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Improving Your Tech CV with Soft Skills

Published date: 2019/12

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Soft skills are crucial for landing tech jobs. In fact, soft skills are so important that many employers won’t hire someone if they are lacking in this department. According to a West Monroe Partners report, 67% of employers won’t hire an otherwise perfectly qualified candidate if they lack soft skills.

Whether you’re entering the world of Australia’s tech recruitment for the first or fiftieth time, you need to be able to show and prove you have a range of soft skills. But what are they, and how do you prove them?

What Are Soft Skills?

Soft skills represent all of a person’s abilities that aren’t directly related to their role. They include relationship skills, self-management, communication, character traits, and emotional intelligence. Tech recruiters will look for these on your CV to determine if you will be a good cultural fit for their organisation and to assess if you are easy to work with, receptive to feedback, and will take initiative.

The Top Five Soft Skills for Tech Jobs in Australia

1. Communication

Communication skills were ranked number one by respondents to West Monroe Partners’ survey. With good communication, you can explain yourself to others, hold meaningful conversations, and integrate seamlessly into a company’s culture.

Verbal communication, in particular, was pinpointed by West Monroe Partners as a top soft skill, although in the tech world digital communication will be equally as important – for example, writing emails or other documents.

2. Teamwork/Collaboration

Tech workers are rarely isolated, and if so, rarely for long. You will be required to work well with others, both within your working group and without. Many of these individuals may not be tech-savvy people or simply might not know as much about your task as you do. Therefore, as a good collaborator, you must be prepared to team up with people of all levels and backgrounds.

Collaboration was also highlighted as the second key soft skill by West Monroe Partners.

3. Conflict Management

Conflict in the workplace is never an easy thing to deal with. It can be awkward, uncomfortable, and even hurtful. It is perhaps for this reason that a Udemy report stated conflict management is the top soft skill desired among tech professionals – those who can not only work together but mediate conflict and ensure a smooth working relationship, are desirable candidates (especially candidates looking into a management role).

4. Stress Management

Technology can be an exciting place, with lots of change. But as we all know it can come with tight deadlines and a lot of pressure, which puts stress on tech workers across the country.

Only 52% of Australians believe their workplace is mentally healthy, according to findings from HeadsUp.org.au, and one in five have recently taken time off work due to feeling mentally unwell. Untreated mental health is costing Australian businesses nearly $11 billion a year, which makes stress management an increasingly important soft skill for tech professionals. If you know how to look after yourself, and manage your stress, it may appear favourable when going for your next tech role.

5. Adaptability, and a Willingness to Learn

As mentioned, tech is always changing. Every year brings with it a new development and a whole new skill set for Australia’s tech professionals to develop. Adaptability and an eagerness to learn new things are vital for success in the tech sector, as there will always be a degree of ongoing professional development required for a tech career.

If you can demonstrate that you are willing to learn and adapt to new things, you can prove that you’re ready for whatever the future holds.

How Can You Prove Soft Skills on a CV?

Everything we’ve discussed so far is all very well, but simply writing a list of soft skills on one’s CV may look like you are filling it with buzzwords to make yourself look better. So how do you actually show that you’ve mastered these skills, and prove it to tech recruiters?

Rather than simply writing out a list of soft skills, mix the appropriate keywords into brief anecdotes about your achievements. Numbers can also help, as statistics appear more reliable than statements. You can talk about projects you’ve completed, training courses you’ve taken, certificates you’ve earned, deadlines that you’ve worked within, and anything else that feels relevant.

Example:

  1. Developed and presented a series of training presentations on cloud computing for 92 staff members across two office locations (this shows your communication ability, and a willingness to work with others).

Other Ways to Prove Your Soft Skills

While proving soft skills on your CV is of the utmost importance, you can also discuss them in your covering letter and on your LinkedIn profile. In fact, these will let you flesh out projects that you otherwise simplified on your CV, allowing you to go into greater detail about why the anecdote is relevant.

On LinkedIn, you can also ask peers to endorse you on certain skills, and you can display certifications and other qualifications that you’ve acquired during your career. Should a recruiter look at your profile before calling you in for an interview, this will give them the full picture of your abilities - including soft skills.

Summary

Employers want you to possess certain soft skills and these could make the difference between landing a tech role or not. But the burden is on you to acquire and prove these skills – research your recruiter to find out which skills might be valuable to them (e.g. look for keywords in the job description) and prioritise them on your CV.

And remember, when writing out soft skills make sure you can back them up with anecdotal evidence, so they aren’t just buzzwords. If you’ve got them, numbers will help.

For more help tidying up your resume or to talk to a professional about your career options in Australia’s tech sector, get in touch with us today.

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