Hard Data on ‘Soft’ Skills Learned in Professional Development

It is extremely rare that any employee has sufficient technical or professional skill to excuse them from the need for so-called “soft” skills like a positive communication style. Whatever your profession, you can safely assume that you will have more success if your technical skills are accompanied by excellent soft skills like listening ability, professional courtesy, and emotional intelligence.

Seventy-seven percent of employers in a CareerBuilder study said they valued soft skills as much as technical skills, and 16 percent said they valued soft skills even more. Soft skills are important to 93 percent of employers, according to this study, and should not be ignored in your career development.

Some people seem to be born with soft skills. They naturally relate well to people, communicate effectively, and people just like them. While having soft skills can be a natural thing for some, there is still hope for you, even if you are not the type of person who has natural people skills.

Soft Skills Employers Want

The soft skill most in demand by today’s employers is outstanding communication with colleagues and customers. Poor communication causes many problems in the workplace and is way too common a problem for many employers. Without good communication, misunderstandings occur that may cause mistakes, hurt professional relationships, and in general, get in the way of work being done. Employers know that there is a relationship between communication skills and productivity that can’t be ignored.

Leadership ability is another soft skill highly sought by employers, who want to promote from within when they can. Knowing how to lead a team, even when you aren’t the official leader, is a valuable soft skill that helps get the job done.

Other soft skills employers look for when hiring include time management, flexibility, professionalism, and motivation. Organizational skills are highly sought-after as well. These skills make a big difference in how work is accomplished and can mean the difference between know what you’re doing in a job and actually getting the job done.

Soft Skills Can Be Learned

Fortunately, many continuing education and professional development courses address these critical soft skills, which are just as important to maintain as technical skills. If soft skills don’t come naturally to you, there are ways to develop them so your lack of soft skills doesn’t hold you back in your career and make it harder for you to succeed.

Courses in soft skills may involve not only the presentation of information, but also modeling, role playing, and other techniques that allow you to see these skills in action and develop them yourself. As you learn more about these skills and their importance, you will want to add them to your growing skill set in order to make yourself a more valuable employee.

Soft skills courses are offered at CCSU for personal and professional development. To join the mailing list contact Christa Sterling at csterling@ccsu.edu.

 

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