As you advance along your career path, make no mistake about it. You do need strong technical skills and experience relevant to your field. In addition, there are certain soft skills – also known as transferable or power skills – which can be the deciding factor in whether or not you land the job of your dreams.
While an employer is unlikely to hire someone with no tech skills, if their final decision comes down to two candidates who are equally qualified from a technical standpoint, they will likely choose the individual who demonstrates stronger soft skills.
How to Develop Your Soft Skills
Here are some of the most in-demand soft skills, along with some ideas for how to sharpen them as you build your job search strategy:
- Communication: Whether verbal, written or listening, communication skills are essential for success in any job. When communicating, be clear. Don’t beat around the bush as you make your point. Listen actively: Before responding, make sure you’ve heard and digested what the other person is saying. When it’s your turn to talk, paraphrase back what the speaker has just conveyed, to show you’ve heard them loud and clear. Don’t be on your phone, doodle, or otherwise be distracted while communicating. Show professionalism and respect.
- Teamwork: A company’s success is rarely, if ever, the result of one person doing something all by themselves. Employers look for team players who contribute ideas effectively, behave with integrity, take a share of responsibility, accept and learn from others, respect boundaries and provide positive, constructive feedback. To enhance your leadership strengths, make it common practice to guide, rather than command. Treat others like you’d like to be treated. For instance, brainstorming for ideas is always a good idea, as it allows others to strive toward their full potential, produce good work and have fun at the same time.
- Problem solving: Companies rely on problem solvers to navigate unexpected challenges. Albert Einstein had these words of wisdom on solving problems effectively: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Be simple but creative in finding solutions to problems. This doesn’t mean trivializing the situation. Instead, try to define and understand the problem, articulate it and focus on the root cause. Think of solutions from a different perspective than the one upon which the problem was built.
- Leadership: Hiring managers are always looking for candidates with leadership potential because these superstars will one day take over the reins and preserve their company’s legacy. This is not just about getting people to do what you want. Leadership means inspiring and helping others reach their full potential. Figure out what leadership competencies are most essential to your current or potential employer, and maximize them.
A professional career counselor from PrideStaff Fresno can help you develop the soft skills you need as you pursue your next opportunity in administration, customer service, IT, finance, legal support, healthcare, or production and distribution. We have access to a broad range of positions where your unique skills and personality can be put to the best use. Read our related posts or contact us today to learn more.