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5 soft skills to focus on in 2020

Published: Wednesday 1st January 2020

As technology continues to automate many repetitive work processes, certain soft skills are becoming more important for employers when making hiring decisions. For candidates planning a new job search in 2020, that means focusing on factors such as creativity, decision-making and interpersonal skills.

Soft skills and personal fitness responsibility HR human resources concept

In order to highlight strengths in these areas, both on CV and at interview, candidates need to prepare. That means seeing exactly where your strengths lie and honing those skills that might need a little work. You might be thinking that most of these soft skills come naturally – either you have it or you don’t – but as we’ll see there are things you can do to boost your ability and your confidence in many of these key areas. In a competitive jobs market, soft skills can make all the difference.


Organisations are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of new technologies. What they need now is people who know how to apply these technologies to real-life business scenarios in order to reap the benefits. That’s where creativity comes in. Employers want people with ideas to connect the dots, so to speak. The good news is, creativity is like any muscle; the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. Just taking up a new hobby, such as painting or playing an instrument, can give your creativity a real boost.


Problem solvers are always in demand and this is one soft skill that’s easy to hone. Most problems can be addressed methodically by defining the issue, brainstorming potential solutions, analysing the effectiveness of your solutions and finally deciding which to implement. And since we constantly encounter problems in everyday life, there’s plenty of opportunity to practice your own strategies when it comes to problem-solving. The key here is to start seeing problems as challenges rather than immovable objects. Focus on the solution, not the obstacle.

Problem solving concept of people sitting around a desk to solve a problem


Great communicators are always in demand, whether to inspire, motivate, negotiate or persuade. Improve yours by identifying weak areas. The interpersonal skills assessment test here will help. Remember that communication is a two-way street. It’s not all about talking. Listening is vital part of the process. Being a better communicator is all about listening, reflecting and questioning. Practice this in everyday situations and you’ll soon find that you’re resolving issues faster and having more positive outcomes as your communication skills develop.

Emotional intelligence

Following on from communication, EQ (Emotional Quotient), as opposed to IQ, is a buzzword that’s been heard more and more with recruiters in the UK jobs market. Candidates that can demonstrate emotional intelligence are those that are able to defuse tense situations, stress and conflict, promoting harmony, higher productivity and job satisfaction at work. Boosting your EQ is all about being self-aware, having empathy with others, responding instead of reacting to conflict and developing a positive attitude.

Happy, smiling, excited corporate employee promoting emotional intelligence

Critical thinking

The ability to use logic and reasoning is another soft skill that is becoming more in demand in recent years. As we are bombarded with information daily, it’s easy to take it all for granted. Developing critical thinking is exactly how it sounds. Scrutinise what’s being presented to you and who’s saying it. What are their motives? Reflect, research and discover the facts for yourself. Start applying this theory in everyday situations and you’ll learn to use it more and more.

Put all these tips into practice in the real world and you’re on the way to honing the most in-demand skills for 2020. And when you’re ready to begin your UK job search in 2020, start with Zoek.

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