Enhancing Your Skillset For Career Success

Learning new skills can boost mental wellbeing, improve job satisfaction and open the door to new opportunities, from progression up the ladder in your chosen career, to enabling you to make the move into a new career path. We provide you with tips on how to enhance your skillset and stand out in a competitive job market.

Soft and hard skills: What’s the difference?

When we say "hard skills" we mean the technical expertise and specific abilities that allow a person to do their job. Hard skills can include programming skills or speaking a second language. Hard skills are teachable, meaning you can acquire them through on-the-job learning or formal qualifications. Soft skills are personal attributes and personality traits such as interpersonal skills, communication, time management and critical thinking. Soft skills are less measurable than hard skills, but are extremely valuable in any role; they allow you to work well within a team, find creative solutions to problems, and communicate effectively with colleagues and customers. Soft skills are highly transferable, which can be especially useful if you’re making a career change. During the hiring process, recruiters usually look for candidates that have the right combination of soft and hard skills. In that sense, hard and soft skills can be equally important when finding a new job, and you’ll want to highlight your most relevant hard and soft skills for that particular role.

Hard and soft skills can be broken down further into the following groups:

  • Hybrid skills: These are a balance of hard and soft skills. Hybrid skills are in demand in roles such as customer service, where employees often have to possess some technical knowledge, along with good listening and conflict-resolution skills.
  • Transferable skills: These are any skills we can apply to different jobs, such as communication and leadership. Having a strong set of transferable skills allows you to more easily move companies and job sectors as you progress in your career.
Assess your skillset

When it comes to determining your development areas, start by assessing your current skillset. Try to identify a mixture of hard and soft skills you’ll need to work on, whether it’s improving your time-management and ability to prioritise, or developing your knowledge of the software that you’re required to use in your role.

  • Think about what you enjoy.
    Think about the type of tasks which come easily to you and that you enjoy; this could be working on a solution to a problem or teaching those around you. This should give you an idea of where your strengths lie and what you can build on.
  • Revisit your job description.
    Read through the job description and remit for your current role. Are there areas of your job that you don’t feel confident in or try to avoid? Stepping out of your comfort zone ad and working on your weak points will be worth it in the long-run, as you’ll be more confident in your role and the value you’re delivering.
  • Look at job postings for your ideal role.
    If you’re looking to enhance your skillset in order to find a new job now or in the future, search for job vacancies for the one you’re looking to step into. Make a list of any essential skills the role requires and check these again your own skills and strengths - these are the ones to focus on. The same applies if you’re looking to progress into a more senior role at the company you work for, or to move departments - find out the key skills and responsibilities involved, and you can then prioritise the skills you’ll need to develop for success in the new position.
  • Ask for feedback.
    Feedback can be hugely valuable when it comes to understanding our skillset and development areas. Speak to your colleagues and manager, and even friends and family; ask them for honest feedback on your strengths and any areas you need to improve.
How to enhance your skills
  • Ask for opportunities at work. There is a good chance you can find opportunities within your current job to gain new skills. Job shadowing is a great way to give you exposure to other roles within the organisation, allowing you to gain experience and help prepare you for making an internal move when a position becomes available.
  • Find a mentor. A mentor can give you advice on how to achieve your goals and what may be holding you back at the moment - think about the people you look up to in the organisation, and consider both your short term and longer term career goals. You can also look for a mentor outside of the company you work for, especially if you’re looking to switch jobs or employers. Once you’ve found your mentor, reach out to them to ask for informal meetings, which can then develop into a positive professional relationship.
  • Take advantage of training resources. There are a huge variety of training resources available for people looking to learn new skills, from free online courses to formal training on offer within your company. Explore your options and identify those which will be the best help in improving your skillset. Reading industry publications and keeping ahead of the latest business news can also improve your commercial acumen and industry knowledge, helping you to be more successful in your role.

If you need help updating your CV or to find out about our latest roles, contact your local Adecco branch and connect with a recruiter today!

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