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The Top 5 Soft Skills You Need to Succeed in Your Career

Posted: May 1, 2018

Succeed in Your Career
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When it comes to your career, it’s no surprise that you need several skills in order to achieve success. You can rock the technical—or hard—skills of your job, but there’s more to success than nuts-and-bolts know-how. Another important set of skills you need to succeed are soft skills.

Soft skills are essential in a professional environment; however, they often are hard to learn and harder to teach. While these skills may be difficult to learn and teach, we at Career Quest Learning Centers have found that many Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana students already have several soft skills.

Do you have the top five soft skills you need to succeed in your career? Keep reading to find out!

Soft Skills vs Hard Skills: What’s the Difference?

Both soft and hard skills are necessary to achieve success in your career. While they’re both essential to have, these types of skills are very different.

Tangible, Quantifiable Skills

Hard skills are those that can be taught and measured easily. They can be demonstrated and tested if needed. For example, if you’re working as a medical assistant, you can demonstrate the hard skill of drawing blood on a patient. Likewise, if you’re studying HVAC, you can demonstrate how to install a heating system.

Hard skills are tangible and quantifiable skills that can be measured.

You May Not See These Skills, But They’re There

Soft skills, on the other hand, aren’t taught as easily. Guidance can be provided on how to properly communicate or manage your time, but soft skills often are achieved in smaller steps. Self reflection by understanding your current skillset and how it can improve are essential for improving these skills.

For example, you can be given guidance on compassion and bedside manner in healthcare or small talk in business, but there’s no straightforward way to teach or measure these types of skills.

Let’s Look at the Top 5 Soft Skills You Need to Succeed!

1) Communication

Written and verbal communication skills are important in the workplace because they set the foundation for how your supervisors and coworkers see you. They help you build good relationships with your coworkers.

Having strong communication skills can also boost your performance. After all, the give and take of good communication makes sure you’re on the same page as everyone else.

Possessing strong communication skills also means being a good listener. Whether you’re working in the healthcare field and need to listen to patient concerns, the business field and need to be a voice for the department in meetings, or something else, listening to others is a must.

Other ways great communication can benefit you:

  • Presenting
  • Networking
  • Empathy
  • Social skills

One of the best ways to improve your communication skills is to practice public speaking every chance you get. Speak up in class, in the workplace, and even with family and friends.

2) Collaboration

Companies don’t achieve success from just one person’s efforts. They grow when they find employees who are all willing to work together to reach a shared goal.

Employers will look to people who can collaborate to be productive and efficient while also enjoying what they do. A friendly work environment is one that everyone enjoys and helps to attract other talented people to the company. It also strengthens quality of work.

Collaboration may be a combination of working with others to create a project or working with others to find a solution to a problem.

Ways you may experience collaboration in the workplace includes:

  • Team building
  • Accepting feedback
  • Dealing with office issues
  • Respect for diversity

If you want to hone your collaboration skills, start small by lending a hand to a coworker who needs some help.

3) Critical Observation

Information doesn’t mean a lot if you can’t analyze it. You need to look at your facts or data and see if there’s a pattern emerging. Ask yourself the obvious questions and then go further.

Being a critical observer can help your all-around performance at work.

Using your observations, you can make informed decisions on what options you have and which provides the best outcome.

Examples of critical observation include:

  • Logical thinking
  • Adaptability
  • Critical thinking

Companies love people who can see beyond just the numbers. They need people who bring fresh, new ideas to help get a leg up on the competition and to improve the company internally.

4) Problem-Solving

When there is a problem at hand, you can either dwell on it or take action. Initiative and action are what will get you noticed in a positive way.

Know how to adapt and think on your feet and it’ll make you stand out to an employee. Companies rely on their top employees to navigate unexpected problems and find creative solutions.

It’s a good idea to approach your bosses with solutions instead of problems. When an issue comes up, make sure to think about how you can address it before you bring it to your supervisor.

5) Leadership

Even if you don’t currently have a title that implies you’re a leader, that doesn’t mean you’re not! It is important to have confidence in what you do at work. Have a clear vision and use your great communications skills to positively influence your coworkers to get on board with your good ideas.

Your leadership skills will help you gain visibility within your company, which could lead to more opportunities, so don’t be afraid to take on extra projects at work and build a team to help you achieve results. Likewise, you can be the go-to coworker when issues arise—whether it’s work-related or not.

Employers are always looking for employees with leadership skills because they want to find people who can rise in the ranks of the company as time goes on. However, being a leader is more than just getting people to do what you want.

Try to inspire and help others reach their potential. Think about mentoring another worker. You’ll be a great help to them, and you’ll also learn to manage and motivate.

Put Your Soft Skills to Work with a Rewarding Career

At Career Quest Learning Centers, we know career training is valuable if you want to advance. We also understand the importance of soft skills—and that’s why we teach and talk about them in all our programs.

If you’d like to attend a school that cares about your success, contact us today to learn about our online programs in Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio!