What are Soft Skills and Why are They Important?

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Did you know: employers are focusing less on job-specific knowledge, technical knowledge or extensive experience. Instead, they want good communicators, problem solvers, and team players. These are considered soft skills, or personal attributes you need to thrive in the workplace.

Why are soft skills important?

The National Association of Colleges and Employers Job Outlook 2019 survey found that soft skills were high on employers’ wish list for employees. In fact, here are the top 5 skills they are looking for:

1. Communication skills (written) 82.0%
2. Problem-solving skills 80.9%
3. Ability to work in a team 78.7%
4. Initiative 74.2%
5. Analytical/quantitative skills 71.9%

How do you enhance your soft skills?

Communication skills

No matter what platform you use — talking on the phone, writing an email, or speaking in person — you need to get your message across as clearly as possible. To enhance this skill you can do things like making eye contact, active listening, and being conscious of your body language. If you want to enhance your written communication skills, learn how to write with proper flow and etiquette.

Problem-solving skills

When a problem arises, you can either complain about it or figure out a solution for it. (Hint: finding a solution to the problem is the better answer). So, when a problem pops up, think about a solution to the problem before bringing it to your bosses attention.

Teamwork

One of the things you’ll always hear employers looking for is a team player. Ways to enhance this skill include keeping an open mind, splitting work evenly, learning from feedback, and active listening.

Initiative

There is a great demand for energetic professionals who are ready to work and are proactive in everything they do. To be more proactive and take initiative at work, here are some things you can do: do more than is required of you, share your ideas, and ask a lot of questions.

Analytical skills

Companies need critical thinkers—people who bring a fresh perspective and offer intuitive solutions and ideas.To be a critical and analytical thinker you need to be able to observe data and put it to good use.


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