What are employers looking for in a good employee? Someone who knows how to do everything their job requires? Not necessarily. Most employers are looking to hire friendly people who have a good work ethic and who are polite, optimistic, and cooperative. This is because it is easier for employers to teach someone a specific skill, for example, how to use a special kind of software or device, than teaching them “people skills,” also called “soft skills.” Let’s explore the soft skills you need to succeed at work.
Soft skills can be defined as characteristics and behaviors to help you to work effectively and harmoniously with other people. That encompasses a lot of things! Below are a dozen tips to help you do that.
- Be willing to accept challenges. Be eager to tackle the job or a new task.
- Manage what you do and be self-motivated. Look for ways to stay busy or to help out.
- Ask for clarification if you’re not sure what you are being asked to do. Seek help when needed.
- Be mindful of your body language, the tone of your voice, and even the words you use.
- Smile. Be positive, considerate and polite. Try to make eye contact.
- Work with others. Remember there’s no “I” in team. Take breaks and eat lunch with your co-workers.
- Mute, or turn off, smartphones and other devices.
- Keep personal problems out of the workplace.
- If a conflict or a problem arises, deal with it calmly.
- It’s ok to make mistakes. Remain positive, take responsibility, and apologize.
- Accept direction and criticism without feeling defeated, resentful, or insulted.
- Be creative when solving problems and don’t be afraid to make decisions.
Want to Learn More?
Did you know that you can access training and resources to improve your soft skills by working with your Wisconsin DVR (Division of Vocational Rehabilitation) Counselor? Ask about the Soft Skills to Pay the Bills training.
Following are a few more soft skills resources and ways to improve your soft skills: