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Soft Skills Needed To Succeed In School & Work (part 2)

Being successful comes in all shapes and sizes and looks different to everyone. But one thing’s for sure, to be an effective employee there’s more than understanding the basic technical requirements of the job. So, how do you open as many doors to opportunity as possible? By learning valuable life skills. Of course, you may be a whiz at programming code or creative thoughts flow every time you grab a pen, or you’ve aced the art of public speaking. While this technical know-how and hard-hitting skills are solid credentials for a degree and workplace, it’s only a part of what’s necessary to land your dream job and determine your staying power. In today’s modern, fast-paced environment, you need more than technical skills to be successful in your career. It’s no secret that interpersonal and soft skills are the way of the future and they’re what set you apart. Philip Hanlon, the president of Dartmouth University, says that soft skills are a high-value currency in today’s workplace and calls them “power skills.” Career Builder survey says companies want the “best of both worlds” in their new hires. These employees can perform their jobs well as well as interact with other employees and fit into the company culture. Understanding what those skills are early on can give you a leg up on the competition. So, whether you’re prepping for an interview or writing your resume, make a note of these top soft skills in demand for today’s job market.

Soft Skills Needed For Success

1. Adaptability Whether it’s a huge company pivot or a seat shuffle, nobody likes a complainer. However, today’s constantly evolving world is fluid. Sometimes a stream, sometimes a river, and sometimes a tidal wave, but no matter what you have to learn to ride the waves of change, keep your head above water, and change direction as needed. Adaptability is just that – being able to adjust to new conditions. More than your level of education, experience, or intelligence, your success depends on your ability to adapt. This holds true in business, medicine, and sports too! Once you step out of your comfort zone and are willing to adapt, there’s so much you stand to benefit from. Adaptability gives you the willingness to go against convention, pivot and let go of assumptions and preconceived ideas, makes you question the status quo, and opens your mind to new ideas. Now more than ever it’s instrumental for students and employees to adapt to new, handle multiple varied tasks and exhibit an inclination to take on responsibilities that are perhaps outside their area of expertise. Remember, the ability to adapt to change and a positive attitude about change, prepare you to survive and succeed no matter what comes your way. 2. Communication You offer your opinions for projects and at meetings; you ask for directions to the nearest Asian restaurant and you tell someone you love them; communication is indispensable to whatever you do and wherever you go. No matter the industry you work in, the university you’re applying to or the position you hold, communication is utilized every day and a key aspect of all jobs. Successful communication is a combination of written, nonverbal and verbal skills along with active listening. Speaking politely and clearly while empathetically listening to what clients, customers or colleagues have to say and draw up well-articulated business plans or project proposals, will lead to you performing your job more efficiently, productively, and achieving better results. Remember, the efficacy of your message and the impression you make largely depends on a concoction of body language, grammar, and speaking. If you think communication is one of your best attributes, find a way to demonstrate it on your resume and in your interview. If not, don’t worry. Just like starting a new hobby or riding a bike, it takes patience and time to learn how to communicate effectively. There are classes that help hone your skill in order for it to become muscle memory.
Pro tip: The best communicators do something that most others fail at. They listen. Make listening your secret communication weapon.
3. Upskilling In a world with rapid advancement of technology, you need to learn from today but prepare for tomorrow. And now more than ever, where the competitive landscape is surging, there are thousands of skilled individuals out there who can instantly take your place. What can you do about it? Keep up and adapt quickly with upskilling. Upskilling is constantly learning more things inside or outside of your industry. It’s the new normal for those hoping to stay relevant in an increasingly changing world. By upskilling, you are strengthening your qualifications and making yourself more marketable for promotions or new roles, and standing out from your colleagues and peers. Particularly for those leaving school or university, developing your skills in your chosen field is a great way to open yourself to opportunities. Clever upskilling allows you to future-proof your career and sometimes uncover new passions that you didn’t know interested you. Workers in any industry can reap the benefits of lifelong learning. Just by stepping out of your routine and challenging yourself to learn something new, you’re giving your brain the constant exercise it needs to keep it sharp and stay ahead! 4. Problem solving Even without you knowing, you’re solving problems every day. Say you need to buy groceries, do you walk to the store, do you ask them to deliver or do you pick online delivery? There are lots of possible solutions. There is no right way or one-size-fits-all solution to solving this problem, and different people will solve it differently. Problem-solving is a universal skill that applies to any position and every industry. Life will always have problems to overcome, from dealing with a tricky customer at work to ensuring the product is delivered on time. That’s why problem-solving is important. Such stumbling blocks, bumps in the road, and glitches are a part and parcel of life and represent learning opportunities. Employers want to know that you don’t see a problem as a roadblock but as a fork with workable solutions by thinking outside the box. Solving a problem is not rocket science – it’s all about using the right process and following a tailored plan. Plus, with a dash of creative thinking and preparation, there is no problem you cannot solve! 5. Time management, attention to detail and working under pressure Many jobs come with demanding deadlines, and sometimes, high stakes. Meeting deadlines and staying efficient are important to companies in every industry. Candidates who have the ability to set stress aside, compartmentalize, unfalteringly think clearly, show a decisive attitude, manage their time, and pay key attention to details are prized candidates. Individuals can build these skills right from high school. While studying, a student who divides their time between a part-time job, extra-curricular activities, and studying knows how to manage their workload. This should flow through into the workplace too.

Soft Skills For A Hard World

It’s safe to say that your certifications, degree, and education might help you get an interview, but your soft skills are what will help land you the job. It’s time to rethink your strategy. Are you doing everything you can right now to develop the skills that will sell you as the best choice for a job? If not, it’s time to get started. Keep working hard and opportunities will come knocking on your door.

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