Your technical skills are will likely be what lands you a job, but it is typically your soft skills that will determine how well you fit into the role and develop as a professional. Your work ethic, attitude, communication skills and emotional intelligence, and loads of other personal attributes, can be integral to carving out a successful career.
It is impossible for those employing graduates to think that they are hiring the finished product in terms of employability, but like many other things, soft skills can be learned and improved just like you would if you needed to learn how to work with a new computer programme or how to implement a new technique.
The difficulty is that there is far less training for developing your soft skills as opposed to technical ones. However, if you are intent on developing your career then you can find ways to improve your skill set and become a better-rounded employee as a result.
For example, if you are shy, then taking yourself outside of your comfort zone and putting yourself in different situations can help you improve your communication skills. Having a strong level of self-awareness and a desire to improve yourself is highly attractive for employers.
Feedback is vital
Whilst evaluating your own soft skills can prove to be successful, receiving feedback will give you a more accurate image of where you can develop yourself. Ask colleagues, family and friends to give you both positive and critical feedback – you may be surprised about what may be highlighted.
It is important to be specific when thinking about how you come across to others. If a friend’s response is to say you are not clear enough, then you need to think about what in particular gives off that image; do you dance around the point to much or is it to do with your pronunciation and language?
The development of 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.
If you’re a graduate looking to kick-start your career, have a chat with Discovery Graduates and see how they can help get you started