Whether you have years of work experience or are just starting out your career, soft skills can help you land the job you want.
What are soft skills?
Soft skills are those skills which help you interact with people around you. Basically, they make you a good teammate and employee. You will be able to communicate and understand your colleagues and bosses. Hard skills are those skills and abilities you have acquired through training, education and experience on the job. Soft skills come more naturally and are developed throughout your life.
Why are these skills valuable?
These skills are valuable to potential employers because they will help you ask questions and interact with your colleagues. Your potential boss will know that when you talk to them, you are taking everything in. These skills will also help you grow within the company as you learn to lead people, solve problems and resolve conflicts.
So, what counts as soft skills?
Communication skills. Communication skills are particularly important in the workplace as they allow you to share knowledge, ask for help and understand what is required of you. Once you have spent some time in the working world, you will learn how important it is to be able to communicate effectively. If you can’t speak to people in a way that they understand and makes them feel respected, they won’t pay you any more attention. Whether you work in Pretoria, Cape Town or New York, communication skills will always be beneficial.
Empathy. Being able to put yourself in other people’s shoes is a soft skill that people should not take lightly. It is not only a good thing to have in your personal life, but also in your work life. This is especially important if you plan on eventually applying for a leadership position. If you lead a team or department, you need to understand the people you are leading. You will need to know how they feel and think in order to give them the feedback and encouragement they need in order to thrive.
Time management. It’s important to any employer that you are able to manage your time and efficiently complete each task you are given. Managers don’t want to have to keep an eye on you all the time to make sure you are managing to reply to emails while you are on your Pretoria work trip or at a conference in Cape Town. In the beginning, they will likely watch over you to see how you manage your time. But as you grow in your position, they will want to be able to trust you to have your work done on time.
Creative problem-solving. This is a soft skill that will be an asset to any business, anywhere in the world. Issues arise in every industry that exists and someone has to find a way to make sure these issues are resolved. It’s about finding the simplest and most efficient solution to a problem without having to go to your boss to get an answer first. For example, if you are asked to do a job which requires a driver’s licence, but you don’t have one, you would find a way to ensure the task gets done in the most efficient way possible without you having to be behind the wheel.
Work-ethic. This is incredibly important and is not something everyone naturally has. It may have been taught to you by your parents or maybe you have always worked as hard as possible. But either way, having a strong work ethic means that you know the value of hard work and aren’t afraid of it. This soft skill is valuable to employers because it means they can always count on you. And being the person that your boss can count on will likely lead to promotions and raises.
Whether you are applying for a creative job in Pretoria or a technical job in Durban, having soft skills will help you get the position you want.