Q&A 3.0 Soft skills and their role in the workplace

Dear Seasoned Workforce,

Thank you for your articles. I find them really helpful as I prepare to join the job market after my final exams. My question is about skills. Which skills are the best to have or acquire in order to be more marketable in the job market? Thanks.

Sally.

 

Dear Sally,

I am pleased by your positive feedback. Your kind words have renewed my enthusiasm! Let’s dive into the question. I appreciate that you have understood the role of additional skills to compliment your core education (technical skills). Employers want to see “more than college/ university” in you.

The Carnegie foundation recently released data indicating that 85% of financial success is gained as a result of your personality, ability to communicate, negotiate and lead as opposed to 15% which results from technical knowledge. This gives a picture of how high the stakes are on soft skills.

Many articles have attempted to decipher this question more elaborately. I would recommend that you take a look at these articles by Forbes and World Economic Forum. Below, I will discuss a few others which I have found extremely useful in my professional journey.

1.Listen more and notice things

We often undermine the role of keen attention to detail in the workplace but this is actually a skill that many managers seek. Working with precision and accuracy will definitely go a long way in ensuring that you deliver accurate and consistent work. Learn to strive for excellence even in the smallest of tasks without forgetting to be creative.

2.Do not be afraid to ask or seek clarification where you do not understand

There is nothing more tragic than doing the wrong thing excellently. Managers will appreciate an individual who takes time to understand the task at hand and one who’s not afraid to ask questions.

3.Always strive to create synergies (Win Win situations)

This is one of the 7 Habits of a highly effective people and my personal favourite. When faced with a challenge or dilemma in the workplace. Always strive to offer solutions that present win win solutions for both parties. You will appreciate the impact of this attitude! You will also create less enemies, which is vital.

4.Bring solutions to the table, not problems

If you encounter a problem or bring forth a complain, your boss is most likely going to view you as the source of the problem rather than a seeker of the solution. Make it a habit to propose solutions to any problems you bring forth. Each problem should be accompanied by a solution. It will help you be viewed as a problem solver rather than a complainer.

5. Practice makes perfect

Never stop learning, never stop growing. I particularly subscribe to the 10,000 hour rule discussed in Malcom Gladwell’s book- Outliers. It takes 10,000 hours to master a skill, so practise, practise and practise some more. I would highly recommend that you read that book by the way!

6.Invest in personal development

We sometimes tend to get comfortable in our new jobs and roles and eventually stop growing. This can really hurt your growth and progress. Ensure that you invest in personal development either through networking, additional skills (online courses), getting professional certification or even learning a new language!

If you have any additional tips and soft skills, feel free to leave a comment!

Regards,

SW.

 

 

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