6 Soft Skills for Career Success
Besides acquiring and perfecting your professional/technical skills, it’s important to develop some soft skills if you truly want to succeed in your career. Soft skills are essentially your ‘people skills’ that go a long way in creating a great first impression and getting people to notice your work. In the current hiring scenario, companies and employers are assigning as much importance to a candidate’s soft skills as they are to his/her technical skills. It’s easy for people acquire the technical skills required for the job, but your soft skills are uniquely yours– it’s what you bring to the table.
Unfortunately, unlike with technical skills, there is very little or no formal training that one can receive to hone one’s soft skills. The best way to refine your soft skills is to examine the way you work with others and focus on the aspects where you need to improve.
The ability to work in a team, communicating clearly, managing one’s time effectively, demonstrating leadership skills, building relationships, resolving conflict, thinking laterally, and more, count towards your soft skills.
Here’s an overview of the 6 soft skills for career success that every professional needs:
1. Speaking confidently: Good communication is all about getting your thoughts and ideas across in an easy-to-understand and effective manner. Speaking confidently is the next step. When you speak clearly and confidently to people at work, you command both respect and authority in the workspace, and your point of view is given its due importance.
2. Being empathetic: Empathy is all about putting yourself in the other person’s shoes and looking at things from that perspective. Empathy is a much sought-after soft skill not only for sales and customer-oriented jobs, but also all across the employment marketplace. Empathy enables you to understand your customer better and to shape your entrepreneurial endeavours accordingly.
3. Time management: Managing your time well is the key to working effectively and finding your way to success. We’re all given a fixed number of hours everyday, but how we use that time is entirely in our hands. Meeting deadlines and accomplishing tasks ahead of time is crucial. More importantly, maintaining a healthy work-life balance is essential.
4. Assertiveness: There is a fine line between being aggressive and being assertive. The latter is all about getting your point across (an idea, a suggestion, a proposal, a salary negotiation) and being able to defend it soundly, but the key is to remain polite. Of course, it is equally important to be a good listener and to be open to others’ points of view to modify your own if so required.
5. Leadership: It’s one thing to manage a team of people but quite another to provide the insight, vision and motivation that only a leader can. Delegating tasks effectively, taking crucial on-the-spot decisions, being open to suggestions from others, motivating others to work towards a goal, etc. are some fundamental leadership qualities.
6. Building relationships: This is more than just “networking”. Building relationships is about connecting with people at work and across industries in as authentic a manner as you can. Connect with people who’s work you admire or with people who are working on problems that matter to you. Not only is this a useful learning experience (that can also lead to lucrative collaborative efforts), but being connected with the right people in your industry can help you stay updated on relevant job opportunities that offer scope for growth.
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