Develop Your Soft Skills and Become More Employable
As well as technical skills and qualifications, employers are seeking candidates with a strong set of soft skills. Soft skills are your unique selling point – they will make you more aware, more employable and a pleasure to be around. Like any skill, soft skills can be learned and will benefit you in all areas of your life, both professionally and personally. Increasing your soft skills is not a quick fix but there are a number of areas that you can look to improve over time.
An employee who is adaptable to their work environment is very desirable. In an age where restructuring is commonplace, you need to demonstrate that you are capable to adapting to the changing needs of the company. A passion for ongoing improvement and learning will show your willingness to adapt. Being adaptable will also increase your ability to communicate with others and build strong relationships. It may feel daunting to be taken out of the security of your routine and known environment but you will benefit from breaking the monotonous cycle.
As well as showing initiative and antonymous capability, an employer wants to have a team of people who can collaborate effectively, both as a leader or follower. This ties back in with adaptability – a person who can effectively do both is highly desirable. Strong communication and listening skills will aid your ability to work well as a team. As much as it is in your intrinsic nature to be a leader or a follower, during your next team project, place yourself in the unfamiliar role.
A strong communicator does not necessarily mean that you are an excellent writer or can command the attention in a room full of people. A good communicator can convey their message effectively and vary their communication to suit the circumstances. Listening and building relationships is key to effective communication.
Problem solving skills are difficult to develop as there may not always be a linear answer to the problem. Even if your cognitive process is not naturally analytical, you need to train your brain to identify problems and think of ways to overcome them. Half the process is understanding that not everything is black and white and a lot of problem solving is based on trial and error.
Emotional intelligence is our ability to handle a situation by being aware of our own emotions and the emotions of others. A person with a high emotional intelligence can regulate their own emotions to overcome problems, work well as a team and encourage positivity and serenity in others. To improve your emotional intelligence, you need to work on your self-awareness. Become aware of your actions and reactions to situations learn to pick up on social cues. Learn how to inhibit impulsive reactions and avoid provoking others’ weaknesses.
A positive attitude will be infectious to those around you. Positivity drives creativity and motivation and when you are feeling your happiest, the ideas will flow. Encourage the people around you to express their ideas and do not criticize them for their efforts. A positive workplace is far more enjoyable to work in.
This list is not exhaustive and it will not happen overnight. Take one still at a time and work on it. Soft skills are not learned from studying a book, they have to be put into practice. Improving your soft skills is about changing yourself, your perception and your approach to situations.