soft skills that are a must-have for every professional

This is an industrial era where professionals need to bring something beyond their specialization to the table. While it is good to have well-defined core competencies, it is also crucial that you also have a diverse skills set. Soft skills are no more considered as a bonus to a candidate’s profile but rather a mandate, by most recruiters. Young workers who bear a combination of both hard as well as soft skills tend to have a competitive edge over the others. 

However, according to PWC’s 20th CEO survey, 77% of  the 1400 CEOs surveyed consider the lack of development in soft skills as the biggest threat to organizations. In addition to this, over 60% recruiters find it difficult to assess the candidates on the basis of such skills. But the good news is that organizations are now welcoming the idea of developing a strategy to nurture these skills in their employees. 

So then which soft skills are most in-demand by today’s businesses? Here are a few must-have soft skills that can give your candidature a competitive advantage over others. 

Communication

Be it written or verbal, communication skills are one of the most important aspect of soft skills that recruiters seek out for. Good communication, in fact, goes beyond than writing and speaking well. It is also about understanding others and reciprocating in the most feasible manner. And being able to communicate well within the organization as well as with the clients is a significant skill across profiles. This is one of the soft skills that is imperative to an employee’s career growth up the corporate ladder. According to a recent survey, ‘communication’ was ranked second (32%) after ‘listening’ among the 10 most important soft skills to have. So this is one skill that you must constantly aim at improving.  

Team Work 

Organizations like to have ‘star’ performers. But what they prefer even more is to have ‘star teams’. Individuals can do only so much for a company but it is the team effort that counts while envisioning long-term goals. High performers, albeit, have the common tendency to be good team players as well. They realize the importance of co-functioning with people with diverse skills sets and strengths. A survey of hundreds of teams by Google showed that the most efficient teams of the lot had good listening skills and sensitivity towards their team members in common. This skill is rather an aspect of one’s attitude and can be mastered over time with consistent mindful practice. 

Confidence

30% respondents of the survey rated ‘confidence’ as one of the most important soft skills for professionals. Your confidence is an indicator of how you rate your skills and knowledge against others. Your confidence in your abilities also helps others in forming a perception about you. It is important for you to have faith in your calibre before anyone else can see it. From applying to a company to impressing your interviewer to working with your manager, a confident personality is what will get you through. However, it is important that your confidence in your abilities and skills is highly objective. It is one thing to be self-assured and another to be conceited as that can go against you at the workplace. 

Positive approach

It goes without saying that the impact of your general mindset is bound to be carried to your workplace. Your attitude defines how you perceive things and ultimately how others perceive you. Interviewers often throw virtual challenging scenarios at prospective candidates and ask their opinion on how to tackle them. This is mostly done to check their way of approaching the problem rather than actually solving it. How your mind responds to adverse situations speaks a lot about your mental strength and attitude. According to a study done by Woohoo Inc., 39% of the respondents credited ‘negative coworkers’ as the biggest factor of a bad day at work. So you can see that your positive approach at work has a much larger impact that you could imagine. 

These soft skills are a combination of attitude and attribute, and can be honed with training or self-practice. Remember that their importance can often be overlooked since they might not be a direct or visible requisite of your job description. But improving on these is as important as developing the hard skills required to perform a specific job. So give them equal if not more importance and attention. 
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