Are you looking to stand out from the crowd in 2020? Whether that means a promotion, a pay rise or a new role, the soft skills you can offer to an employer will be essential in their decision-making.
These are your personal attributes needed to be successful in the workplace. Almost all jobs require employees to engage and interact in a positive and productive manner, making the most of your time at work while optimising workplace relationships.
In contrast, hard skills are usually gained through training programs, education, on-the-job training and certifications, and they are made up of job-specific skills and knowledge that are required to fulfil a job role. Hard skills are quantifiable and can be defined and evaluated, for example, knowledge of tasting techniques as a sommelier. But a sommelier also needs strong interpersonal skills. These are your transferable people skills, communication skills, empathy, and listening skills, to name a few.
Traditionally, soft skills have included:
However, at the beginning of the year, LinkedIn identified the top five soft skills requested in Australia’s 2020 job market.
Leap out of that box. Start looking at things in a new and different way. It may be that you are making use of lateral thinking or finding patterns that are not obvious to others, but creativity will help you devise alternative ways to complete work tasks, meet challenges and solve a range of problems.
Creativity is incredibly valuable as it improves productivity in organisations by bringing a fresh perspective. All roles can benefit from this approach and you will stand out if you are able to suggest new ideas and solutions in different areas of the workplace. It is often argued that you cannot ‘learn’ creativity, yet you can study to get a grasp of different ways of thinking. Open your mind and release your inner mental gymnast, expand your interests and take a step out of your comfort zone. Flexing your cognitive muscles in the workplace can be achieved through courses such as BSBINN201‘Contribute to workplace innovation’, helping you to discover how creativity can be honed in a business setting.
Working together successfully is crucial in the workplace. Even if you feel that your role means a high level of independence and mainly solitary tasks, you can place your responsibilities in a wider context and communicate goals and accomplishments across the organisation. Workforces are often globally dispersed and collaborating well with others brings valuable contributions, promoting healthy and peaceful relationships in the workplace.
A well-oiled and high-functioning team can achieve more than any one person alone. Everyone has different strengths and recognising how these fit together will speed up progress towards a common objective. Many job advertisements ask for ‘team players’ and playing well with others will bring out the best on both sides. Coordinating with others and being able to work with varying personalities will equip you to contribute to effective workplace relationships (BSBFLM303).
Standing out as a leader means effectively communicating your ideas and gaining the trust of your team. You will need your colleagues’ agreement in order to move forward in the workplace, and this can be achieved through varying persuasive techniques. However advanced an organisation becomes with its automated systems and technological advances, people will still be the most prized resource.
Persuasion means clearly and transparently clarifying the ‘why’ behind decisions. It is motivating others to act and believe in your reasoning, highlighting you as a trustworthy leader and one to follow in the future. This skill will be beneficial across a range of workplace scenarios, such as conflict management, problem-solving, and brainstorming. It reaches beyond assertiveness and sets you up in a position of authority.
It does not come as a surprise to read that workplaces and organisations are ever-changing in response to the speed at which the world is changing. 2020 indicates an even quicker pace for transformation with technological developments and business goals constantly being updated. You will need to show you can thrive in these situations, taking the challenges head-on and adapting just as fast.
Relish this reality and remain positive in your attitude. Employers will appreciate the ability to stay open-minded and professional in potentially stressful scenarios. Being flexible and willing to learn will indicate enthusiasm, motivation, and wanting the best for the business. Not being stuck in the traditional methods of thinking will give you the edge over competitors and mark you out as a leader and a trailblazer.
5. Time Management
Make the most of your working hours. You can optimise your 9 to 5 by mastering time management and dealing with your workload and tasks in an efficient manner. This skill is particularly high in demand, especially in this age of distraction and information overload. Reaching objectives on time keeps a business running smoothly, and if you can manage your time successfully, you will increase your productivity, efficiency and ability to hit deadlines.
Learning to master time management means understanding how to analyse your workload, prioritise tasks, and maintain focus on productive actions. BSBIND201 ‘Work effectively in a business environment’ walks you through methods to control your work time and elevate your routine.
Improving your soft skills
So, if you are looking to make a positive change in 2020, you can learn how to improve your soft skills and own your job role in an already over-crowded market. Boost your confidence and your opportunities by throwing open the doors and marking yourself out as a leader, motivator and forefront candidate with strong soft skills to offer employers.
Work your way to the top with courses such as BSB61015 ‘Advanced Diploma of Leadership and Management’, bridging the gap between hard and soft skills. Enhance your career path and set yourself aside as the next leader in your industry.