Recruiters and HR people talk a lot these days about the importance of soft skills in today and tomorrows marketplace. Many people easily qualify as far as hard skills--technical ability--go. Many more, however, are handing in "F" grade work when it comes to soft-skills.
Sadly, many universities fail to teach soft skills. If we look around, it is rather easy to see that this lack shows.
To be highly marketable in today and tomorrow’s market place, you need to assess yourself in terms of your soft skill ability. If you find you lack in some areas, it would be a good to get to work improving yourself immediately.
So to start, how are your relationship building skills? Your interpersonal skills? On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being awesome, what score would you give yourself? More importantly, what score would others give you?
How articulate are you? How well can you express yourself; make your ideas known? How well can you get your point across in both writing and reading? Again, would others agree?
How about your listening skills? Tom Peters calls these THE MOST REQUIRED SKILLS in business. He’s a pretty smart guy. Can you see room for improvement in this area?
How about your presentation skills? What are you doing to improve in this area? Do you belong to any communication clubs? If not, why not?
How are you as a leader? A manager?
What about your problem-solving abilities? Are you an idea person, or a "sit around until someone else figures it out" kind of person?
What’s your personality like? Is negativity your defining characteristic? Or is it optimism? …again, what would others who know you say? BE HONEST!
Speaking of honesty….how’s your honesty? How about integrity? Do you do what you say you will do? Or do you delay? Cheat? Cut corners?
How well do you self-manage? Do you require someone to tell you what to do, or are you apt at governing yourself, creating goals for yourself, creating projects for yourself, and completing these things on your own, without direction from others?
How about blogging? Are you blogging on a regular basis? Are you studying a subject area, making yourself an expert, and giving that information away to others for free regardless of whether people are reading it or not? You should be, according to many career experts.
(Blogging is also a great way to improve your writing skills).
Right now you’re probably saying to yourself, “This is too much! How can I change myself this much? Forget it!!!”
Well, don’t forget it!
Instead, realize that you've got a natural resistance to change. It’s normal. Everyone hates to change. We love our comfortable lifestyles, even if they produce negative results sometimes.
But so what!
We must keep working on developing ourselves in these areas. The change does not need to happen overnight, but it does need to happen. The longer we wait, the worse it gets. Slow steps in a positive direction is enough. But start now.
Each of these skills, if we improve them, will add value to the companies we either work for now, or hope to work for in the future. As mentioned, companies want hard skills, but they are right dying for people with the kinds of soft skills being described here.
So get to it.
By the way, how is your creativitys?
How well do you multi-task?
Deal with Change?
Find creative solutions to problems?
How open are you to doing a broader role than you’re used to?
Finally, how are your networking skills? Are you one who goes to an event with the cold sweat of desperation and neediness streaming down your face? Or are you one who goes to make new friends, to build new relationships; one who goes into an event with the intent of seeing what you can add to the world, not just what you can get from it?
I hope the latter.
Learning to improve yourself in these soft-skill areas will help you pull away from the crowd of competitors. Find some great ways to get these skills.
Immediately, I can think of one great place to do all that has been listed here.
Toastmasters! Join today!