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Having a real thought about what soft skills are in demand in 2021, we need to constantly review the ordinary things we take for granted. When searching for a job, most of us tend to pay more attention to what we have to offer in terms of work experience, technical skills, and educational requirements. You go through a job application and feel fairly confident because you tick all the boxes required for the role, so you are almost certain you will get the job after applying. Guess what? So do several other candidates vying for that same role. Your skills and education are not unique to just you and while they are the most important factors for you to scale up the career ladder, what if I told you there are some other intangible and soft skills employers look out for?
Soft skills are a combination of communication skills, social interaction, people relations management, a character that is shaped by your mindset, and emotional intelligence. They are those skills that allow people to manage their environment, work well with others, perform well, and achieve their goals with complementing hard skills. More than ever before, employers are coming to recognise how crucial the possession of soft skills is to the success of an employee in a job role and in the organisation at large. With the right soft skills, an employee is better equipped to work efficiently in a team, manage relationships with both clients and co-workers and take initiative that facilitate the growth of an organisation.
While there exist several, highlighted below are the top five transferable soft skills that employers of labor are on the lookout for in candidates in 2021.
Your ability to manage your time effectively is a skill that would serve you and your organization in innumerable ways, especially if you work in an industry where you have to juggle several projects at once. To improve on this, make use of calendars to plan your daily to-do list making sure you prioritize the most important and time-dependent tasks. Also, setting a time frame for every task and eliminating distractions and procrastinations would also help you greatly. It is important to employers to rest assured that their staff can use their time well enough and supervisors do not have to keep an eye on them every minute to make sure they’re on schedule. Going early for every appointment during your interview process passes a message to the recruitment team that you are a good time manager.
According to the definition by Peter Salovey, emotional intelligence is the ability to monitor and manage one’s emotions, to tell the difference between varying kinds of emotions, and use this information to guide thinking and behavior. A survey by CareerBuilder shows that a staggering 71% of employers are more likely to promote an employee with high emotional intelligence over one with a high IQ. This stems from the fact that being able to manage yourself and others is a valuable quality needed in a leader. Understanding the emotions of people around you is an important soft skill especially if you are in a field where collaboration and teamwork are of utmost importance. Wondering how you can show something as intangible as emotional intelligence during an interview? Here is how:
- Share the credit for your achievements with your team members, this shows that you are really a team player instead of just saying you are.
- Actively listen to your interviewer(s).
- Be curious about the organization’s values and cultures, ask questions in that regard.
- Be open about ways you need improvement and explain ways you are actively working towards that.
- Show some emotion during the interview, this helps to form a connection between the interviewer and yourself.
Change is an expected part of the workplace in 2021, the ever-evolving world of technology and work methods lends more credence to this reality. This is even made more glaring by the unique challenges that the Coronavirus pandemic forced on organizations in the past year. Organizations have had to think outside the box and adapt to new methods. As an employee, the same is expected of you. Employers are continually on the lookout for employees who have the ability to quickly learn new methods and skills in response to changing circumstances. A person who demonstrates adaptability in the workplace has the ability to respond to diverse situations even when things do not go as originally planned. To grow in your adaptability skills, focus on improving, thinking outside the box, and be always open to improvement.
Being able to think critically helps you objectively examine issues when they arise and proffer solutions to them on the go. When you are a critical thinker, you will objectively link theories, scrutinize and test claims, discover discrepancies and mistakes in your own and others’ work, solve difficult issues, and indulge in deep reflection. Often employees are faced with unexpected setbacks and challenges and organizations rely on them to find creative solutions to these problems. Employers of labor value this soft skill especially in roles that have to do with a lot of strategic planning. A critical thinker is able to gather information and then draw factual and logical conclusions from the information gathered. To improve your critical thinking skills, observe new information carefully, do lots of research, ask lots of questions and make more factual decisions.
Employees that possess the ability to communicate well with co-workers, supervisors, and business clients are often important benefits to a company, and it is a trait that can also set people apart when applying for new employment. Employers who devote time and effort to establishing direct lines of communication would quickly gain the loyalty of their workers, resulting in increased efficiency, production, and overall morale. You would not go far in your career if you lack the ability to articulate your thoughts succinctly. In this modern age, having good communication skills requires being able to write and communicate clearly, both in person and with technological tools like video conferencing and email. In an interview, you can show off your communication skills by practicing constructive listening, answering questions, recalling the interviewer’s name, and writing a “Thank you” message after the interview. Below are 5 tips on how to improve your communication skills:
- Use simple and straightforward language when communicating.
- Develop your listening skills.
- Research shows that 65% of all communication is non-verbal. Watch out for visual signs that your listener understands, agrees, or disagrees with what you are saying.
Whether speaking to a crowd or one-on-one, maintaining eye contact builds credibility and demonstrates you care about your listeners.