In today’s working landscape, employers are looking not just for someone who possesses the hard skills required for the job but a well-rounded personality that has mastered a range of soft skills.
Soft skills, also known as personal skills, point to one’s ability to navigate human interaction. A 2022 survey by the career site Zety found that soft skills are valued by 61% of employers.
The top five soft skills for 2022 are communication, creative thinking, interpersonal skills, analytical skills, and teamwork, based on data analysed by Interviewer.AI. If you’re looking to hone these skills to be a better fit for a job, these out-of-the-box suggestions will point you in the right direction.
1. Honing your communication skills by joining a club
‘Communication’ has become a buzzword in today’s world and is a highly valued soft skill.
At the workplace, you’re often required to communicate with your team or clients, and a mix of listening, verbal, and written communication skills come into play. Being able to articulate yourself, convey information, and engage in discussions is vital.
Not everyone is born a ‘communication guru’, but everyone can hone the skill of communication.
One great way to do so is by engaging in social interactions outside your comfort zone. For example, you can join a book club or any other club that bolsters your interests, where you get to practise your listening skills, verbalise your opinions, speak in front of an audience, and even write. Joining a club is a great way to overcome your fear of speaking in public if you have such and hone your communication skills.
2. Follow your creative pursuits to unlock your creative thinking
Creative thinking means your ability to think outside the box and ride the wave of innovation. Companies value employees who are able to come up with creative solutions, stepping out of the old and into the new.
There are a ton of ways you can enhance your creative thinking. Artistic endeavours, such as singing, dancing, painting, and sculpting, open you up to a new world of ideas nuanced in bright colours and present you with a vista you might have previously not thought of. That way, you can apply the newly perceived narrative to your work.
You can sign up for a course in any creative field or simply engage in adult colouring in your spare time. Photography is also a great way to open yourself to new perspectives, shapes, and angles.
The more you tap into your creative senses, the more brimming with ideas and solutions you will be in your workplace. Creative thinking doesn’t apply only to jobs in the creative field, and any industry can benefit from a bit of colour or a change of perspective from time to time. So be the person who brings it in.
3. Take a gap year to master your interpersonal skills
Interpersonal skills might seem similar to communication skills but encompass many qualities. Active listening, empathy, and teamwork are all important for effective interaction in the workplace. Interpersonal skills point to our emotional intelligence and ability to work and communicate with others.
What can really help you develop the whole package of interpersonal skills is taking a gap year and going on an explorative journey of yourself and the world. Volunteering, teaching English abroad, or doing a gap year ski instructor course are great ways to interact with people in unfamiliar settings. That way, you’re challenging different aspects of yourself that require using various interpersonal skills.
By doing a ski instructor course, for example, you’re not only learning a new hard skill but also putting your listening, analytical, and communication skills into practice. While you’re teaching someone to ski, you’re applying your empathy and understanding of their level of abilities and doing your best to explain the technique.
4. Brain games for your analytical skills
Analytical skills are highly valued because they can be applied in a variety of situations in the workplace. They help you adeptly analyse the situation and make informed decisions on the issues you’re dealing with.
To improve your analytical skills and become a valuable asset to the company, you can spend your free time developing your brain through various mind games. Sudoku, crosswords, board games, and chess are great for that. Some of these games also help you improve your communication skills as you play against an opponent or within a team.
Learning a new language or a skill will also boost your analytical skills. Why not join a debate club where you have to prepare your thesis or start journalling to analyse your thoughts and establish patterns.
5. Teamwork makes the dream work
The skill that brings all the other soft skills together is teamwork. If you don’t have anyone to interact with and practise the rest of the skills, they will become amorphous.
Most jobs require us to work within a team to deliver the best. As we all know, teamwork makes the dream work.
Become a dream team player by engaging in team activities outside your workplace. Escape rooms, for example, can be a great way to learn how to collaborate and put your analytical skills into play. Another great way to enhance your teamwork is by joining a sports team. Working towards a communal goal and getting swamped up in the sports spirit, you will become an excellent team player in no time!
As you can see, all of the top soft skills are interconnected. One propels the other. Creative thinking, for example, goes hand in hand with analytical thinking and communication. Without the right analytical skills, you won’t be able to look at your creative idea with a crucial eye, while good communication skills help you convey your idea with your team. Mastering a mix of soft skills is key to your career development.