Soft skills

Interpersonal skills

Soft or interpersonal skills are important in providing excellent customer service.

In most jobs, having product knowledge or having a degree is not enough.  Employers need to know you can work well with other people, so showing you have soft skills is important.  

Here is a list of interpersonal skills and example you can use in your CV, cover letters and job interviews.

Active listening

Listen and respect what the customer says rather than trying to talk over them.

Communication skills

Share information by phone, email and in person.

Teamwork       

Learn when to lead and when to take part.

Give examples of your skills

Give examples from your relationships with family, friends, previous work colleagues, as well as customers and people who have provided you with goods or services.

Don’t just say, “I have good communication skills.”

How to show your soft skills

Most interviewers are looking for how you show your customer service skills.

You can do this in an interview by listening actively and using your communication skills.

Look for a list of desired skills within a job description or person specification. Use this as guide to the skills you should highlight in an interview or on your CV.

For example, it might be better to highlight strong persuading skills than attention to details for a sales position.

Using soft skills in interviews

There are many types of interview questions. The most common are competency-based questions, especially for entry level jobs. These look at your potential to do the job.

The STAR Method

A popular technique is the STAR Method: you describe a Situation and Task, then explain what Action you took and what was the Result.

Situation

Describe the situation. This can be from a previous job, a volunteer experience or any relevant event.

Task

What was your task?

Action

Explain step by step the actions you took to complete the task.

Result

Describe the positive result of your actions.

You can use STAR to support your interview answers and highlight your soft skills.

How to use soft skills to explain your strengths

Many interviewers ask, “What are your strengths?” This gives you the chance to highlight your soft skills and explain why you are a good candidate.

Always prepare before applying for a job for questions around your strengths.

Aim to match the job requirements with your skills and personality.

Show your strengths 

List 5 skills and qualities you are proud of and which make you a good fit for the role. This can include technical skills, such as writing, and soft skills, such as volunteering at a charity shop.

Make sure your strengths relate to the skills expected in the role.

Read through the job description carefully and look for the main requirements. For example, if you could be serving customers, include communication or customer service skills in your examples.

Have an example ready for each strength. For example, if you mention excellent communication skills, show how you used social media during your work experience.

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