The ability to communicate effectively with people at all levels (from the team members, clients, CEO, support staff and building attendants) is a vital skill employers are looking for in employers.

Active Listening Skills key is an important element of effective communication. Active listening involves listening without interrupting to ensure the other person feels they are being heard, valued, and understood. By listening carefully, we can learn about the other person’s situation. Sometimes when a person is speaking, we are preparing what we plan to say next, which is not active listening. By preparing your message, you are being distracted from receiving the full message from the other person. The author, Steven Covey highlights this approach in habit #5 in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:

“Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood”.

Fifty-five percent of a message is communicated through non-verbal language. This includes facial expression, gestures, tone and pitch of voice. Useful to be self-awareness of your own body language. The tone and pitches of voices and silences can impact on how a message is understood by others, especially when on speaking on the telephone with clients. In written communication, slang and jargon should be avoided. The simpler and more direct the language , the greater chance the message will be understood by the receiver.


Employers are looking for staff who are skilled at managing their time and work under pressure. Are you able to able to work within targets and complete tasks on time? Skilled employers manage their time by breaking up their workload into daily or hourly targets to ensure they complete their work within agreed time frames. In the book Beat Procrastination, Alan Lakein describes a techniques called the “Swiss cheese” method - when you are putting off completing a task , break it into smaller tasks and just do one of the smaller tasks.

Time Management Tips:

  • Prioritise your goals by using the Pareto’s 80 to 20 rule. This rule was coined by Vilfredo Paerto, an Italian economist and sociologist: Pareto discovered that 80% of results comes from 20% of the activities. The key is to identify the top 20% of your goals. If you had ten goals, what are the top two that you want to accomplish. When you identify the these goals, concentrate on working on these two goals every day.

  • Make a list of all the activities that you need to complete each day. Monitor how long it takes you to complete each task. Eliminate any time wasting activities. allocate a time slot for each activity.

  • Block out time on your calendar when you do not wish to be interrupted. Allocated time slots in your diary for unexpected urgent work tasks.


High performing employers are team players and tend to be focused on the team’s overall goals. These individuals understand that every person in a team has a unique part to play to deliver goals and targets. An effective team player understands it is vital to cooperate with their colleagues to work effectively as a team.

Examples of a Team Player:

  • This individual is open to different points of views and they do not dominate the conversation in team meetings.

  • If having a difficult day, they do not allow their emotions to negatively impact on their colleagues.

  • They disagree with team members tactfully and listen to different points of view. .

  • They do not compete with other team members. They share information to reach common goals.

  • They support and encourage colleagues when needed.

If you take steps to improve your soft skills, you will take your careers to a new level. I hope that these three examples of soft skills will help you plan your strategy for your career growth.

“Soft skills get little respect but they will make or break your career” – Peggy Klaus, author - The Hard Truth About Soft Skills

You will find information, support, tip and guidance to nail the job interview in the weekly podcast: Jump Start Your Career.

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