Why are soft skills so important?

Sometimes I lament when I hear about graduates and the career trajectory they think they can launch themselves into immediately.

I am absolutely that person that says you should aim high, BUT aim realistically too, and to quote every grandmother on the planet—good things come to those who wait!

Sometimes, to get from A to B, you do need to go via C, D and E, all to get back to B.

And you know what, it’s okay. It doesn’t have to take an age either.

Often your first few jobs are not your dream role, but what they are in fact are building blocks to help you grow, mature and to make you a more rounded, creative individual.

Soft skills. Learning how to answer phones, work on finished art, be a PA or on reception in a progressive organisation. Doing office admin or working in recruitment, it all plays a part in who you become in your chosen field down the track.

Myself, after studying photography, I was an assistant and worked in TV and theatre. I traveled the world, I was a ‘door bitch’ in a night club in London, I worked for a poet making bookings at literary festivals in the UK, I taught photography, I worked in recruiting and I worked on new business in design studios.

All of this made me who I am today. Each job, no matter how quirky and not related to the creative world, gave me certain skills that have stood me in good stead throughout my career journey (which I might add is still a massive learning curve for me.)

‘Door bitching’ gave me a great insight in to human nature. New business calls enhanced my network and very quickly made me realise what it takes to get past a receptionist! Television and theatre made me understand procedures and being organized. Teaching made me a more understanding person and the network I created over all those years gave me the courage to start my own business.

Soft skills are essential in any creative role. Now more than ever we are working with smaller agencies and design studios where people need to multi-task and be able and happy to wear many hats.

I am constantly surprised when consulting with individuals on how many soft skills they do have, yet have neglected to mention them in a CV.

Please don’t forgot all of those lessons you have learnt and continue to learn along the way, and certainly don’t under estimate them.

10 Points How to Interview

I spend a lot of time with creatives on understanding how to best present themselves and their work in an interview.

I recently did a talk to a group of students and was asked to put forward 10 bullet points on how to go about the interview process.

I thought I would share them with you. They are in no specific order, but all equally important.

• Interview the interviewer (It’s important you understand the role and ask questions too).

• Be confident not cocky.

• Have a plan when you meet them on how you want to show your work.

• Gauge the meeting to see if they are chatty, quiet, formal, informal and follow accordingly.

• Never forget it’s an interview.

• Research the company first.

• Communication - BE YOU!

• Don’t bore them, find something in common with them while chatting eg: a project they’ve done, footy team, picture of a pet on their desk.

• Be relevant.

• Be individual.