Leadership and organisational skills are highly valued 'soft skills', yet jobseekers are overlooking their importance, according to recruitment experts.
When applying for a new role, candidates tend to focus on the technical skills required for the job and brush over the soft skills components of an employer's wish list - despite the fact these soft skills are currently in high demand.
"There is a shortage of candidates with the right technical skills as well as the additional soft skills that employers want in the candidate they will employ," says Hays director Nick Deligiannis. "Some employers are becoming more flexible in their requirements and will offer training to a candidate who is otherwise a good fit for the role, but others will hold out for a candidate that matches all their skill requirements - both hard and soft."
According to JLegal manager Dezz Mardigan, law firms are increasingly looking for "entrepreneur types" in senior associate, junior partner and partner roles.
"They are looking for lawyers who can demonstrate the necessary skills, such as leadership, management and organisational, for the firm's strategic alignment for succession planning, bench-strength and business development reasons," she says.
"Often lawyers overlook the importance of indicating any reference related to leadership, management or organisation as they are considered to be 'intangible' skills. A word of advice here is that lawyers have to remember that intangible skills can and will lead to positive tangible results."
The most commonly requested soft skills, according to Hays, are interpersonal and communication skills, team management and leadership skills, and organisational skills.
"These skills are mainly acquired on the job," says Mardigan, "by mirroring, matching, being mentored and developed by the more experienced and successful lawyers."
To acquire these leadership, management and organisational skills, Mardigan suggests asking for more responsibility and expressing an interest to grow within these areas, having a candid conversation with the senior lawyers and partners-in-charge about possibilities to develop these intangible skills sets, and recognising opportunities to show leadership in future deals or matters.