By Erika Pierce, J.D., The Millennial Boardroom
Erika Pierce will be presenting at our November 4 WBA BOLT Winter Leadership Summit in Stevens Point. Visit the registration site to learn more!
Soft skills are skills that you learn through experience, mindfulness, and reflection. They’re your good habits, personality traits, and understanding of workplace norms. These skills are important to have for any worker, especially to those in higher positions. Possessing these skills often denotes experience, confidence, and professionalism.
If you’re chasing a new job, a higher position, or career independence, you need to develop your understanding of certain soft skills. Here are just five important important soft skills that you need to grow your career:
Being able to communicate well in a professional setting is one of the most important stepping stones to a large network and successful career.
Your communication skills dictate how well you relate with others. Being a good communicator often leads to having great workplace relationships with your co-workers, a more healthy and efficient work environment, and being a better leader.
To be a good communicator, you have to hone specific communication skills. This includes public speaking, giving clear directions, and active listening. It’s also important to hone your nonverbal communication skills, like reading body language, tone of voice/writing, and other unspoken cues.
While you might think that the people who go furthest in their careers are the ones that put in 60-hour work weeks and almost never seem to rest, think again. For most people, this kind of work-life balance is unsustainable and can often lead to burnout. If you want to sustainably grow your career, you need to develop your sense of self-management.
I’ve learned that once you take charge of your own career, you’re in charge of your own work-life balance. You’re the one who decides how often you work, and consequently, how stressed you are.
Knowing when to take a break and step away from your work is a skill in itself. Setting aside time for yourself allows you to reap the benefits of your hard work, and helps remind you why you want to grow even further. This leads to a healthy work-life balance and a sustainably growing career.
Even if you aren’t a marketer, having marketing skills is important to career growth.
Knowing how to sell yourself is essential to getting hired, promoted, or even working independently. This means understanding what a company, position, or client needs and highlighting why you’re the perfect fit for the job.
Sometimes, career growth doesn’t mean a promotion, but an opportunity elsewhere. Being able to recognize this is a skill in itself, but you should also have the drive and willingness to at least consider new career options.
I tell people that they should look at the market every now and then, even if they’re not looking for a new job, because it’s always changing. If you always know what the market is like, you might find an opening with a better salary, a more convenient location, or even at the company of your dreams.
There’s a lot of pressure involved in growing your career. Job interviews, chasing deadlines, and application processes are just some of the pressure situations you’ll be faced with in your career. But how much you grow your career depends on how much you can handle and thrive in the face of this pressure.
There’s a reason some of the biggest career success stories are stories of resilience. When you’re growing your career, you will be faced with challenges and tough times. But the truth is that you grow the most when you’re out of your comfort zone. Understanding this will help you grow your career to new heights.
These are just some of the soft skills that you should develop if you want to successfully grow your career. If you want to learn more, consider joining my membership community where we share all kinds of career tips and advice.