20 Soft Skills To Develop To Get You Workforce-ready

Posted: 6th Oct

Soft skills are all the rage when it comes to getting a job these days. They are a combination of character traits, attitudes, social skills, people skills, communication skills, career attributes and social-emotional intelligence.

 

Employers are looking for candidates with good soft skills in addition to any skills and abilities related directly to doing the job at hand. Like most things in life you can learn these skills and the best day to start learning them is today. Having a good grasp of these soft skills will give you a better opportunity of getting a job and keeping it, so read through the list and identify those you have and don't have to make getting a job a bit easier.

  1. COMMUNICATION
    People with strong communication skills are able to build relationships, listen effectively, and vary the way they communicate to suit the circumstances. Good communications make for more effective workplace outcomes.
  2. PROBLEM SOLVING
    In many instances, work is simply a series of problems to be solved quickly and efficiently and your ability to provide solutions and head off problems before they become big issues is a valuable asset to have.
  3. CRITICAL THINKING
    The ability to think on your feet, to ask questions, to seek answers and to think differently is a skill that is highly regarded in the workplace. It also helps you learn and apply your learning to improve outcomes.
  4. TEAMWORK
    Most of us work in teams so our ability to work with others, to support them and to be recognised for the contribution we can make with our skill set makes us better employees and is well-regarded by employers.
  5. TIME MANAGEMENT
    In the workplace you’ll be given a certain amount of time to complete tasks or there’ll be an expectation of what you can achieve. Your ability to finish tasks in a timely manner or to manage multiple tasks will make you valuable.
  6. LISTENING
    The most important part of talking with someone is listening. You develop empathy and understand issues better when you listen to the views of others, which is why it is such a critical skill in the workplace.
  7. INTERPERSONAL SKILLS
    We use these skills every day when we communicate and interact with other people, both individually and in groups. Strong interpersonal skills give us the ability to understand and manage your own and others’ emotions.
  8. WORK ETHIC
    Your work ethic is the barometer by which you are measured. Being seen as a reliable, dutiful and hard worker will be a great foundation to build your working life on.
  9. TECHNOLOGY USE
    Your ability to understand and use technology in the workplace is a real plus for most employers. So whether it’s crunching numbers, coding apps or managing data understand that tech is critical to work.
  10. SELF-MOTIVATION
    Your boss can pay you but they can’t drag you out of bed in the morning. They can ask you to deliver your best but only you can really motivate yourself to do so. Self motivation is about giving yourself the opportunity to excel.
  11. RESPECT
    Respect for others, self respect, respect for the process - these are all important aspects of working life. Develop empathy and try to see things from others’ viewpoints and your ability to give and get respect will increase.
  12. NEGOTIATION
    Your ability to negotiate, to make your point and to sway or accept the positions of others will be called upon time and time again in your working life, especially if you work in the gig economy. Polish up your debating skills.
  13. FLEXIBILITY
    In many jobs every day is different so your ability to go with the flow and adapt to conditions at work is going to be really well regarded by your employer.
  14. SELF-CONFIDENCE
    It can be hard to develop self-confidence when you’re new to work or you’ve started a new job. Remind yourself that you wouldn’t have got the job if the boss didn’t think you could do it and try to stay positive.
  15. NETWORKING
    It’s not what you know but who you know. Developing your networks – or contacts – is a great way to improve your employability and to move up in the workplace. TIP Focus on remembering people’s names.
  16. STRESS MANAGEMENT
    Work can often be stressful, with a lot of competing interests affecting your performance so handling stress is critical. TIP Develop mindfulness techniques to help stay calm when times get tough.
  17. INTERVIEWING SKILLS
    It makes sense to practise your interviewing skills given that’s likely going to be part of the process of landing a job. TIP Interviewing is more than just talking. Listen carefully and focus on questions.
  18. RESPONSIBILITY
    Part of growing up and getting out into the workforce is understanding and acknowledging mistakes, and taking responsibility for our actions. Own up to any errors and you’ll be seen as a valued, responsible worker.
  19. PATIENCE
    Patience is a virtue, and that’s especially true in the workplace where competing needs, different ideas, budget issues and other factors often combine to make for slow progress on projects.
  20. PRESENTATION SKILLS
    In many workplaces an important part of work is pitching ideas and strategies. Your ability to make presentations to other staff and clients is often vital to the success of projects. TIP If you’re at school, practise making presentations to your class. 

The Jobs for Youth Campaign's event site lists a number of events and activities that will help you develop your soft skills so head over there to find out what's on.