Skill shortage an issue of quality, not quantity

18 December 2011

Over the past year the Australian employment market has been dominated by skills shortages, and this looks set to continue into the New Year. However, the big challenge for employers in the finance and accounting industry is no longer a shortage of technical skills, but a shortage of good quality candidates with the right soft skills.

Cultural fit and soft skills like strong leadership and efficiency are in high demand from employers because they are a good indicator of how well a candidate will fit in and perform at the organisation. Employing candidates with the right mixture of skills can minimise costly hiring mistakes that could undermine workforce productivity and morale down the line. However, many Australian employers are struggling to find candidates that tick all the boxes.  

Job seekers that can demonstrate strong soft skills will have a great advantage in 2012, so they should take the time to find out what attributes their prospective employers are looking for. If you’re looking for a new job, the following tips will help you to be ahead of the game in 2012:

1. Do your research
Different employers value different qualities in a candidate, so you should spend some time researching what your prospective employer is looking for.

2. Develop your skills
Work experience is the best way to develop your soft skills. Don’t be afraid to ask your boss for training and development, and make the most of any opportunities that let you improve your communication and teamwork. Seeking a mentor can also help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, and build your skill set. Stay competitive in today’s market by using our eLearning program.

3. Show that you’re applying them
In your CV and discussions with hiring managers, it is important to provide tangible examples of times when you have used these qualities. For example, talk about business situations where you were recognised for teamwork or for inspiring others to perform at a high level. You should also take advantage of platforms like LinkedIn to list and show-off your abilities - like good writing skills. It can be a good idea to use keywords from the job description when talking about your talents. Writing an effective CV is essential, click here for more tips and advice to improve your CV.

4. Demonstrate a cultural fit
In order to reduce turnover and increase productivity, many employers are interested in professionals most likely to blend easily into the prevailing corporate culture. Before the job interview, research the company and industry to find out more about the culture. A good way to establish what the employer is like is by using your professional network to gain insight from friends and colleagues. If you are using a recruiter they can be a valuable source of insight too. Once you get through to the interview stage, use it as an opportunity to establish a rapport with the hiring manager, and demonstrate why you would be a good fit.

Ultimately, landing a dream job is all about standing out from the crowd. Hiring managers receive a lot of CVs from candidates with strong technical knowledge, so demonstrating that you are an all-rounder may just give you the edge that you need.

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