To get your foot in the door at your dream job, it’s important to have solid credentials: a degree, work experience, and professional references. But it’s your soft skills—not hard-hitting credentials and technical know-how—that ultimately determine your employability and staying power.
Soft skills help you work more effectively in your chosen career, build solid professional relationships, and navigate challenges that arise on the job. Strayer online degrees include courses that help you develop these skills, so you’re ready to thrive in any work environment.
10 ESSENTIAL SOFT 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.
At work, you need solid communication skills to:
- Write clear and compelling emails
- Talk to coworkers and clients
- Pitch an idea to your boss
- Create a persuasive presentation
- Collaborate with a team
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.
At work, you need problem-solving skills to:
- 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 carry out the solution
Data analysis is all about how you use numbers and information to make decisions. These skills include mathematical reasoning, quantitative analysis, and quantitative communication skills.
At work, you’ll use data analysis to:
- 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
Employees with strong productivity skills are able to strategize, organize, plan, and deliver results. When people can count on you to get things done on time, you become an invaluable member of the team.
At work, you need productivity skills to:
- Manage your time and stay focused to meet deadlines
- 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
Digital proficiency is the ability to navigate technology to accomplish a task or reach a goal. When you have this skill, you know how to choose—and then use—the right technology for the job, so you can work as effectively and efficiently as possible.
At work, you need digital proficiency skills to:
- Choose the best software for a specific purpose, whether it’s to schedule social media posts or conduct video conference calls
- Make the most of productivity software
- Be comfortable using both desktop and cloud-based technologies
- Use the Internet to communicate and conduct research
Creative employees can think outside the box to generate original ideas and solutions. Creativity is related to curiosity, which enables you to learn new things on the job. Creative people enjoy playing with possibilities.
At work, you need creativity to:
- Brainstorm groundbreaking ideas and solutions, either alone or in a group
- Ask questions to uncover new ideas
- Keep an open mind as you evaluate possible solutions
- Solve problems that at first glance seem unsolvable
When you’re agile, you’re able to adapt to a changing work 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.
At work, you need agility to:
- Adapt to new or unfamiliar work 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
When you have confidence on the job, you believe in your ability to tackle tasks and goals that you may not immediate know how to do. 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.
At work, you need self-confidence to:
- Maintain a positive outlook when challenges arise
- Communicate clearly and assertively with co-workers and supervisors
- Celebrate your achievements and communicate them to upper management
- Serve in a leadership role
Self and Social Awareness
Working professionals, as productive and competent as they may be, are human beings with feelings. Monitoring your emotions and being aware of how others are feeling are invaluable skills to have in the workplace.
At work, you need social-emotional skills 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 co-workers, clients, and supervisors
- Provide great customer service
People with drive are able to keep themselves motivated to reach a goal. And even when obstacles arise, they keep on going toward the finish line.
At work, you need drive to:
- Make progress on projects in the face of adversity
- Work toward a promotion
- Bounce back after setbacks and failures
- Persevere even when the going gets tough
No matter what career field you choose, soft skills will serve you well. You may have already mastered a few—maybe you’re naturally confident or have always been driven. That’s great! Strayer University can help you develop the rest.
Our courses give you both soft skills and technical skills, and set you up for success. Explore our online degrees at Strayer University.