communication

  • Why soft skills are important for the future of work

    A post-pandemic workscape has shone a spotlight on the importance of interpersonal skills. Here’s how to identify and qualify your soft skills set.

    The professional value you bring to a role is not just about technical skills (although for many of us, the financial commitment to attain these is hard to forget!). Technical capability definitely affects things such as productivity and performance, but have you invested as much thought into your ‘soft skills’?

    If The Year That Shall Not Be Named has taught us anything, is that attaining success – indeed now and for the future – comes down to fostering authentic connections. In a post-pandemic world where remote teams and completely digitised work processes are the norm, Innate human skills such as relationship building, fostering team camaraderie, an ability to problem solve, communicate well and adapt to change are more in demand than ever before.

    While hiring managers and leaders regard soft-skills as highly as technical ones, it still seems odd to to *say* you’re a great team player with an ability to work with all personality types, without actually being able to qualify it, right?

    So, if you’ve got the skills, how do you market them in a professional setting?

    STEP 1: IDENTIFY YOUR SOFT SKILLS SET

    The first step to qualifying your soft skills is to actually conduct a skills audit on yourself. What sort of soft skills does your job require that you have developed over time? Are you required to manage relationships with stakeholders or among your own team? In what ways do you contribute to team culture? Are you a clear communicator? Do you manage your time well? Do you manage work stress in healthy ways?

    STEP 2: QUALIFY THOSE SKILLS

    Once you have identified your skills you can qualify them. Here are two ways you can do this.

    • Courses

    Plenty of colleges and universities offer short courses in soft skills such as customer service, communication, project management, and leadership. Platforms such as LinkedIn Learning and Skillshare are more budget-friendly (some courses are free!) and also cover off a range of soft and technical skills, with badges or certifications that you can add directly to a digital portfolio or LinkedIn profile. And if you’re in the world of digital marketing, Google and Facebook have free short courses and learning hubs available for anyone to access. It’s also worth checking in with your employer to see if your study can be subsidised or whether they have special access to courses for employees to upskill.

    • LinkedIn endorsements + recommendations

    It’s well worth spring cleaning the Skills and Recommendations sections of your LinkedIn profile, where you can list up to 50 skills and highlight three key ones. You can also ask current and former colleagues and clients to write recommendations around your soft skills where appropriate.

    Feature image: Alvaro Reyes/Unsplash

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