Ma’am to Mrs

A career transition journey from Military to Civilian

What are Soft Skills? — 18th Oct 2021

What are Soft Skills?

Soft Skills get little respect, but will make or break your career

Peggy Claus

Soft skills are those that cannot be taught. Hard skills are those that you can learn or are taught, but soft skills are developed over time and highlight your personality and those skills that are important to all situations in life.

The following are six types of soft skill I’ve picked out. Within these headings are a number of methods that can be used to showcase your abilities in these areas. It’s important to understand your soft skills and to know how to highlight them when completing your CV and for interview. Whilst a company may not directly ask you about your soft skills, they will be assessing them through your demeanour and content of your responses in interview.

Of course I haven’t just plucked these out of thin air, and I’d like to state that I have used the following site to aid me in putting this post together: developgoodhabits.com

Communication Skills

There are so many ways that you can prove your communication skills. The following are a selection to give you examples of methods that we all use every day:

  • Verbal Communication
  • Non-Verbal Communication
  • Visual Communication
  • Written Communication
  • Active Listening
  • Negotiation
  • Influencing and persuasion
  • Presentation Skills
  • Networking
  • Storytelling Skills
  • Diplomacy Skills

Problem-Solving Skills

We’re all about solving problems aren’t we? I can’t think of a day that goes by that I haven’t had to come up with a quick change due to unforeseen circumstances (on the bus, off the bus springs to mind).

  • Analysis
  • Experimentation
  • Imagination
  • Innovation
  • Insight
  • Lateral Thinking
  • Logical Reasoning
  • Observation
  • Questioning
  • Troubleshooting

Leadership Skills

You don’t have to be in a leadership position to show that you have these skills – new person posted in? Mentor and coach them in their new role… have a word with your mates when they’re having an argument…

  • People Management
  • Project Management
  • Meeting Management
  • Coaching
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Decision-Making
  • Delegation
  • Mentoring
  • Supervising
  • Team-Building
  • Versatility

Work Ethic Skills

This section speaks for itself I think, you would hope that this is ingrained into the majority of serving personnel.

  • Commitment
  • Dependable
  • Discipline
  • Initiative
  • Motivated
  • Punctual
  • Reliable
  • Responsible
  • Trainable

Teamwork Skills

Do you work well in a team? Can you cooperate with others? If so, you have team work skills!

  • Accept feedback
  • Collaborative
  • Cooperation
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Influential
  • Mediation
  • Self-awareness
  • Social Skills

Time Management Skills

Do you get jobs done on time, set SMART objectives for your SJAR and plan your day according to priorities? Guess what – you have time management skills that you can talk about.

  • Coping
  • Focus
  • Goal-Setting
  • Introspection
  • Organisation
  • Planning
  • Prioritisation
  • Stress Management
  • Work-Life Balance

During our time in the Armed Forces, I believe we have ample opportunities to prove our abilities in all of these areas at varying degrees. I’d wholly recommend taking this list and having a think of where and when you have been able to show your capabilities in these headings. You could note them down and see where you might need to provide more evidence – this will be invaluable when you come to write your CV as well as when preparing for interview, you’ll have such a wealth of examples and evidence to draw on you won’t even need to think about it and you can switch them around in your CV dependent on the Companies requirements.

My Career Transition Activity – May 2021 — 10th Jun 2021

My Career Transition Activity – May 2021

Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.

Abigail Adams

Wow – I can’t believe it’s the end of May already! I knew it would, but the time is going so fast!

I’m finally settling on one area that I would really like to focus on for my next career, which is something that I’ve been trying to work on recently. I’ve had a couple of threads that I had pulled out of my first round of self-reflection, but having then concentrated on those two, I now know that I want to solidly commit to joining the Learning and Development community.

How have I come to this decision? Well really it’s thanks to the CIPD L5 Diploma in L&D that I’m currently undertaking. I’ve learned so much already and have been fascinated by the course content, which has inspired me to research models, strategies and techniques that I’d only previously been vaguely aware of (or not at all) or didn’t have a name for. It’s been a great realisation that I really love this form of work, which I didn’t realise was so closely linked to coaching as well, which someone very kindly suggested I look into. This all seems to fit into the natural way in which I’ve undertaken my path so far – I have a desire to always be learning and the prospect of helping others develop themselves to be the best that they can be is incredibly appealing.

Whilst completing a recent assignment for my course, I came across Insights Discovery & Colour Types in which I discovered that I was classified as a ‘helper’, which is a mix of the green and yellow personality types. It also explained that I had the following characteristics: Introverted Intuition with Extraverted Thinking. For me, this helped me realise that whilst I am introverted, I have the ability to think like an extravert. This makes sense to me in that I am writing this blog and putting myself ‘out there’ on LinkedIn. I’ve always had really great and positive comments about my ability to communicate and build communication networks etc. I tend to do this online rather than face to face, which leans towards the introvert side – I’m fascinated by this!

Anyway, I’ve also been busy doing other things this month. I’ve taken up some of the events on the CTP website.

The first one of the month was the Transition to Teach event. This was really interesting and included a number of ex-forces personnel who had made the transition following this pathway.

The next one was my very first Employment Fair. There were a large number of companies here, some which I recognised and some that I didn’t. I was really nervous attending this – especially when I went into rooms and I was the only one there so I had to converse with people! CTP very handily sent out a document beforehand detailing the industry, role types and locations that all of the companies were involved in, so I at least had a clue about what I wanted to ask. This additional document helped me to pick out the ones that would be in my location and figure out whether we were suited to each other.

A third event I attended was the Women in the Military event held Eloise Cheales This was really interesting and very inspiring. There were a number of ex-service personnel present, who had left at varying ranks and stages of their careers. They discussed their journey’s so far and were available afterwards for a Q&A session.

Next, I undertook the LinkedIn Masterclass held by trishmullen via the Forces Transition Group – FTG. I would say that this has provided me with the most value so far in my journey – bearing in mind that I’m not actively looking for work at this point. The key takeaways from this for me was surrounding connections, posting content, keywords, things to post about and general advice to get yourself out there.

Since this masterclass and the realisation that I want to go into the L&D industry, my LinkedIn presence, learning and connections have increased massively. The posts I now see are focused towards L&D, I’ve either followed or connected with leaders in the industry and commented on their posts – which I would never have done before – and I’ve found them nothing but helpful and positive (rather than patronising and dismissive as I’d previously assumed they might).

Due to the work I’ve put in to my transition so far and the fantastic support of John Stephenson , I’ve been asked to participate in some amazing things – all of which will be coming up soon!

I’ve learned a lot in May 21 and I’m really looking forward to June!