Career Advice Career Guidance and Counselling

No thrills with poor skills

When ascertaining performance, employers typically hone in on four soft skills: interpersonal and communication; team management and leadership; organisational; and language skills.

Widely held as a key requirement, the first skill set can include anything from working efficiently as a team and building relationships, to the proper handling of phone calls and e-mails, to giving presentations to clients and management. These skills are highly desirable, so candidates should prepare examples before an interview to demonstrate their capabilities.

Individuals with team management and leadership skills are in short supply. Hence, candidates should try their best to attain them. For example, they can volunteer to chair meetings, help run a team project or mentor a junior member of the team. 

Many candidates either lack or do not give enough attention to organisational skills. There are plenty of ways job-seekers can demonstrate their organisational skills, from proper time management to running events and breaking a large project down into manageable pieces.

An urgent, recurring theme in the job market is the need for language skills. In a global economy where English has become the lingua franca, having a decent grasp of the language is a must. Alternatively, for those whose first language is English, being able to speak a second or third language with any ability is prized.

Emma Charnock, regional director, Hays (Hong Kong and China)