Soft skills are an individual’s personal behavior and traits. As per today’s requirement “15 soft skills you must master to excel in career”.
In contrast to technical or “hard” skills soft skills are not about the facts and knowledge you have but rather behaviors you show in different circumstances.
What are soft skills?
Soft skills refer to a collection of personal qualities, attitudes, habits and social styles that make someone a good employee and compatible to work with.
Nowadays every company values soft skill because researches have proved that they are as important an indicator of job performance as hard skills.
It is not only the functional expertise that each company is looking for. But depending on the nature of business a candidate must possess these unique core competencies, these are certain soft skills that every company is looking for in a potential hire.
Hard Skills Vs. Soft skills
Companies look for a combination of skills in the potential hire and the two main types of skills are Hard Skills and Soft skills.
Hard skills are a set of skills or expertise that shows that you are fit for a specific job. No one possesses those skills by birth, they need to be acquired. You can acquire these skills in the classroom, through books, through an online or physical course or while working on the job.
Example of hard skills is Coding, Accounting, Jewelry designing.
Soft skills, on the other hand, prove you would be a great fit everywhere. You can lean them and they are part of your personality. These are the abilities that are not specific or unique to any job but make you fit everywhere.
Example of soft skills is communication skills, leadership, management skills.
Why Soft Skills are important?
Your first impression of a job is your resume. It is the first thing that an employer will get to see and decide upon whether to shortlist you or not. Soft skills play a very vital role in resume writing, interviewing and getting success in the workplace and in life while dealing with people.
For example, when you see any job advertisement you may have noticed that companies list specific soft skills on their job posts as “required” or “desired”. A job posting for a Marketing manager could list “Good Communication Skills” and “Great Team handling” as a desired skill. While a job for a Teacher could list “Patience” and “Compassion”.
There are so many reasons why soft skills are important:
- You can get a good job.
- You always hold a better position among other employees if you have good soft skills.
- Soft skills on resume help you get shortlisted easily.
- These skills are an added advantage along with hard skills.
Soft skills are transferable across jobs and careers. Because of this, you may find that either you don’t possess the hard skills required for a particular position but you have most of the soft skills needed. Even if a job title is not the right fit for you, you may find the description suitable for you. As you progress in your career keep your resume updated with the soft skills most relevant to the jobs you are looking for.
Soft Skills Training
There are several training institutes that claims to train soft skills. Obviously, these skills can be developed if an individual himself wants to develop. Unlike hard skills, it can be practiced and be perfected. It has to be lived and applied in the overall personality.
Many companies are also conducting soft skill training for employees. Successful soft skills training for employees involves dedication from both employees and employers. Employees must be keen to develop themselves, and the employer must be ready to provide opportunities and a conducive environment for them to do so.
Soft skills development is an ongoing and lengthy process since some skills are easy to develop but few may take years to acquire and practice.
Soft skills list
Want to stand out in your career? Most job seekers usually focus on their education and hard skills but soft skills are equally important. You can not limit the soft skills to numbers. Based on my research and knowledge I have developed a list of “15 soft skills you must master to excel in career”.
1. Effective communication skills
Effective communication skills are important in almost every job. In every job or profile, you need to communicate with people whether they are clients, customers, colleagues, employers, and vendors. If you are good at communication you can speak clearly, politely with people in person, by phone and in writing. A good communicator can explain complex issues to colleagues and clients easily and in a very clear manner.
Every organization is looking for candidates with strong teamwork skills. There are many reasons that they demonstrate leadership, collaboration, conflict management, and better performance. Teamwork gives excellent results in every industry be it production, manufacturing, IT, Food services and many more.
Dependability is an important skill for an employee to possess because it improves a wide variety of job performance categories. If you could acquire this skill means you not only be on time every day at work but also delivers consistent results.
Adaptability refers to the ability of a person to change his ways, actions and approach of doing things in order to suit a new situation. It means that being able to adapt to the changes with smoothness and timeliness that too without any setbacks.
5. Conflict resolution
Conflict resolution is a very critical skill that every employer is looking for in every employee. This skill depends on strong interpersonal skills and the ability to maintain a healthy relationship with colleagues and clients. Individuals who are good at conflict resolution are often excellent mediators, rational, and able to manage difficult situations with empathy.
Normally people are quite reluctant to move out of the comfort zone formed by their repertoire of hard skills. Flexibility is an important soft skill as it indicates an ability and willingness to acquire new hard skills, new assignments, new tasks, and new challenges.
