5 soft skills you need to boost your career

Getting the job you want used to mean simply having the relevant technical skills, knowledge and expertise. But these days, ‘soft’ skills are becoming increasingly important too. In fact, many employers rank ‘soft’ skills higher than ‘hard’ skills.

Hard skills are the skills you learn, the things you get qualifications for. Soft skills on the other hand are transferable, which means they can be used in many different types of jobs. According to the National Careers Service, they are 'personal qualities and attitudes that can help you to work well with others and make a positive contribution to organisations you work for.'

In fact a survey of 198 UK employers in 2014 found many prefer soft skills than technical knowledge in graduates (which implies soft skills may be even more important when you’re starting out in your career). Being good at communicating, being a team player, having confidence and an analytical outlook were all ranked more important than having technical skills, suggests the survey carried out by education provider Kaplan.

There are, of course, many different types of soft skills you could develop. But here are 5 of the most wanted by today’s employers:

Communication skills

This is arguably the most important soft skill in almost any type of job. If you have good communication skills it means you can effectively express your ideas both verbally and in writing. Being able to get across what you want to say without being misunderstood is essential in many jobs – particularly anything that involves working with the public or working in sales – as it also means you get on well with others in the workspace, including your clients and co-workers.

Good communication skills also include being a good listener, as this helps you to understand what your employer, co-workers and clients need.

Developing the ability to communicate effectively and assertively is one of the skills you can learn on our free CABA course, entitled Take control of your personal effectiveness.

Problem solving

Can you solve problems effectively and creatively? Are you good at overcoming challenges and resolving issues in the workplace? If so, you have good problem-solving skills. Employers are keen to take on people who can gather and analyse information, then apply logic and creativity to solve problems and make appropriate decisions. So if you have this kind of skill, you should be in demand.

If your creative problem solving skills aren’t as effective as you’d like them to be, try some of the suggestions in our article 5 ways to think more creatively.

Flexibility

Being able to adapt successfully to change in the workplace is another sought-after asset. If you’re flexible, it means changing situations and environments don’t put you under stress, and that you feel comfortable trying things you haven’t done before, such as new working practices and technologies. The world of work is changing at a faster rate than ever, and employers are actively looking for people who can keep up and not just adapt to new ideas but to embrace them.

Managing personal change effectively is a free CABA course that can help you to become more adaptable and better able to cope with changes, both in and out of the workplace.

Teamworking

You’re a good team player if you can co-operate effectively with others and work well in teams. Having good teamworking skills also means being confident within a group – you need to be able to contribute your ideas and be positive and assertive, as well as taking your share of the responsibility and being open to constructive criticism (while at the same time being able to offer constructive criticism to others).

Time management

If you’re good at prioritising and meeting deadlines, it sounds like you have good time management skills. Time management means being good at organising. When you organise and manage your time well, you can be more productive and efficient, both of which most employers rate highly. It also means you’re good at juggling several different tasks and projects at the same time, and can set goals – and meet them.

 

Source: caba.org.uk