Technical Job Specs: The Skills That Frequently Appear

Skills and experience are key to job hunting, especially in a technical field. Whilst every job will come with a list of specifics, there are some things that keep on showing up on job ads and technical job specs.
 
The most technical skills are, almost by definition, always going to be very specific to the task at hand. Subject experts will need a combination of training, knowledge and experience. These ‘hard skills’ are things that can be learned in a classroom or on the job.
 
On the flip side, many of the requirements you will find in job specs, are ‘soft skills’. Soft skills are generally accepted to be anything that is useful for a range of jobs. Rather than a very specific task or job role. They cannot always be taught in the same way but they can make a huge difference to your job prospects.
 
The difference between hard and soft skills is a tidy theory. In practice, some skills fall between the two. These are then called hybrid skills and include project management for example. It is possible to teach the format, but a top project manager will also posses soft skills that make them stand out.

Skills to Look Out For on Technical Job Specs

What should you be looking out for on a technical job specification? What can you expect to see on a lot, if not all, job adverts?

Problem Solving

Solving business problemsProblem solving is the number one skill that is always asked for. This is definitely a soft skill and demands a mixture of experience and creativity. Every job in existence is designed to solve a need, to resolve a problem.
As a candidate, if you are struggling to show your problem solving skills, I have a quick hack. List:
 
– your previous jobs
– the problems you had to solve
– how you solved them
– how you would do it better now
 
This should then provide you with examples from your working life. Which you can then use on your CV or in interviews. The more relevant and/or recent the problem the better. Can you weave these examples into your CV?

Developing the Right Soft Skills

Soft skills are often aligned to personality traits. Which are important to develop if you want to get technical roles. Attention to detail is key, as are independent working and time management capabilities. These are transferable skills that you’d expect most hiring managers to look for.
 
Remote working is a desirable skill for most technical positions now. As most modern candidates for technical roles are able to work remotely. If you can also deliver highly technical work this may help you to stand out.
 
Many technical roles will also demand that you work with other groups. This means that technical candidates may also need to show:
 
– the ability to work with customers
– sales and marketing skills
– written communication skills
– verbal communication skill.
 
It may be possible to present these skills during your interview. If you don’t get the interview due to poor written communication though, you won’t get a chance to shine. It would be a good idea to work through each of these skills and whether you can share stories of your experience. You can then use this as evidence for the recruitment process.

Leadership Skills

Budgeting and management skills are more likely to be important in supervisory roles. Budgeting is often underestimated by people who do not have management experience. There are others though
 
– task delegation
– task management
– performance reviews
– leadership
 
Some people may put all these under the headline leadership skills. Although a good job spec will break down these requirements and be more specific. If it does not break down this term, ask the hiring manager or your recruitment consultant.

Training

Training SkillsTraining or mentoring can be a very rewarding experience. It is also desirable experience for any hiring manager. Training is often considered a management skill, but it requires a different skillset. In technical fields it is very common to hire someone capable of teaching.
 
Take some time to consider examples of training in your career. Have you:
 
– helped your peers?
– mentored anybody?
– helped onboard new colleagues?

It is important to recognise these skills. As this will allow you to relay them to employers or recruiters who will then help you get the job you are looking for.

The In-Demand Skills on Technical Job Specs

People with an understanding of cyber security, for example, are highly sought after. Even if it is not a core element of the role, knowledge of the area is desirable. An awareness of cyber security can help candidates stand out in most technical roles.
 
The most surprising one for many people is social media knowledge. Which is becoming more important for technical jobs. Even projects that don’t often call on social media, can find themselves involved in a viral story. Whilst this is an extreme example, it is important to understand how it impacts on your function.
 
Whenever a candidate applies for a job, it could be easy to justify selection based on a list of hard skills. However you’ll only find the most suitable candidates if you look for both hard and soft skills. So if we approach this from the other side, the same is true. The more you can prove both sides, the better.
 
This is especially true for highly desirable roles. Or when the candidates applying are all technically gifted. In these cases, soft and hybrid skills are important too. For applicants, the key is to look at specs for similar jobs and see which skills appear to be most in demand.
Mark Burgess - Profile Picture
Mark Burgess – Head of Delivery
Mark works with clients and candidates across the business, if you’re looking for any technical roles then look at our vacancies for more info.