Gently does it! What are the most important soft skills for a public sector career?
The public and not-for-profit sector covers a large variety of industries, services, and resources. To meet this vast sector’s needs, understandably, there are a wide range of different public and non-profit sector jobs. Despite this broad sector’s equally broad career path, skills such as leadership, teamwork, communication, and creative problem solving are crucial for success. These skills are known as “soft skills” and are harder to demonstrate to hiring managers compared to more quantifiable “hard or technical skills” that are often covered by formal qualifications.
No matter the technical requirements for your dream public or not-for-profit sector role, having the right soft skills will make you more attractive to employers as they lend themselves to good teamwork, collaboration, productivity, and flexibility, and should be part of your preparation for a public sector or non-profit role.
How to develop your soft skills in the public sector
Since soft skills are so sought after in the public and not-for-profit sector, how can you develop and improve the skills you need? Here are four tips for choosing which soft skills to focus on and how to go about developing them:
- Learn from your managers, colleagues, or mentors
Is there someone you work with who demonstrates the skill you want to learn? Talk to people whose skills you admire and respect. Spending time with and learning from experts will help you develop your own skill set.
- Look for resources to help you
Local classes, online courses, videos, books, journals, and talks are all great resources to help you brush up on your soft skills, particularly leadership!
- Get feedback
An outside perspective can give you extra insight into your strengths and the areas you need to work on. Ask for honest feedback from colleagues, friends, or managers who you trust and who know you well.
- Focus on skills that are relevant to your current role or the role you want to pursue
Consider your strengths and weaknesses and identify which h skills will be most useful for the career you want.
Top 5 in-demand public and not-for-profit sector soft skills and how you can improve them
Related to the point outlined above, you also need to consider which soft skills are currently in demand in the public and not-for-profit sector so you can stand out as an attractive candidate. Here are our top five soft skills that are currently in demand by public and not-for-profit sector employers:
The ability to critically explore the causes of issues and provide creative solutions whilst under pressure is a critical skill in the public and not-for-profit sector. Keeping a cool head, remaining composed and being able to reach the best outcome for all parties are all part of being a dynamic problem solver.
Learning how to work effectively as part of a team is an extremely useful soft skill for public and not-for-profit sector careers. In the public and not-for-profit sector, you not only have to work closely with your colleagues but often staff from other organisations, third parties, and stakeholders which could also include members of the public. Being able to engage with, and motivate people is crucial.
If you are looking to build a successful career in the public and not-for-profit sector and are seeking promotion, then developing your leadership abilities, in particular the ability to lead without being controlling, is a key skill to focus on. Find a leader in your organisation you think preforms well and seek to emulate them.
Developing excellent organisational and time management skills will enable you to handle multiple projects and deadlines and prioritise what’s most important. Being highly organised will also help you liaise effectively with multiple stakeholders. There are numerous resources, apps, and methods to help you become more organised. If this is a skill you struggle with, invest some time in finding the right technique for you.
Strong written and verbal communication skills, the ability to convey your ideas clearly and concisely to multiple audiences and command the attention of your audience whilst speaking or writing are essential skills. Brush up on your copy and report writing using online resources, such as LinkedIn Learning, and develop confidence in your public speaking by leading meetings.
Morgan Law can help you find public sector roles that suit your skills
If you’ve brushed up on your soft skills, polished your CV and are ready to find public and not-for-profit sector roles where you can shine, Morgan Law can help. Our experienced consultants specialise in connecting talented candidates like you with some of the most outstanding public sector and not-for-profit organisations around.
To discuss your next steps contact us today.