6 Reasons to Acquire Soft Skills – Raise Your Employability

In a world of cutthroat competition where there are dozens of excellent candidates for every job opportunity that opens up, you need that something extra that will set you apart from all of them. In other words, you must acquire soft skills that can provide you with that added edge. The corporate world has different terms for these capabilities such as ‘emotional quotient,” “emotional intelligence,” “behavioral skills,” and “cultural fit.”

When hiring managers look at your resume and qualifications, they need to see interesting talents and capabilities that can assure them that you’ll prove to be a valuable addition to their company. Remember, basic educational qualifications are available on every candidate’s resume. So, when interviewers ask you – “Why would we want to hire you?” you need an answer that floors them.

Understanding Hard Skills and Soft Skills

Hard skills are the abilities that you learn in college through the courses you take. They are quantifiable by the degrees and certificates you have. For instance, the ability to speak multiple languages, typing speed, or a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in a particular field.

When you acquire soft skills, you’ll talk about them in your resume. But, typically, hiring managers assess them during the personal interviews. That’s the time when you can display soft skills in your demeanor and how you handle the questions thrown at you. The poise and confidence with which you relate incidents at your previous job where you helped eliminate problems, resolved communication issues, and so on can make the difference in your chances of landing the appointment letter

Acquiring Soft Skills is Easier than You Think

Having just completed your formal education, it is understandable that you may not be ready to spend a whole lot to acquire soft skills. All you need to do is invest in a refurbished laptop that is suited for the skills you’re looking to learn. Technical soft skills like the ability to use certain applications and software can form a significant addition to your list of talents. Look for certified courses available online and sign up for them. In addition to webinars and coursework, you can also download the programs and study them. When you’re ready, sit for the online exams and earn certificates that you can add to your collection of qualifications.

Alternatively, consider doing volunteer work for nonprofit organizations. You’ll not only acquire the soft skills you need but the experience can form a favorable part of your resume. Yet another alternative is to look for a mentor who can guide and train you. The author of Make Work Great, Ed Muzio advises that you search out a personality that you look up to and admire. “Then ask whether that person would be willing to share ideas with you about how you might achieve the same level of capability. Maybe it will grow into a long mentoring relationship, or maybe you’ll just pick the person’s brain for a few minutes.”

While the soft skills you acquire are no doubt essential for landing that dream job, you’ll find that they help you perform better at your job and excel in every assignment that comes your way. Here are some of the most helpful ones.

1. Communication Skills

You need to learn to communicate both verbally and in writing. Being able to express yourself will help you write the perfect resume and application letter for jobs. You’ll be able to write comprehensive and coherent reports to submit to your managers. Further, as you climb the corporate ladder, you’ll need to relay instructions and directions to your juniors so they can deliver as per your requirements. Giving successful presentations and writing clear memos depend on how well you can put your thoughts into words.

2. Finding Solutions to Problems

Thinking out of the box and finding solutions to seemingly impossible snags are an important section of the courses designed to help you acquire soft skills. Finding the right approach, selecting the suitable team members to delegate tasks according to their skills sets, and getting measurable results are all abilities that are highly respected in the workplace. If you’re looking to get ahead in your career, these skills may well be indispensable.

3. Working Well with a Team

Employers respect workers that can play well with their teammates. As MBA Career Center Director at Northeastern University, Lynne Sarikas says, “That means sometimes being a leader, sometimes being a good follower, monitoring the progress, meeting deadlines and working with others across the organization to achieve a common goal.” Acquire soft skills so you can learn to coordinate your efforts with those of your colleagues to achieve success in any venture beneficial to the company. Your team will earn accolades even as your efforts are recognized and appreciated.

4. Compile and Analyze Data

When faced with a problem or assigned a project, you’ll need to conduct the necessary research into it. Once you have the data, you need to know how to interpret it and understand what the numbers say. Planning the next course of action depending on what the data predicts are all part of the soft skills you must learn.

5. Resolving Conflicts

When you’re working with a group of team members, conflicts and differences of opinion are bound to occur. Here’s where your skills of persuasion, understanding points of view, and arriving at a common ground will help you. You’ll also need negotiation talents to work out lower costs for inputs, higher prices for sales, and perhaps, even bargain for the raises and promotions you deserve. Remember, a smart negotiator is one who resolves a situation in such a way that all the stakeholders win.

6. Adapting to Evolving Situations

Companies are constantly evolving and growing entities and employers appreciate workers who are willing to adapt and grow with the changing requirements of the organization. If you can project your willingness to grow with the company and learn new skills and talents, you will always come out a winner. Self-confidence, ability to manage time productively, strong work ethics, and a great positive attitude will serve you well for career and personality development.

Should you choose to acquire soft skills, you’ll find that they help you develop a well-rounded personality that is so essential for modern day professional success. Invest time and money in training for these programs and they will help you excel in whatever sphere you work.

Saroj Agarwal

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