6 Soft Skills to Acquire ASAP

When it comes to angling for raises and promotions, a high-level skill set is a necessary weapon in your arsenal. But while there are technical skills you will probably need to develop for expert-level tasks in your industry, there are also highly valued skills that apply to just about any industry you might work it.

Read through the list below to learn about a few of these.

GIF via Giphy.com

GIF via Giphy.com

1. Writing Skills

Sure, just about everyone in the workforce can read and write, but it’s worth it to invest in learning to be a good writer, even if you’re in a highly technical field. It may not be a skill you can get a measurable level of proficiency for, but when you achieve excellence in this area, people are sure to take notice. Why? Because it takes a high level of reading comprehension and an even higher level of composition skills to be able to take something very technical and translate it into something laymen will understand.

GIF from Legally Blond via Giphy.com

GIF from Legally Blond via Giphy.com

2. Oral Communication Skills

The ability to express yourself fluently and coherently while speaking to various types of people is also something that might not be something you can get a certification for, but it is also something that will help your bosses and colleagues sit up and pay attention. Think it’s not a big deal if, when meeting with higher ups who don’t understand something you’ve been working on, your entire team looks to you to explain things? Think again. Once you’re the go-to person for something like that, people (and we do mean people with the power to approve your promotions) will take notice.

GIF from Parks and Recreation via Giphy.com

GIF from Parks and Recreation via Giphy.com

3. Presentation Skills

While related to the skill set above, this isn’t quite the same. While it does require good oral communication skills, being a good presenter also means knowing how to engage an audience. That goes way beyond the ability to explain things wel; it also means knowing how to keep people interested in what you’re explaining. Some people are naturally good presenters; they know when and how to crack a joke, they come up with intriguing and easy-to-understand analogies, and they know how to pace themselves when giving an extended presentation. Just because you’re not naturally built that way doesn’t mean you can’t learn it, though! And with all that technology has to offer, you can also work on your audio-visual effect skills to supplement your abilities in this area.

GIF from Suits via Giphy.com

GIF from Suits via Giphy.com

4. Leadership Skills

You might see this on the list and roll your eyes because it’s a given. But all too often people think they’re displaying leadership skills because the responsibility is handed to them and they don’t pass it on to another. But being a good leader is more than just keeping everyone on your team in line, making sure you meet deadlines and deliverables, and managing the budgets, schedules, and tasks of a handful of people. It also means being able to encourage and inspire people to reach farther than absolutely necessary, to help everyone in your team work happier and smarter (and not just harder). It means cultivating other team members with leadership potential, and it means absolutely having your team’s back if and when something happens and you come under fire.

GIF from The Newsroom via Giphy.com

GIF from The Newsroom via Giphy.com

5. Problem-Solving Skills

We’re not talking about your ability to make sense of mathematical equations here; instead, we’re talking about being able to think proactively instead of reactively. If you’re the gal who sees and points out potential problems and how these can be avoided, who, when she doesn’t know how to solve an issue herself, at least is able to identify the direction in which a solution may lie, then you’ll be good as gold, as far as your superiors are concerned. This isn’t a skill you can take a class for and learn, but it’s something you’ll need a change of mindset for. To start, any time you need to tell your boss about a problem or potential problem, try offering up two or three options for a solution. He or she will appreciate your initiative, and it will train your brain to look for answers instead of falling into the “wala, eh” or “ewan” mode that will casue your career to stagnate.

GIF from Game of Thrones via Giphy.com

GIF from Game of Thrones via Giphy.com

6. Foreign Languages

Most folks in the Philippines can speak both English and Filipino, but would you pass a native-level speaker certification on either? Plus, if you can speak and write in another language besides these two, it will be a huge advantage for you. Not only does this automatically amp up your desirability as an employee in any global company, but it also means you can ask for a higher starting salary. Each language you speak is a plus point on your resume, so you might want to consider polishing off your rusty high school or college Mandarin or Spanish or whatever it is you took up. For more on this, read our story on the top languages to learn for career opportunities.

 

Featured image from Suits courtesy of NBC.

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