Soft Skills are workplace competencies Employers want workers to possess. Demonstrating these skills not only help to obtain and maintain a job, but help to advance your career as well.
While skills required to do a particular job (hard skills) are necessary; often it is the soft skills that promote a healthy, happy, and productive work environment. The well rounded worker will possess both.
Soft Skills are critical in building strong Networks helping to establish a good reputation among peers and industry leaders. Networking is the practice of building mutual relationships that promote professional growth and opportunities. Maintain your network by staying connected and organized. The best approach to networking is to think of it as reciprocal, in other words, be willing to give as well as receive in these valuable professional relationships. Additionally, Soft Skills add value to the workplace by building relationships, providing excellent customer service, supporting diversity, promoting teamwork, enhancing performance and productivity to name a few.
Top Ten Soft Skills include:
1. Strong Work Ethic
Employers expect workers to show up every day, perform assigned duties, and make positive contributions to the overall mission of the organization. Poor work ethic can result in termination despite a high level of knowledge and job skills.
2. Critical Thinking
Critical thinkers are good at solving problems. Problems cause frustrations that disturb or disrupt the norm. This is especially true in the workplace, therefore, problem solving skills are critical to maintaining a healthy and productive work environment. Effective problem-solving involves the following steps: Understanding and awareness of the problem, searching for solutions to the problem, implementing solutions and evaluating outcomes.
3. Team Player
Workers are expected to make meaningful contribution to company projects through Teamwork. Cooperation, communication, and respect for the opinions of others is critical to teamwork.
Attitudes and behaviors that promote success in the workplace. Professionalism encompasses everything from appropriate attire to appropriate behaviors toward coworkers, customers, and supervisors. Making good lifestyle choices such as choosing to be drug free, tasteful use of social media, and keeping your personal business out of the workplace demonstrates professionalism.
5. Effective Communications
Effective communication is a key factor to achieving goals. Written, verbal and non-verbal (body language and dress) messages are types of communication that have a bearing on success on the job. Individuals can be deemed professional/unprofessional or appropriate/inappropriate simply by the way one communicates. Be sure to check spelling and grammar before sending emails and that content is professional and appropriate. More and more employers are using social media to determine if job candidates are a good fit for the company.
6. Time Management
Managing your time well increases productivity and efficiency. Organizing your work space and documents, as well as, prioritizing task helps to save time and prevent the urge to procrastinate. Identifying time robbers and using calendars are good ways to help manage your time.
Leaders have vision and motivate others to accomplish set goals. Employers appreciate workers who have positive influence on other workers.
People who don’t have to be told to do everything show initiative. These individuals don’t mind going beyond their job description, therefore, set a good example for co-workers. Workers with initiative are often seen as leaders.
9. Willingness to Learn
Staying current and open to training and educational opportunities enhance performance on the job and increase your opportunity for advancement. A person who is willing to invest in their personal/career growth shows initiative and a high level of self-esteem. Joining professional associations, attending conferences, and taking college courses are some ways to stay current.
10. Appreciation for Diversity
Differences among coworkers including culture, race, age, gender, economic status and religion.
In order to survive in a global economy businesses rely on a workforce that is culturally sensitive with the ability to work well with others from all types of backgrounds. Therefore, valuing others is an important aspect of meeting the demands of a multi-cultural society. Diversity in the workplace promotes creative ideas, initiatives, and solutions.