If you’re looking for a part-time job, work experience or an apprenticeship, you’ll be aware of the need to demonstrate your skills. But what are they? Do you know which ones you’ve got and the difference between hard, soft and employability skills? What are transferable skills and what do you do with them?

Take a look at our simple overview to help give you a steer and get your future started!

Employability Skills

Many of the skills that you may already have – which might include communication, teamwork, leadership, attention to detail and even IT skills – can be called Employability Skills because they are generally valued by employers. In other words, there is a good chance that they will be of use in any workplace.

Soft Skills

With the exception of IT, this same list of examples can also be called Soft Skills because they generally enable you to work effectively with others. They are difficult to quantify and arguably impossible to teach anyone because they are usually inherent – you are who you are. Some people have been natural leaders since way back in primary school, whilst others have always been good listeners: the trick is to know which of these skills naturally applies to you because they are your strengths!

Interpersonal Soft Skills

The list of soft skills can then also be drilled down further and referred to as Interpersonal Skills if we take out of the definition some of the non-people traits, such as your naturally inherent creativity and analytical skills. Again, you’ll already know – or your friends and family can tell you – what you are naturally good at, but this may be a good time to write them down for reference.

Hard Skills

The other group of skills that you may already have are known as Hard Skills. Common examples include IT/technical skills, being able to speak a foreign language and having relevant experience of a specialist industry.

The main advantage is that they can usually be learned. When you know what sort of career you want to pursue, you may spot gaps in your basic CV and therefore take a course to learn the missing skill. Another obvious example would be to have driving lessons if you knew you wanted to work in the transport sector – or if your future employer specifically requested that you had a licence.

However, the challenge with Hard Skills is that they make it very easy to compare you with other candidates – for example, comparing who has a driving licence or has passed a particular exam? It’s much less subjective than when comparing Soft Skills.

Incorporate your existing skills into a basic ‘template’ CV

The Hard and Soft Skills that you already have define who you are. And so, it is important to be able to identify which ones you have so that you can create your CV – the basic sales brochure for ‘product-you’ that we talk about in other blogs.

Making a list of your existing Hard and Soft Skills is a good time to reflect on product-you before you start looking for opportunities.

After creating this basic CV, you will know who you are and what you are good at. You’ll also have examples to prove it! But this is just the starting point once you begin looking at actual adverts.

Match any existing skills to the ones valued by the employer

If you are applying for an apprenticeship, work experience or a part-time job – or if you are using the content to help with your personal statement – you should be making time to match your existing list of Hard and Soft Skills to the ones that are important to the employer – or Uni – as this will enhance your chances of getting an interview.

At Careersnearhere, we often talk about the analogy of buying a car.

In deciding on which car to purchase, you would take a look at the different sales brochures, and pay particular attention to the details that are important to you – such as the different trim for the seats, the hubcaps or the dashboard features. In the same way, an employer will scan your CV looking for the skills and achievements that are of most interest to them.

It is therefore important to edit your basic template CV so that it highlights the skills that match to the ones they are looking for: if nothing else, it makes your newly bespoke CV much easier for them to read through and entirely relevant.

You don’t have to remove any other skills, but you will certainly want to ‘hide’ them lower down the page in a less prominent position. They are features, but not benefits because the employer/car buyer is not looking for – or possibly even interested in – them.

And finally …

When you submit an application, the skills that remain in your newly adapted, bespoke, CV can now be referred to as Transferable Skills for the purpose of this one application.

They are Transferable Skills because you have been able to match them to the advert and to the employer – like a dating agency. And they are called Transferable Skills because, realistically, they were not acquired in the same industry and you are effectively ‘transferring’ them to the new employer.

You identified which skills would be of specific interest to a particular employer, for a particular role, reviewed your own list of skills and then edited your template CV to reflect the application so that it is left headlining those of your skills that will cause the employer to smile and nod when reading through.

We’ll cover more on Transferable Skills in future blogs – so follow on Facebook if you want to find out more.

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