11 Essential Soft Skills for Work
Everyone needs the technical skills that they learn from school and university to do their job. But they aren’t the only skills necessary. Soft skills are attributes that a person has which work in alignment with technical skills. They are usually taught inherently through class projects, work experience, life experience and so on. These skills help people excel in their jobs. They also create a more appealing potential employee because those with soft skills tend to work with others better.
There are several ways to communicate these skills to a potential employer. Firstly, use examples of you using problem-solving or accepting feedback on your resume. In an interview, tell a story about how you acted as a team player or creatively thought your way out of a complication.
In the Information Technology field, people underestimate the value of soft skills, thinking it’s only technical skills that make a difference. But this isn’t the case. Here are several soft skills required from IT specialists. Here are the most vital:
Creativity isn’t just being artistic. Creativity allows us to think about things in different ways. It helps when it’s necessary to find a solution to a problem that seems impossible to fix. It is also helpful for the use of presentations and marketing yourself and your ideas.
There will be times in any job when things won’t go as planned. It’s in these situations a person needs to be able to adapt quickly and flexibly. If there is a deadline, that person should be willing to meet it even if it means working a little later than usual or going to the office earlier. Adaptability also counts in dealing with different personalities. No workplace is full of the same people and everyone should be treated equally. However, each personality is individual and should be interacted with in a way that suits them. Being adaptable to these personalities will keep good working relationships and avoid conflict.
Not every single employee has leadership qualities. Sometimes people prefer to stick in the background and just do what they have to do. But leadership is important for many reasons. Especially if fronting a team, a leader will naturally motivate other staff and keep people happy to come to work. A leader will often take conflict by the horns and deal with it appropriately. Every organisation needs a few leaders who are willing to take initiative. Initiative on projects and general work tasks is hugely desirable. Especially when dealing with external clients. Clients will want to see their project is in good, reliable and driven hands.
Not all problems are fixed in a day. In IT, we need patience and determination to get through hiccups in projects that can stem from financial problems, lack of teamwork, technical issues or client complications. A determined employee will keep their eye on the goal and make sure all aspects of the project are followed through. Otherwise, they will plan around interruptions to get a good result.
- Problem Solving
This should speak for itself. Problem-solving is necessary, so people can overcome difficulties and keep projects running along. If you can help solve others problems you can be helpful and productive in the workplace.
IT professionals need to actively listen to others. Both within their team or with clients. Sometimes the team will have fresh suggestions you didn’t think of because your mind was on other things. Don’t shut people down, just listen. It’s common sense to listen to clients as you need to know exactly what they want so you can give them what they are asking for.
Whether presentations are one on one or to a large group, they need to be presented well and confidently. This is how we get people excited internally. It is also important to be able to present successfully to clients to retain and win work.
- Being a team player
Often, IT professionals will work within teams or on projects with other people. In these situations, you need to be a team player and understand how others work and how you work with them. It’s important not to shut other people’s ideas down and to be open to suggestions that aren’t yours.
Negotiation is particularly important if you are interested in management positions. To be able to negotiate and meet halfway with clients or internal employees will show you are willing to compromise at the same time as you are willing to fight for what you want or believe. This is a great leadership quality.
Not all people are naturally inclined to mentor and teach others. But it is so vital that you make new employees feel welcome by showing them how to use your programs and applications. In IT you will find yourself teaching people new skills regularly, whether it is within the business or to people who have bought your product or service. It is highly appreciated to have a clear and simple understanding of how certain technology works.
Not just in IT, but in literally every profession, communication is vital! You need to communicate your ideas properly and clearly and then follow up and answer questions. It’s also smart to ask questions and encourage feedback. Transparent communication often works best so that no one feels left out of the loop and everyone has a clear idea of goals and plans.