Think of the work skills you most want to learn or improve.
Are there any soft skills on your list?
Most people are able to think of a long list of technical skills they want but what about soft skills? What about any of the things I include under the banner of soft skills such as social skills, attitudes, habits, and techniques. Soft skills isn’t just ‘communication’!
All of your soft skills, attitudes etc go hand-in-hand with your technical skills to help you do well at work. And while they’re called “soft” they can often feel like the hardest skills to learn. The good news is that they can be learnt.
Here are some soft skills that I think could be useful for people who work in Tech. They’re split into:
– personal skills,
– skills that relate to working with others, and
– skills that impact the wider community.
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By using those three categories I aim to make the distinction between skills you can work on by yourself, and ones where you can only improve by interacting with others (sometimes with people in direct contact, and sometimes people you don’t know). Much of being valuable and employable is driven by skills in the second two columns where you’re working in teams and helping others to succeed.
Of course you don’t need to master all of these skills. You do just fine at work without having all possible technical skills, and the same applies to soft skills.
I use this list as a prompt. I find it useful to reflect on the items and see where I could improve. This list may not work for you. Here are some ways you can get ideas for your own list of soft skills:
- Look at people you admire and see what skills they use.
- Search Google for ideas.
- Note what skills are listed in job ads or articles about your industry.
- Ask colleagues or friends what works for them.
Pick out a few from your list and create your own ‘soft skills backlog’. Think of small steps you could take to become more competent in these areas. Commit to taking action. See what works or doesn’t. You may find that improving your soft skills is easier than you think, and that these skills make more of a difference than you expect.
The next time you’re thinking of ways you could be more skilled, remember the importance of soft skills.