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Customising your Office Manager CV template: soft skills
Every job advert that’s posted will clearly show the specific skills that are required. These skills are called ‘job specific’ and a candidate would have to demonstrate that they have most if not all of those skills on their CV. So far so good, right?
The problem with this however is that far too many CVs focus too much on those job specific skills and forget about the equally important ‘soft skills’. To help explain why your soft skills are important to an employer, let’s first of all look at…
What is a soft skill?
A soft skill is a generic attribute that an employer would expect every employer to have. For example, being able to problem solve, have good organisation skills, be able to work well as part of a team, and so on. None of these skills could be classed as specific, and are just the standard skills that an employer would need to adequately possess in order to function to an expected level within the work place.
Some people are exceptionally strong in most of these areas, and no matter what qualifications they lack are able to quickly learn a new role and integrate seamlessly with a company, other team members, and the culture. Having a good, strong foundation of soft skills will allow you to progress quickly, learn new skills, and climb the ladder to success.
Here is a list of some of the most important soft skills for an office manager:
- Organisational and time-management skills
- The ability to prioritise tasks
- The ability to work under pressure
- Teamworking skills
- The ability and confidence to lead and motivate a team
- The ability to manage your workload whilst supervising others concurrently
- Good interpersonal, oral and written communication skills
- Very good attention to detail
Flexibility and adaptability
- Problem solving skills
- Project management skills
Why are soft skills important to an employer?
It doesn’t matter how many qualifications and skills you have on display within your office manager CV – it still doesn’t mean you will be good at the job. Your potential performance is equally as important to the employer as your Masters Degree, and how you demonstrate that you have the right soft skills to perform to a high level in the role is the key to getting an interview and a long and successful career.
From the employers perspective it can be very hard to tell just from a CV, and even the interview if an employee will perform to expected levels once hired. No amount of time and training can help someone who, although is highly qualified, isn’t able to function correctly in the role, the team, the department, and the company because of a lack of soft skills.
A good example of why a soft skill would be important to an employer is when it comes to problem solving. Someone who is unable to solve day to day issues that arise by themselves and needs constant guidance and support, could end up being a burden on the rest of the team and the department. A manager likes to know that their team can deal with the usual problems that arise on a daily basis. By clearly demonstrating that you are a good problem solver on your CV, you are already giving off a good first impression and are one step closer to the important interview stage.
TIP: Does the job advert have very little detail as to what soft skills are required? If so, check out the Office Manager job profile at Prospects.ac.uk.
How can I demonstrate a soft skill on my office manager CV?
The hiring manager wants to be able to see from your CV that you have a good foundation of soft skills that will be able to carry you into the role with ease. You need to demonstrate a good balance of these skills throughout your CV, which can be achieved by utilising your employment history section.
Rather than simply listing all of the previous tasks and responsibilities for each job title, the employer would also like to see how you performed in those roles, and more specifically, the soft skills you developed and currently have. After reviewing the job advert you should now know which soft skills the employer would value the most, which will allow you to focus and tailor your CV correctly.
As an example – for a role that would require great team working and communication skills, show how you successfully managed a project, your role and the outcome of that project. When it comes to communication, you may need your CV to demonstrate how you are good at resolving customer complaints – especially for a customer service based role that you’re applying for.
Read more: How to demonstrate soft skills on your CV
How do I develop a soft skill?
How you achieve a strong foundation of soft skills varies greatly from person to person, but there are some guaranteed ways of getting where you want to be. Firstly, actual work experience is probably the best way to develop your soft skills further.
Being in a working environment will allow you to experience everything from communication (written and verbal), interaction with customers and colleagues, team working, problem solving, taking part in meetings, writing reports, meeting deadlines, working under pressure, and so on.
Understandably you’re probably thinking how you can possibly get that work experience if you’re not able to write a CV in the first place that gets you a job! However, although soft skills can be achieved quickly through work experience, there are lots of other ways.
As a recent or soon to be school leaver or someone with little to no work experience, developing soft skills can be done a number of ways. First of all although you probably didn’t realise it, your time during education taught you a lot of soft skills. Any projects you took part in, class presentations, essays and dissertations – are all routes to developing soft skills.
Secondly, you could consider voluntary or part time work. Both of these are a great way to get valuable work experience for your office manager CV, and to develop your soft skills. Apprenticeships are also a fantastic way of being introduced gradually into a working environment whilst gaining a qualification.
Read more: Voluntary work for work experience
BONUS TIP: Membership of a professional organisation can help show your commitment to the industry. Office Managers may wish to join the Institute of Administrative Management for example, which focuses on developing professional administrators, administrative managers and managers. Alternatively you could look at the Association of Executive and Administrative Professionals.