When it comes to applying for a new job, the main focus tends to be on the qualifications and technical requirements if the position. And as much as these are necessary in order to get your CV and submission noticed by the relevant hiring managers, it’s the addition of soft skills – these being the cluster of personality traits, social graces, communication, and the sort that round you off a professional – that may just land you the job, and indeed serve you well in truly proving yourself and progressing with your career.
Make sure that you highlight your soft skills at every possible occasion, with examples and references to occasion in which they’ve served you well.
Here are our top 10 soft skills that will sell you as a well rounded and proficient professional.
More than just having a good grasp of the spoken and written language, the ability to communicate well involves – first of all – being able to listen and take on board information, as well as being able to properly and adequately convey it depending on the specific circumstance – at times, it will require details and technical prowess, as were on other occasions, it is all about boiling things down succinctly or in layman language.
The ability to think on your feet, be creative and resourceful in order to resolve situations that may arise at any given moment is an attractive quality that will appeal to any employer. Draw from past experiences when highlighting this key soft skill in your submissions and interviews.
Being able to take on board any changes quickly and successfully, as well as being flexible enough to seamlessly delve from – or, juggle, as may well be the case – completely different duties, is the sort of core asset that any fast paced work environment will require from any of its staff, let alone a PA or EA.
Working well with others is a trait you might assume is a given, because you’re likely a team player yourself. But don’t be fooled, as many an employee lack the sort of key, innate interpersonal skills that can make like so much easier for everyone involved. Make sure that it is obvious from all your contact with a prospective employer that you are personable and will work well with anyone you come in contact with.
You might see it as simply being a part of the job, but having the type of character that sees you put the effort in, and go the extra mile, is definitely worth bragging about. As a PA a lot will be expected of you, that much is definitely a given, so make sure that your would-be boss knows that you have the sort of work ethic that will get the job done no matter what.
From being punctual to delivering to a deadline, the ability to manage your time properly, prioritising tasks accordingly when working across an ever growing variety of areas, is central to your success as a PA.
Working Well Under Pressure
Whether it’s deadlines or crises, it’s more than likely that you will, at some point or another, be involved in a high pressure situation. Be sure to demonstrate that you’re the sort to rise to challenge and even thrive, rather than crumble and collapse under the strain of it all.
Coping With Criticism
Criticism is part of life, particularly in a work environment. And it isn’t always a case of doing something wrong – sometimes it’s just a case of doing things differently. However, the ability to not be deterred by it, no matter how scathing or relentlessly it may be delivered – and we all know that it can certainly hurt upon reception – is a true asset, along with taking it on board constructively and, crucially, learning from the experience.
There might be a fine line between coming across as confident and arrogant, but that’s not to mean you should back away from demonstrating, in how you express and carry yourself, that you know how good you are. Don’t doubt yourself, or your ability to not only get the job, but to undertake it with style.
Last but certainly not least, and a “skill” that we’d encourage you to practice throughout every aspect of your life, is having a positive attitude and outlook. It’s not always easy, particularly during a job hunting phase, but staying optimistic can change everything, including the outcome of an interview. Always be positive about past experience, highlighting what you’ve gained, and refrain from delving into negative territory – no matter what may have happened, try to put an upbeat spin on it, because everything happens for a reason and you know that you’re now on the right track.
Have we left out any key soft skills that you think are crucial to thriving as a PA? If so, let us know below.