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
- 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
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
- 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
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!
more information on transferable soft skills click