Did you know that having strong soft skills is just as important to your career as hard skills? All jobs require certain technical skills based on the position, also called hard skills. These are skills typically learned through education or training programs, such as computer programming, accounting, and writing.
Soft skills, on the other hand, are more intangible and are transferable from job to job. Soft skills encompass more of our personality traits or qualities and cannot be learned in a training program rather, they are gained through our educational, work, and life experiences.
Your success will depend on having strong soft skills. The following are six important soft skills along with suggestions on how to improve them to help advance your career.
- Coachable: Just as you needed to be coachable on the football field, you need to be coachable in the workplace. Remain open to accepting constructive feedback and professional advice, which will help you learn and grow throughout your career. Remember it’s meant to be positive and don’t take it personally.
- Empathy: Having the ability to relate to someone else and how they’re feeling will help you build strong work relationships and also make you more patient and persuasive. If you’re having trouble understanding another point of view, put yourself in their shoes and imagine how you would feel.
- Effective Communication: Effective writing, speaking, and presentation skills are essential in the workplace for any position. Ask others for feedback and find ways to improve your communication skills, such as Toastmasters for help with presentations or get the free Grammarly app to improve your writing skills.
- Critical Thinking: Employers are looking for critical thinkers who can objectively evaluate a situation and come up with the best solution. It’s having the ability to analyze information to solve a problem or make a decision. Asking questions and challenging basic assumptions will help sharpen your critical thinking skills.
- Creativity: Being able to think outside the box and find creative solutions to problems is a sought after skill, especially as businesses are constantly changing. Keep an open mind to new ideas or suggestions. Try brainstorming sessions with coworkers to increase your creative thought.
- Problem Solving Attitude: It’s important to have a positive attitude, which will help with problem solving at work and also keep you motivated during tough times. When faced with a big project, try breaking it down into smaller steps that are easier to manage and believe in your ability to get it done. Improving upon these six soft skills will help advance your career no matter what your position or company.