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10 Soft Skills to Help You Succeed

Soft skills are a great way to make a lasting impression on people.

What are soft skills? Soft skills are social and behavioral qualities that directly relate to how well a person interacts and works with others. They’re developed differently than hard skills, which are usually technical in nature and job specific.

Soft skills may help you work more effectively, build solid professional relationships and navigate challenges. At Strayer, our online degrees may include courses that help you develop these skills, so you’ll be ready to thrive. 

Strayer students can earn skill badges by demonstrating competency in specific soft skills, like oral communication and decision making. These badges are a type of micro-credential designed to help motivate students and allow them to better evaluate the progress they’ve made in a category that may otherwise be difficult to score. Skill badges may also help students differentiate their resumes, offering a clear way to showcase their achievements.

Here are the soft skills that future employers may be looking for:

1. Effective communication skills
A good communicator is able to articulate their ideas and genuinely listen to other people. Communication skills include writing, speaking, active listening and collaboration. Having effective communication skills may help you do the following:

● Write clear and compelling emails.
● Talk to coworkers and clients.
● Pitch an idea to your boss.
● Create a persuasive presentation.
● Collaborate with a team.

2. Problem-solving skills
Good problem solvers are able to analyze challenges and work toward solutions, either alone or in a group. This skill includes critical thinking, decision-making and the willingness to ask questions and explore new ideas. Problem-solving skills may help you successfully:

● Discuss a problem calmly and objectively with a team.
● Examine how a problem affects different constituents.
● Come up with possible solutions and evaluate each idea.
● Make a plan to implement a solution.

3. Data analysis
Data analysis is how you use numbers and information to make decisions. These skills include mathematical reasoning, quantitative analysis and quantitative communication skills. Having strong data analysis skills may help you: 

● Study data to support business decisions, answer questions and solve problems.
● Identify information gaps where more data and analysis are needed.
● Find statistics to support a project.
● Create clear, effective spreadsheets.
● Translate data into graphs, charts or other visuals.

4. Time management skills
Individuals with time management skills are able to strategize, organize, plan and deliver results promptly and efficiently. When people can count on you to meet deadlines, you become an invaluable member of the team and a great example of high-level performance for co-workers. Effective time management skills may help you: 

● Develop a project plan that includes goals, requirements, resources and a timeline.
● Balance simultaneous projects and shifting priorities.
● Identify factors that block productivity and figure out how to address them.
● Allocate more time for thoughtful decision-making.
● Focus on self-improvement by allowing for more personal development activities.

5. Digital literacy
Today’s increasingly hybrid work environments require a more intuitive sense of technology. This goes beyond hard skills needed to master particular platforms or software programs. Today’s employees need to have more than that. They need proficient digital literacy skills. This means they should have a good sense for which of the latest technologies is the most appropriate to use for each task. These skills may enable effective and efficient ways of working, allowing you to do the following:

● Communicate and collaborate in an online or hybrid work environment.
● Research information required to solve problems and inspire new ideas.
● Adapt to evolving workplace software and tools.
● Streamline and complete various tasks and projects.

6. Creative thinking
Creative individuals can think outside the box to generate original ideas and innovative solutions. Because creativity is related to curiosity, creative thinking skills enable you to continuously learn new things and explore new possibilities. With strong creative thinking skills, you may better be able to:

● Brainstorm innovative ideas and solutions, either alone or in a group.
● Ask questions to uncover new ideas.
● Keep an open mind as you evaluate possible solutions.

7. Mental agility
When you’re mentally agile, you’re able to adapt to a changing environment. You can do your job well even when the ground is shifting under your feet. Mental agility allows you to go with the flow, embrace complexity, and stay curious. Interpersonal agility helps you stay open-minded with others, which brings out the best in everyone. When you’re mentally agile, you may be more successfully able to:

● Adapt to new or unfamiliar situations.
● Meet deadlines and other expectations, even when conditions aren’t ideal.
● Make quick decisions with confidence.
● Toggle between tasks without getting flustered.
● Focus on a project, even when outside factors threaten to distract you.

8. Confidence
When you have confidence, you believe in your ability to tackle tasks and goals that you may not immediately know how to handle. You trust that even if you don’t have the answer right away, you’ll figure it out. You can count on yourself to find the help and resources you need to proceed. Having self-confidence could help you:

● Maintain a positive outlook when challenges arise.
● Communicate clearly and effectively with coworkers and supervisors.
● Celebrate your achievements and communicate them to upper management.
● Serve in a leadership role.

9. Emotional intelligence and empathy
Working professionals, as productive and competent as they may be, are still human beings with feelings. Monitoring your emotions and being aware of how others are feeling are invaluable skills to have in the workplace. Having emotional intelligence may allow you to:

● Self-reflect and learn from past mistakes.
● See things from someone else’s point of view.
● Collaborate effectively with a team.
● Build strong, trusting relationships with coworkers, clients and supervisors.
● Provide great customer service.

10. Self-reliance
Most employers want people who can meet work quotas independently. They want employees who know when they need help, but will also take initiative. These are the qualities that come with strong self-reliance skills. Having the ability to work through – and learn from – challenges is valuable in any career. Having strong self-reliance skills means you may be able to more successfully:

● Make progress on projects in the face of adversity.
● Work toward your goals. 
● Use resources in a more effective way.
● Bounce back after setbacks and failures.
● Persevere even when the going gets tough.

Whether soft skills come naturally to you or you’ve worked hard to improve them over the years, they’re a great way to make a lasting impression on people. No matter your academic or professional goals, having a collection of soft skills and continuing to nurture them will serve you well. And, with online learning you can develop these skills at a pace that works with your personal life and responsibilities. 

Explore our online degrees at Strayer University.

Category: Motivation & Inspiration

Published Date: DECEMBER 3, 2023