As we look toward 2020, it’s a perfect time to consider career and personal goals. Despite the increasing prevalence of technology in the workforce, companies still look for employees with strong soft skills, and according to Adecco, 44% of executives think many Americans lack these skills. These skills are not job-specific, they’re a part of you that transfers across your life.
Soft skills can’t always be proven through certifications, but you can still develop them. Hard skills are more task-specific, and they can often be taught and certified. While certification in specific hard skills is important if you’re seeking a job in technology, mastering these five soft skills will increase your chances of career success across any industry, according to research from LinkedIn.
Machines often dominate the modern workplace, but they still can’t beat human ingenuity at finding out-of-the-box solutions. Employers want workers that can approach a problem with a fresh mindset, who can flexibly transfer their skills to new tasks.
Thankfully, you can develop your sense of creativity. Read a lot, and read material from experts and other industries. Take time for yourself to rest, exercise, and eat well. Pick up a new hobby, like an instrument or an art. This isn’t just a skill for your career, it can greatly enrich your personal life. Inc.com offers an excellent list of nine ways to boost your sense of creativity, and there are countless other quality resources online.
From breezing through an interview to presenting your ideas in a meeting, persuasion is a universally helpful skill for your career. Persuasion works best when it incorporates empathy, communication, collaboration, and kindness, so you can build lasting and beneficial professional and personal relationships.
Forbes presents a list of 21 Principles of Persuasion, and famous books such as How to Win Friends & Influence People offer timeless advice for establishing meaningfully beneficial relationships. Mastering these social skills is vital to career success, and it’s always an excellent time to start incorporating and practicing these skills in a genuine way.
The modern workplace is global and connected, and new technologies erupt into industries quickly. Modern employees need the ability to collaborate with everyone from another department to another company halfway around the globe, and they need to work with a variety of different people with different talents and specialties to accomplish their goals.
According to Business Insider, you need to put in the work to develop your ability to collaborate. Make decisions, volunteer to work on group projects, maintain your relationships and communication skills, and improve your self-awareness in group goals.
Technology changes rapidly, and the modern workplace must be able to adapt and keep up. From implementing new security to upgrading to the cloud, companies need a range of specific hard skills to keep them sharp, but they all require adaptable, agile employees to lead these changes.
Like creativity, adaptability can be a fun skill to develop, and you can improve your adaptability simply by seeking out new ideas and experiences and learning all you can. In Forbes, Jeff Boss, a Navy SEAL, discusses how SEAL Teams implemented adaptability to operate at the highest level. Some of these strategies might even take the edge off your New Year’s Resolutions. For example, it’s good to set small goals, because they can turn a massive task into something easily manageable.
Employers don’t want to babysit, and they need workers who can keep their goals focused and meet deadlines without nudging. Time management might not be as fun as creativity to develop, but it’s not a difficult skill to develop either.
For example, effective time management involves avoiding multitasking, setting realistic goals, and taking regular breaks. You shouldn’t overcommit, and effectively managing your time will not only make you a better worker, it will reduce your stress. Check out these 10 easy ways to sharpen your time management from Lifehack.org.
The Importance of Hard Skills
You can start working on these soft skills today, and they’ll enrich both your personal and professional life in 2020 and beyond. While those soft skills provide universal benefits across any career, many fields still require specific hard skills and technical certifications. As fields such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and UX design become more important, companies need employees that can implement specific cybersecurity solutions, for example, or develop new applications on new platforms.
As you look to develop all of your skills in 2020, career training programs such as New Horizons Career Development Solutions can help with your professional growth and development. With qualified instructors with actual experience in their fields, our courses will provide unique insights you can apply to your career, and our expert advisors will help you create a game plan for obtaining training and certification.