Soft skills you never knew you had

Thinking about a new job? Then get your soft skills ready. Whether you’re looking for a new role in the same industry, changing careers or re-entering the workforce after some time away – knowing your soft skills and being able to demonstrate them to prospective employers is a key way to stand out in the crowded job market.

Unlike technical skills, that are focussed on specific elements or a role, soft skills are personal attributes that are easily transferred from one role or career to another. Soft skills help us personalise our roles and, really, differentiate ourselves from our competitors.

The problem however, is that many of us don’t know what our soft skills are, causing us to seriously undervalue ourselves in the job market. Here are four soft skills that many people overlook, that you really ought to know.

Work ethic

If there’s one soft skill that’s important to all employers it’s work ethic.

Having a strong work ethic doesn’t mean you always work overtime and never take breaks. In fact, it’s often the opposite – people with a strong work ethic can put their head down and focus when it matters. These workers inspire a productive environment because they are able to prioritise and complete tasks on time and to a high standard.

A strong work ethic is difficult to teach, so employers will be impressed if you can demonstrate this skill in your job application and interview.

Persistence

The ability to cope with life’s curveballs and push through when things are uncertain, confusing or not necessarily going the way you would like is a great asset – both in life and in the workplace.  

In fact, in this popular Ted Talk, Richard St John argues that persistence, more so than intelligence or luck, is one of the secrets of successful people.  In the workplace things are bound to go wrong: mistakes happen, projects change, and strategies fail. That’s why a persistent employee, someone who will push through when things don’t go to plan, is so valuable.

Flexibility

When life gives you lemons, do you make lemonade? If yes, then you are undoubtedly a flexible thinker and this is a great strength.  The ability to adapt to change and find new solutions when things don’t go to plan are key to success in the modern workplace.

In many cases, people who are highly adaptable can be more valued than those who are highly skilled but less willing to adapt and cope with change. That’s because when things go wrong employers need people who can keep moving forward and create solutions to the problems they face.

Decision-making

If you’re someone who likes to take action and consider any decision to be better than no decision – then you’re decisive when it counts and you’re invaluable to any team.

Really, at the heart of this soft skill is confidence. Many people in the workplace wait until they know something for sure before they’re willing to make a decision. But the problem with taking this approach? No one ever knows for sure!

Decisive people have confidence in their ability to understand a problem, weigh-up options and then make a decision. They know it may not be perfect, but they trust their instinct and their ability to move forward.