Leadership is a very important skill you can show even if you are not directly managing others. This skill demonstrates how well you are able to motivate, lead and guide others towards the accomplishment of a specific goal. It is the ability of a manager or leader to induce the team to work with confidence and zeal.
Problem-solving does not just require creative, analytical and critical skills, but a particular mind-set. Those who can deal with a problem with a cool and level head will often reach a better solution more efficiently than others who don’t.
9. Crisis Management
A crisis is a situation when any sudden disturbing events harming the organization, it leads to unrest among the employees of the organization. Every organization prefers the employees possessing this skill because in case of any emergency or crisis these employees stand as the pillar for the company. For example, there may be a financial crisis, crisis due to technological failure, etc. During such a crisis, if any employee believes in the employer and stood by its side is the one which company always rely on.
Creativity is one of the soft skills which makes a person to find out the innovative solutions to problems. Creative employees have a broader level of thinking and a different perspective to look at the situation and problems.
11. Work ethic
Strong work ethic pays an important role in your career success. Work ethic is a set of values which includes discipline, Dedication, commitment, effort, loyalty, and hard work. Good work ethic is a reflection on your style of work and your ability to perform well.
This is the first most skill that every organization looks for in the employees. Integrity is the practice of being honest and following moral and ethical principles and values. Always embrace this skill if you are really serious about your growth.
Punctuality means be on time always. It is a sign of professionalism and makes you a reliable and trustworthy employee. Being punctual always help you stand out as dependable and consistent.
14. Positive Attitude
If you are carrying a positive attitude at the workplace there is nothing like that. Everyone loves you interact with you, you will always demonstrate a good impression of yourself. A person with a positive attitude can take better decisions and always a choice for an employer.
15. Ability to work under pressure
Most of the jobs demand deadlines to be followed. Organizations lookout for employees who shows the skill to work under pressure and at the same time delivering great results.
How to improve your soft skills?
Nowadays many employers worth strong soft skills over technical skills because they are the personality traits which are developed over a lifetime and difficult to teach in a short time. Anyone can improve their soft skills with practice and experience. For e.g. you may find that an employer is seeking someone skilled in training. While you are skilled in good communication, it may help you if you show any interest in that role.
There are four main ways you can help improve your soft skills:
1. Find a soft skill you want to improve and practice it regularly
It is by practice that you can improve most of the soft skills. Most soft skills are just a matter of routine. For example, you can improve communication skills by delivering more presentations and training at your workplace.
2.Observe and imitate the positive soft skills you see in others
There can be many colleagues or superiors who have strengths in some skills. You can also incorporate them into your personality by observing and imitating them.
3. Set milestone goals to improve soft skills
You need to recognize the soft skills which if improved on your side can get you a promotion or better career move. Identify those skills and set milestone goals to improve that skill. For that, you can take help of your friend, colleague or your boss.
4. Find resources to help you learn
In the world of internet, there are several sources to learn tactics for improving the soft skills you want to focus on like books, e-books, podcasts, videos or online classes. Most of the resources you get for free while for others as well you need to pay some money.
Soft skills for resumes
A resume is the first step towards your job, so it should include a section that lists your acquired hard skills and soft skills. You must understand well what is being required on the part of the employer for that post. Consider mentioning those skills you possess than can be verified by your references.
Here’s an example of what your resume skills section could look like:
Technical skills: .Net • Angular JS • Windows OS • C#
Additional skills: Strong communication skills • Team Handling • Passionate and motivated
Soft skills for cover letters
A good cover letter should include at least one well attained and significant soft skill that provides perspective as to why you are a suitable fit for the job. This you can do by mentioning how your soft skill goes with the company’s values, goals, and vision.
In my previous role, I displayed both dedication and punctuality that were highly regarded by my colleagues and seniors. For example “I successfully conducted a very huge event when most of the employees were on vacation during the month of December while working in two shifts. My team members and managers praised my ability to work under pressure and leadership which I displayed along with dedication and punctuality.”
Although hard skills are important for completing specialized or technical tasks, strong soft skills will make you the kind of employees that every company wants to hire, keep and promote. It is very much significant to highlight soft skills you have at all stages of the job search process and continue developing those skills even you have found the job you are searching for.
In this article, I have presented a list of “15 soft skills you must master to excel in career”. Although there can be numerous skills that can be mastered through practice and this was based on my research and experience. If you master these skills I assure you that you will surely get a great leap in your career.
If you have any suggestions or feedback I would appreciate if you comment in the section below. I will be more than happy to help you with any queries you have.
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