What are soft skills? Soft skills are defined as character traits or interpersonal aptitudes that effect the ability to work and interact with others in a work environment. We most often learn soft skills at school, in the classroom, directly or indirectly. They are not always “people skills” but are abilities relating to emotional intelligence and can be useful for all industries and job types.
Examples of soft skills include:
- Team Work
- Work Ethic
- Interpersonal Skills
- Time Management
- Attention to detail
Hard skills unlike soft skills are more job specific skills that are usually acquired through education or training. They are based solely on technical knowledge. Hard and soft skills complement each other in the workplace: hard skills reflect whether you would be suitable for the job and the technical skills it requires, whereas soft skills are unique and personal as they reflect the way you deal with situations specific to a work environment or the role for which you are applying.
“94% of recruiters believe that soft skills outweigh experience… 75% of recruiting professionals have cut an interview short because a candidate didn’t demonstrate the soft skills needed for the position they had applied for.”–Forbes
Soft skills distinguish you from other employees as they are unique to your individual personality. They also tend to highlight your leadership skills and this is what employers most often look at. There are many ways that you can show off your soft skills to your employer, generally this is usually over face-to-face interviews. Using examples is a brilliant way to show off your soft skills as you can demonstrate how valuable your skills really are and how these have aided you in many difficult work situations. For example, it is particularly important that when asked questions about difficult work situations you cleverly answer with how it got solved or what you would do differently next time rather than just stating the final result.
Here are some examples of common soft skills and their DOs and DONTs:
Team Work & Collaboration
- Avoid ‘I’s’ and use more ‘We’s’.
- Make sure to mention team accomplishments as well as personal ones, how you contributed to team effort.
Perseverance & Dedication
- Show confidence in why you made certain decisions.
- Emphasise your passion and dedication to work, as it is a reflection of your work ethic.
- Give examples that reflect your perseverance to accomplish anything, both work problems and personal work goals.
Time Management & Organisation
- Time management is a clear representation of how efficiently you work.
- It reflects an organised candidate, who shows how passionate and seriously they want the role!
- If you have good time management skills, it reduces the likelihood of stress within the workplace.
Describe how you solved a problem step by step e.g. “First I spoke to my manager and then…”
Soft Skills in Publishing
Now that you know all about soft skills, which of these will be the most important when you are applying and interviewing for a role in publishing?
Effective communication and emotional intelligence are important in the world of publishing. It is important to understand the mood, tone and the values of those around us. Fair and consistent communication is essential; being able to asses and attend to emotional needs is integral to gaining understanding.
Openness and honest are also very important. For those just starting a career in publishing it is imperative to be open to the entire experience being a learning process. Being honest in saying ‘I need help’/’I’m not good at that’ shows your interviewer/employer that you do struggle but are willing to learn and grow within those personal struggles.
Finally, learning with agility is another key soft skill in publishing; everything is a trial and error both in life and in the world of work. It is okay to fail in work tasks as long as you’re learning quickly. Persevering demonstrates your potential and growth in character. Always strive for better and work proactively within your job. You may find that in publishing certain traditions are kept, but all businesses look ahead, so having employees who are equally forward thinking helps the industry to grow! For more information on transferable soft skills click here!