How to Develop Your Soft Skills to Advance Your Career
We’ve all heard what an asset it is in the job market to know data analysis, be able to code in C++, and speak fluent Spanish. But what about being able to listen well, to manage your time like a boss, and to lead a team meeting that leaves everybody smiling afterward? While more difficult to measure and quantify, these types of skills – soft skills – are the glue that hold together any workplace.
Being able to identify your soft skills and give examples of them is a critical part of any job interview. Many people choose to list soft skills on their resume to make it stand out. If you’re having trouble identifying your soft skills – or know what soft skills you have, but want to develop them more – you’ve come to the right place. This guide will help you single out and develop your soft skills – which will ultimately lead to more successes in interviews and on the job.
What are Soft Skills?
Soft skills are character traits, personal attributes, and other non-technical abilities that help you work and communicate with other people. To develop your soft skills, some you might have to study and learn, and others might come to you naturally. Listening, communication and delegation are all examples of soft skills.
The opposite of soft skills are hard skills, which are technical abilities like knowing how to code in python, make a graph on excel, or speak a foreign language. While hard skills can be more easily defined and measured, soft skills are more difficult to measure. But that doesn’t mean they’re any less important – in fact, if you’re not a good communicator, you’ll have a difficult time even getting past the first interview!
How to Identify Your Soft Skills
At many points during your education or career, you’ve probably worked on a team. But are you good at teamwork? Are you so good at teamwork that you would include it on the skills section of your resume? Not sure? Let’s talk about identifying your soft skills.
Identifying your soft skills isn’t necessarily something you can do alone, either. Ask friends, colleagues, and even former employers which soft skills come to mind when they think of you. You can also ask them to bring up specific examples of when you used that soft skill well. You might even discover things about yourself that you didn’t know before. For example, if you think you’re disorganized, but everyone you talk to points to your organizational skills as somewhere you excel, you might want to consider changing that perception of yourself – and including it on your resume!
Here is a list of soft skills. Do you identify with any of them? Can you point to examples in your career where you used them to accomplish something?
Ability to perform under pressure