You stacked your resume with your abilities to maneuver different hardware and software, but none of that matters if you can’t work well with those around you. Soft skills, also known as “people skills,” consist of personal attributes that enable you to interact effectively with everyone around you. “Someone can be smart and have great technical skills/academic knowledge, but a candidate who also brings soft skills to the table is going to be deemed a stronger candidate and a better fit for the organization,” said Corinne M. Shell, the Assistant Dean of the Fox School of Business at Temple University.
Soft skills, unlike hard skills, can’t get tested or measured. You can’t learn soft skills in school, but instead you learn them throughout life by way of your own experiences.
These skills could have developed while working in a group project, interning, volunteering, holding leadership positions in organizations, playing a sport or even just working your part time job. Unfortunately, these soft skills only show when you put them into action. “Soft skills are extremely important in the hiring process and for career success. Often times an applicants’ work-related skills will determine if they are selected to interview, but their soft skills will determine if they get a job offer,” said Rosalie Shemmer, the Senior Director for Temple University’s Career Center. These crucial yet undervalued skills require a lot of practice to attain. No matter how you acquire these skills, they will stay with you for a lifetime.
These ten soft skills guarantee #boss status in your future career.
Both verbal and nonverbal communication acts as crucial components when it comes to interacting with others. Without good communication, bumps in the road will continuously appear. These helpful skills will allow you and your coworkers to have clear expectations, resulting in more productivity for the company. Now, maybe you have always been a good communicator and have never needed to practice this vital soft skill. But, if not, one minor thing you can do to attain this everyday soft skill includes sharpening your public speaking. Enrolling in a public speaking course or participating more in class gives you a good place to start, no matter how much you may dread it. Grow more comfortable and confident in your speaking skills, and this will reflect in the workplace.
Ever since childhood we were told to play nice, but that life lesson may not have stuck with you. No matter the career, you will act as part of a team. “These skills are important to any type of work environment, because this is what differentiates one candidate from the next. As with any employee, new college hires need to know how to work well with the rest of the team and how to navigate the organization,” said Snell. Join organizations on your campus to enhance your collaboration skills in a fun yet productive way. By joining an organization, you not only boost your resume from the experience, but you also build your soft skills with every meeting you attend. Teamwork makes the dream work.
3. Critical Thinking
Teachers tell us to think critically from the second we enter high school. Practice this by finding new and unheard-of perspectives to study. Find the pattern that no one else can see. Think deeper and push yourself to not settle for the easy answer. Analyze the information in front of you and use that information in the way that you think would add value to your career. “Possessing a set of well-developed soft skills and hard skills are necessary to get the job done successfully. Soft skills and hard skills come hand-in-hand in most jobs and highlighting soft skills on a resume will certainly help an applicant stand out,” said Cathy Barrios, Assistant Director of Experiential Learning for the Career Center at Florida State University. “Some examples of soft skills or competencies that are highly valued by employers often include teamwork, critical thinking and oral and written communication,” said Barrios.
4. Problem Solving
Conflict will arise (because we’re all human). If you can properly resolve potential problems with others, you’ll show your high level of maturity. To develop the problem-solving skill, first take the chance to understand your coworkers. You should get to know everyone you work with; learn their levels of sensitivity and address any problem in an upfront yet approachable way. Everyone handles conflict differently, therefore, you must find the perfect balance. A guideline for conflict, called the inoculation theory, can help you when addressing arguments that you may have with other employees.
Step 1: State the issue
Step 2: Provide evidence for this issue
Step 3: State your rebuttal
Step 4: Provide strong evidence for the rebuttal
By following these four steps, you acknowledge the problem, accept their feelings, validate their feelings and then follow with your side of the argument, providing strong support.
When people think of creativity as a soft skill, they often think of careers in the more artistic fields. This skill applies to every field, or at least it should. Creativity, a soft skill that many don’t refer to in the business world, can provide a lot of help when climbing the professional ladder. Unleash your creativity. Unfortunately, as children our creativity often gets suppressed. Despite this, creativity remains a necessary soft skill in any leadership position. Thinking outside of the box can make you stand out among other employees and can earn you that raise much quicker.
6. Time Management
Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines. Students grow more familiar with deadlines when entering college. Time management holds importance for both your personal and professional life. Even in your personal life, managing your time keeps you organized and teaches you how to make the most of your time. No one wants to bring work home from the office, but if you have good sense of time management, you won’t have to mix business with pleasure. To practice time management, buy a planner and write anything and everything down. Through proper time management, you can maximize your time, thus exposing yourself to more opportunities that will allow you to earn the #boss status you always aspired to achieve.
7. Customer Service
You may have thought that your customer service days were over when you stopped working retail at 17. Think again. Customer service builds trust and awareness, which can appeal to potential customers of your company. Whether it be in sales, journalism or tourism, satisfying customer needs remains extremely important for bringing in business to the your company. To strengthen your customer skills, you should become empathetic, adaptable and patient. A great way to start is to work in retail to really test your customer service skills.
If you think of yourself as someone who lacks motivation, find out the reason and fix that problem immediately. Most of the time, lack of motivation results from a low morale—motivation will shrink in negative environments. To help develop your motivational skill set, you should start by boosting low morale in your company’s environment with positive communication. Another way to grow self-motivated: you can make a small set of goals for yourself. Once you start accomplishing those, you will feel motivated to do more. Overall, motivation enhances the performance of the company, making it a critical soft skill to have. More motivation equates to more commitment, satisfaction and efficiency for both employers and customers.
Everyone needs a leader with a clear vision. You don’t need to act as the Alpha of the pack to showcase your leadership skills. To develop this, attempt to help your coworkers in any possible way. If your coworkers get bombarded with work or don’t know which direction to take, you can strengthen your leadership skills by simply helping them out. Step up and take action when everyone seems low in the dumps to transform yourself into the leader you want to see. “The person who is most successful on a long-term basis is the person who is not only smart, but also has good interpersonal skills, a positive attitude, and strong work ethic. Your technical skills/academic knowledge may get your foot in the door, but strong ‘soft’ skills are what is going to make you a top contributor (and hopefully a leader) within your organization,” said Snell.
10. Thick Skin
Being new into the business world means preparing yourself for any kind of criticism. Giving and receiving feedback is crucial for any job you may want to land. When receiving feedback, you should ask for clear guidelines to build trust with your employer and remain professional. Don’t take things personally and remember that everyone experiences rejection. Just think: without criticism, you can’t improve. Take it all with a grain of salt and learn from your unavoidable mistakes.