Applied Psychology

Here’s How to Develop In-Demand Soft Skills

May 09, 2024 | By Saranne Durham
Portrait of a happy confident young businessman standing in the office

The need to develop soft skills is no longer a nice to have. It’s an essential part of staying on top of your job requirements and being an attractive job candidate. These are the skills you need to develop and keep your career on track.

Why do you need Soft Skills?

The reason you need to develop soft skills is that without them it’s difficult to connect with others. Within a work context, they impact how effective and efficient you are able to be. If you work as part of a team, soft skills assist in creating cohesion and better cooperation. And if you’re self-employed or a small business owner, they are particularly invaluable as soft skills help you find and get the attention of new clients and retain them.

What are Soft Skills?

At their essence, soft skills are interpersonal skills. Some people come by them more easily than others. However, they are traits that can be acquired and continually nurtured. Communication is an important soft skill. As is teamwork, creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving and decision-making. Time management is also a great soft skill to perfect.

Which Soft Skills do You want?

While there are many different types of soft skills, it’s worth figuring out which ones you need most. These 5 soft skills are an excellent starting point and will give you a strong foundation to work from.

1. Communication

Most, if not all jobs, require some level of communication. Even those where you work by yourself. Communication can take place in person, via email, an online platform or even through snail mail and courier messengers. Communication encompasses both actively listening and being able to properly articulate yourself. It involves tact, reading body language and knowing when to contribute or not. Good communication also results in better collaboration and more efficiency. Communication-focused micro-credential courses are strategic ways to improve this soft skill.

2. Innovation and Creative Problem-Solving

Reinvention while consistently remaining relevant is a requirement for companies that want to stay in business. Adaptation is an in-house process, not an outsourced project. Thus, being able to come up with new ideas and not run away from problems are valuable soft skills to perfect.

3. A Growth Mindset

Being willing to learn and actively seek our opportunities fosters a growth mindset. A growth mindset enables you to stay relevant in the marketplace. It helps you to see opportunities within a changing landscape and reach for them. Having a growth mindset also results in being more adaptable. This allows you to transition into new ways of thinking, using new technology and methods to fulfil your job’s requirements.

4. Leadership

Learning leadership skills and then practising them is something that signals to employees that you are capable of growth. This is an essential soft skill to develop if you wish to advance your career beyond entry-level positions. Demonstrating that you are an active leader also signals to an employee that you are not just there to punch-in-punch-out. Leadership skills also have a dual purpose. They show you’re a team player and have the ability to take a team to new heights.

5. Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is one soft skill that impacts many others. Being able to read a room allows you to communicate better. Noticing others’ reactions helps you respond more appropriately and collaborate better. Part of emotional intelligence is understanding your own reactions. Once you have a firm grasp of how you react, you can exercise self-control and patience. Those with good emotional intelligence are better leaders because they perceive, evaluate and respond appropriately.

How to Develop Soft Skills

When you develop soft skills, you are investing in your personal life as well as your career. This is because they have the advantage of being transferable and are not industry specific. An effective way to develop your soft skills is through short courses. Specifically, choose ones which align with the areas you want to improve upon.  

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