Your CV is packed with the right technical skills and relevant experience, with solid qualifications to back them up.
But when it comes to moving up to your next role, are you doing enough to market your ‘employability skills’ to potential employers too?
More and more businesses are looking for candidates with an all-round set of competencies and qualities - from commercial sense to creativity, and everything in between. In fact, LinkedIn research suggests that 57% of senior leaders view those soft skills as more important than hard skills.
Let’s explore four key phrases we feel it’s wise to include in your CV and job applications, and why they count in today’s job market.
In the current global business environment, strong technical professional candidates are able to spot where their roles fit in a broader, more commercial context. It’s important to understand how engineering issues affect overall business profitability and their impact on the overall success on an employer.
When you’re applying for a new role, try and demonstrate that you understand the business strategies of your employer as well as its customers - and how your previous work has helped deliver that strategy.
Think about the projects and contracts you’ve worked on. Have you made a contribution to how profitable they’ve been, in terms of results, efficiencies or cost savings? You may also have been able to spot potential risks to avoid - or commercial opportunities to exploit.
Emerging technologies are changing the world (and the business landscape) at an unimaginable pace, scale and force.
This calls for employees who can adapt to changing circumstances and act nimbly. This kind of flexibility is especially important for technical professionals where projects can demand speedy shifts of focus or priorities.
Aim to show how you’ve been able to identify solutions to unforeseen problems - and then worked quickly to make the right modifications to adapt to the situation.
When LinkedIn ran a survey of its job postings to find the most in-demand soft skills companies needed in 2019, creativity topped the list. It’s the most important skill in the world because, as researchers said, ‘While robots are great at optimizing old ideas, organizations most need creative employees who can conceive the solutions of tomorrow’.
However, don’t confuse creativity with being artistic. Being creative in a technical professional career like engineering, for example, means using imagination and resourcefulness when it comes to problem solving or troubleshooting. Think of work situations when you’ve been able to find ways to apply your existing knowledge in a creative way.
The phrase ‘good communication skills’ may be a famous CV cliché but as we know through our work at RHL finding top candidates, this kind of personal attribute has never been so important.
Certainly, technical proficiency is crucial. But so are everyday writing, speaking, and listening skills - being able to deal effectively with colleagues, and clearly communicate complex ideas and details to clients so they’re on board with your work.
Think about times you’ve been able to ‘sell’ your ideas and convince others of the merit of your case, especially if it was a difficult situation. Or perhaps you’ve been able to break down technical terminology and communicate it in a way that’s more understood by your audience - in written form or as a presentation.
There’s another reason to focus as much on employability skills as your technical proficiency. Although artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to transform many technical professional sectors, robots haven’t managed to emulate human soft skills - yet.
And although there are candidate shortages in many sectors including engineering and construction, it’s always wise to set your application apart from your competitors.
Making the most of employability skills is a key way to do this. Take two candidates with more or less the same career experience and qualifications. One lets their technical expertise do the talking; the other also highlights their employability skills. No prizes for guessing which one gets the job.