Five Essential Soft Skills for Your Career
In my last post, I have written something for the people who would rather rest, be lazy and watch movies or series. It was a recommendation of Five Psychological Thrillers to watch during COVID-19 quarantine or any other day. This time, I am writing this for those who have decided to do the opposite, and be productive. A way to be productive is to work on ourselves, develop new habits, and learn new things. Some things that are often overlooked and deemed as too irrelevant to even mention in CVs are skills related to who we are, those we have developed ourselves without undergoing technical training. These skills are called “Soft Skills”, and in this blog post I will talk about five soft skills that are essential for everyone’s career and should be highlighted in your CVs.
What Exactly Are Soft Skills?
Soft Skills are skills that are related to our persona. They can be personal traits, habits, and in general the way we act and behave. Soft Skills are opposed to Hard Skills, and the latter are skills like learning a new language and how to use a certain software. Unlike Hard Skills, we can develop soft skills on our own, and we do not necessarily need technical training. However, that does not mean we cannot get help or advice to develop the skills we lack! Let us then start with the Five Soft Skills that are essential in anyone’s career. Please keep in mind that these are not the only ones that exist; there are many more.
1- Interpersonal Skills:
Interpersonal Skills, as the name may indicate, are related to people. To be specific, they are the skills we need to communicate with other people, how to be an attentive listener, and how to behave with people, and your attitude towards them. They are essential to interact effectively in a workplace and in the larger world. These are pretty much personal and somehow innate as extroverted people will not find difficulties with developing these skills unlike introverted people.
2- Flexibility and Adaptability:
As we all know, not everyone in life follows the same pattern of events. Sometimes, something unusual can happen which may cause anxiety, confusion and stress. That is what the skills of flexibility and adaptability are required for. They are skills that we need to confront new challenges, new tasks, adapt to sudden situations and overcome certain difficulties without damage. Thus, the main thing to keep in mind in order to strengthen your flexibility and adaptability is that you always have to be ready to take new challenges and undertake new tasks that may be unusual to you.
You have most definitely heard of this one before. Its meaning is just as simple as its name indicates. Teamwork is the ability to collaborate effectively with a group of people (your colleagues) to achieve a common goal related to your workplace like meetings, projects, conferences etc. If you think about it, the reason we get asked to work with our classmates on school projects is to stimulate us in developing a teamwork skill.
4- Stress and Time Management:
Most of the time, recruiters put “the ability to work under pressure” and “sense of organisation” in their recruitment requirements. What they are looking for exactly are people who are able to manage stress and time perfectly. That means you need to have strong skills and abilities in facing stressful situations and also to respect deadlines and certain schedules.
5- Digital Skills:
Who says the 21st century says Technology, and who says technology says the digital world. As time passes, new skills may appear in order to adapt to the current society. If you look back to some decades ago, you will probably never find something called a digital skill. If you can use an electronic device (smartphone, laptop etc.), can use a browser and conduct a web search, can use Microsoft tools, can use social media outlets, and can write an email…etc. you are digitally literate and have digital skills. These might seem very trivial, but trust me they are very essential for many job positions.
How and Where Can We Develop Our Soft Skills?
As I have mentioned above, some skills may be almost innate and we are stimulated to develop them ever since we were toddlers while others can be learned and developed willingly. Developing a skill requires motivation and consistency. You have to implement stimulating factors that help you develop that skill in your daily life, make them habites and get used to them. If you have noticed, the skills I have mentioned seem to be related to each other and one skill helps you develop another. You can start by developing one important skill as a base to another skill. For example, teamwork cannot be developed if you have weak interpersonal skills.
You can develop your soft skills by:
– Attending seminars (can be webinars and live sessions as well) and events animated by professionals to give general advice and tips on a specific skill and how to develop it.
– Challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone. This is an important step, especially for interpersonal skills.
– There are multiple educational platforms that offer short courses on Soft Skills such as Coursera, Udemy, edX and many others, but some of these require paid subscriptions or paid certificates. There is also FutureLearn which offers free Digital Skills and Digital Skills for The Workplace courses as well as other free courses with digital certificates that you can add to your Linkedin profile and to your CV. If you are comfortable in learning in French, you can check the Soft Skills courses on OpenClassrooms. They also have other courses depending on your preferred theme and career.
– There are multiple Youtube channels like “Skillopedia – Skills of the real world” , and “Improvement Pill” that offer explanatory videos of various skills and even actual coaches to help everyone develop certain skills.
Once again, there are multiple soft skills other than the five I have mentioned. Do not limit yourself to these skills and to the platforms I have mentioned because having a sense of learning and searching is also a very important skill that should not be neglected. Many people think that certificates showing a proficiency in a certain skill is everything, and that’s completely untrue. The only way to show your proficiency is to be able to employ and demonstrate your skills. That’s why most jobs and opportunities require interviews.