Learn These 7 Soft Skills to Improve Your Career

By Chelsea Babin

In the IT Industry it’s easy to focus on developing new technical skills and forget entirely about soft skills. While you’re probably already equipped with several important soft skills even if you don’t realize it, certain soft skills can greatly improve your career. If you don’t have these 7 soft skills you need to learn them ASAP!

1. Show Up Early: Some people are predisposed to being early or perpetually late but this is actually a skill you can develop. This soft skill can make or break your career or simply put you higher on the list for a promotion so learning it is a great idea! In terms of bang for your buck with career altering soft skills this is one of the best. It’s easy to be perpetually early and it can really change your career for the better over time.

2. Read the Room: Have you ever entered into a conversation with a group of people and felt like everything you were saying was being met with resistance? You may lack the ability to read the room. This soft skill’s definition essentially boils down to being able to adapt to a room full of people who may not share your opinions or perspective and be able to carry on a productive conversation with them without making things awkward. It also means that you save sensitive topics for a better time if the people in the room don’t seem receptive to that topic or it seems like an inappropriate crowd to discuss a certain topic around.

3. Learn How to Give and Receive Feedback: Feedback is such an important part of your career. It’s how you’ll learn from your mistakes and how you’ll help your coworkers improve. One soft skill you need to develop in order to have a more successful career is the ability to give and receive feedback. When you’re giving it make sure it’s constructive, honest but not overly blunt, and helpful. When you’re receiving it make sure you know whether or not it has value for you and how you can use that feedback to improve in the future.

4. Know When to Ask For Help: If you’re in over your head on a project or you’re given a task that you haven’t quite mastered would you ask for help? Knowing when to ask for help is a soft skill that you’ll regret not learning earlier because it will keep you from stalling and being clueless. Don’t be afraid to seem inferior or under qualified, embrace the fact that you don’t know some things and ask for help so that you can learn them and save that knowledge for the next time the same situation comes up.

5. Patience: Some companies have long periods of down time or feedback delay that can be frustrating. But, if you learn how to be patient, you’ll know how to shift to a different task or enjoy the down time when it’s appropriate so you’re not needlessly angered or frustrated at work. This will help you enjoy your job more but it will also help you have better relationships with your coworkers and bosses which could greatly improve your career.

6. Written Communication: Let’s face it, emails aren’t going away any time soon so the soft skill of written communication is vital to your career. If you find that people often misunderstand what you’re saying when you communicate via writing it may be time to improve those skills! Whether it’s your grammar, spelling, or simply the way you construct a sentence have someone help you identify what areas of your writing you need to improve and work on escalating your written communication.

7. How to Be Productive Without Burning Out: This soft skill takes some people a lifetime to develop but there’s no way to adequately describe how much it can improve both your life and your career. Learning productivity strategies and tactics is only half of the battle, you also need to learn how to create a good work/life balance for yourself so that you don’t burn out quickly (which can really negatively impact your career and personal life). Working efficiently and then spending your time outside of work on relaxing, rejuvenating activities sounds easy but it’s a difficult process for many people, yet it’s the most impactful soft skill on this list!

Employees don’t always focus on developing and improving their soft skills but they’re one of the first things employers notice and look for in interviews. These 7 soft skills will improve your career and life so, if you don’t have them or feel you’re underdeveloped in one or more of these, start working on them today!