Soft skills are usually defined as personality traits, habits, or attributes that employees use to interact with colleagues, bosses, and clients. There is no shortage of soft skills in this world, and some ultimately allow you to better succeed in your career than others.
This article lists six soft skills that are vital to career success. We explain exactly what they are and why you need them in this post.
Leadership is your ability to organize, influence, and guide other members in your organization, group, or team. You could be a leader in your company or for a specific project. Being the most junior person in the room doesn’t mean you can’t lead. Entry-level employees may have to lead their own projects and only turn to their supervisors when they need additional resources.
Leadership is vital for non-essential work tasks too. This includes planning social events, office holidays, or wellness seminars. Although these projects don’t contribute to the bottom line, they can show off your leadership skills in a low risk situation.
Collaboration involves two or more people working together to complete tasks or reach goals.
Some may get confused between leadership and collaboration. You might think leaders don’t need to collaborate, but it’s quite the opposite. There are situations where everyone has to lead their own part of an assignment.
For example, if you’re creating a newspaper article, a writer is leading the content, a photographer is leading the images, an editor is checking for mistakes, etcetera. Each person leads their own area, and it requires collaboration between leaders to create the final product.
Risk-taking involves doing something that’s dangerous or risky to achieve your goal. The activity might make you uncomfortable, but failing to take such action could result in lost opportunities.
For example, you could consider asking for a raise to be risk-taking. You might fear your boss being upset at your request. However, if you don’t ask, you may never get more money.
Ultimately, risk-taking opens the opportunities available to you in your career. Without going out and grabbing opportunities, it may be hard to advance after a certain point.
Assertiveness is a combination of effective social and communication skills. It’s the ability to stay between “passive” and “aggressive,” effectively letting you stand up for yourself and others’ rights and needs. By being too passive, you may just let the issue slip by. But by being too aggressive, others might view you as hostile or unfriendly.
Assertiveness is essential because it provides the benefits of both being passive and aggressive. You can achieve what you want and stand up for your rights without being seen as hurtful or a jerk. Ultimately, assertiveness is a delicate balancing act.
Communication encompasses a lot. At its core, it’s being able to convey and receive information — whether it’s about yourself, your product, or others. Communication comes in presentations, online emails and discussions, small talk with colleagues, and much more.
Strong communication skills mean you’re clear, and that others can easily understand what you’re trying to say.
Sales, a vital skill in any career, is based on communication. In sales, you’re trying to communicate why a product or service would benefit another individual. Those that successfully communicate are the ones who excel in the field.
Even when you’re interviewing for a job, communication is at the forefront. You’re selling yourself and describing how you’d be an asset to the team.
6. A willingness to learn
The willingness to learn and the ability to do so quickly are extremely valuable in your career. It means you’re open-minded and can pick up new methods and practices fast. Employers love this. Even if you don’t know how to use Microsoft Excel or work with SQL databases, a willingness to learn means you’re open to picking it up.
Take, for example, the pandemic. People who were willing to learn quickly picked up software such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams without issue. Others dragged their feet and only learned to use the bare minimum. Who would you hire?
Soft skills are essential for a successful and productive career. These are only some of the skills you should have. There are many more, and you’ll likely pick them up as you move through your career. Just remember, you don’t build everything overnight.