Soft skills are personal qualities or attributes and often take a back seat to more obvious ‘hard’ technical skills and qualifications but employers will be looking out for them at all stages of the recruitment process.

The best way to demonstrate your personal qualities to the employer is during the job interview but to get to that stage, you need to make sure they can see some evidence of them in your CV and cover letter.

Some of the most important soft skills are:

Motivation

Employers want to work with people who are eager to do the job and who get it done quickly and in a positive manner. If you’re keen to develop, it is worth mentioning this in your cover letter. For your CV, include elements of how you progressed in a role or what qualifications you took to help you reach the next level. If you’ve moved on to a more taxing job to stretch yourself, for example, make sure you include this.

Team player

Employers value team players because they can have confidence that their team is working together to achieve their objectives. It is worth mentioning your team skills up front – if you’re ex-military you won’t be lacking great examples!

Leadership

You don’t have to be a manager to display excellent leadership skills. Examples of leadership skills include responsibility for your own work, being accountable, helping others achieve their goals in the best interests of the team. Examples for CVs and cover letters don’t have to be job-specific. If you’ve captained or coached a sports team, delivered a project inside or outside of work, these would be excellent things to include.

Initiative

Your initiative is your ability to start and complete work independently – to make things happen. Make your initiative stand out on your CV and cover letter by including projects, tasks or activities that you have started independently and any suggestions, improvements or ideas that you have put forward which has helped people or businesses to solve problems.

Interpersonal skills

Your interpersonal skills are your abilities to communicate and interact with others. It is vital to include some element of this skill in your CV and cover letter for example, by confidently stating that you are a good communicator or highlighting an example where you have solved an issue by talking it through with your team and collaborating on a solution.

Attention to detail

Attention to detail is highly valued by employers because applicants with attention to detail tend to deliver excellent work that needs little or no correction. It is worth mentioning on your CV but – and this is important – make sure your CV doesn’t contain any mistakes that will catch you out!

Organisation

Lack of organisation is the  main thing that derails projects, so recruiters will be looking out for evidence that you can manage tasks effectively. Give real-world examples such as when you delivered a project on time and within budget, or completed all your tasks during an exceptionally busy time.

Performance under pressure

Nobody wants job stress, but the reality is that every job has some stress built in. Employers want to know that their staff will stay calm and carry out their tasks efficiently. One way to reassure prospective employers of your ability to handle pressure is to make mention of it in your CV by giving real-world examples of instances in which you demonstrated having this ability.

Flexibility

We live in an ever-changing world and work in industries that are constantly changing and evolving. This means that flexibility is a highly desired personal quality in any candidate. Show you are flexible by giving examples of changing course to get a job done.