Did you know that young people are almost three times more likely to be unemployed than adults? With labour market inequalities, lower quality of jobs, and lack of job security, it’s not easy for those aged 16-24 to find gainful employment in 2018. In fact, young people are suffering the longest ever school-to-work transitions since 2012. That’s why the United Nations General Assembly has designated July 15th as World Youth Skills Day.
What is World Youth Skills Day?
World Youth Skills Day is an awareness day designed to stress the importance of youth skills development using the hashtag #SkillsChangeLives.
Excluding those in full-time education, over 54,000 people aged 16-24 are currently unemployed in the UK. It is important that we address the youth unemployment crisis head on by equipping young people with the skills they need to enter the job market. Hard skills like literacy and mathematics are important when applying for jobs but the right soft skills can make or break a job interview.
What are Soft Skills?
Soft skills are a combination of social, communication, and attitude skills that enable people to flourish in an employment environment and work well with others. Contrary to popular belief, soft skills can be developed at any point during life. Whether you’re just entering the job market or have been searching for a while, we here at Gibson Hollyhomes want to equip YOU with the soft skills that will make you stand out above the crowd.
When it comes to qualifications vs experience it’s different from job to job explains Gibson Hollyhomes Managing Director, Rory Gibson. This is why employers are often on the lookout for candidates who demonstrate strong soft skills, especially if applicants are equally matched in terms of qualifications or experience.
“It seems old fashioned to talk about people arriving on time, being polite, making an effort to be well presented, and speaking in full sentences. However, all of these aspects of everyday life are still massively important to line managers when recruiting into new roles.” – Rory Gibson, Managing Director.
Soft skills can be communicated in the interview stage by looking the potential employer in the eye and talking clearly, and with respect, about what you will offer the business. Make sure to present yourself in a way that is fitting to the institution you are looking to join.
Rory’s Top 3 Soft Skills
To get a new role you must be able to communicate why you are there and what you are looking for. Whilst communication skills show a potential employer that you’ll be able to both follow and give instructions, the benefits of good communication extend far beyond general comprehension. Communication between colleagues fosters healthy workplace relationships and helps mitigate mistakes. Effective internal communication is the key to the long-term success of an organisation.
Everybody deserves to be treated with both manners and respect from the get go so it’s important to foster a sense of respect at the start of any professional relationship. This begins with your CV. By using appropriate language and taking the time to format and present your CV correctly you’re showing an organisation you intend to take the role seriously. Comport yourself in a friendly and professional manner in the interview. Make sure to shake the interviewer’s hand and allow them to lead the conversation. Demonstrating respect in the workplace ensures the comfort of all employees and fosters a productive, low-conflict working environment.
Mirroring expectations is a very under-utilised soft skill but it’s one that Rory believes is integral to demonstrate to a potential employer. If you are serious about working for a company, then you need to take the initiative to understand the image they portray to the outside world and mirror this in the initial meeting. It shows desire, commercial knowledge, and enthusiasm for the opportunity. Do your research and show the interviewer how much of a good fit you would be for the company.
Finally, Rory’s biggest piece of advice is to ask for the input of somebody who has more knowledge of the company and role than you do, such as a recruiter. Find out which soft skills the company values and which will be integral to the role you’re applying for and make sure you hone in on these during your application. It’s a competitive market for young people looking for employment but by using the soft skills outlined above you have a much better chance of making a positive first impression on a potential employer.