When you think about improving your career, you probably focus on hard skills like Excel, or design. But “soft” skills like communication, adaptability, emotional intelligence and self-awareness are just as likely to get you noticed — if not more so.
Soft skills may seem like something you either have or you don’t, but you can actually practice them. Pick one or two skills that you want to focus on and work to practice them as much as you can.
For instance, if you wanted to improve your self-confidence at work, you could spend time each week writing down reflections. Think back on your projects and meetings from the week and consider what could have gone better or how you handle tough situations. You can use this self-review to discover patterns in your work style that hinder you. The amount of research and effort you need to put in will vary based on what you already know, which skill you choose, and how much energy you can afford to put in. Even if you find that you’re not able to devote much time or energy to practicing these skills, any effort you make is a step towards improvement.
These skills are a key factor when managers decide who to hire or promote. By building up your soft skills, you strengthen yourself as a candidate no matter your level of work experience. You’ll have to put in a conscious effort to increase your skills — and you may find your next interview goes much more smoothly as a result. Check out the full article at the Muse for a full list of the kind of skills you might want to work on.