We know how important it is for you to land your dream job. This is why Ottawa University helps you gain the skills employers are looking for to help them meet the goals of their organization. It isn’t just about learning industry skills anymore because soft skills are needed to succeed in almost any role.
So, what are soft skills exactly? Generally, they can be defined as the less tangible skills related to an individual’s personality traits that determine the way they act and interact with others. In a nutshell, they are our hard-earned and continuously cultivated human-to-human skills.
Research shows that most employers believe these skills serve as the greatest indicator of a new hire’s success within the company, even above the hard skills that employees bring to their roles.
Do you possess the soft skills desired by employers? If not, then perhaps furthering your education is necessary to acquire them for a career transition. Let’s find out by exploring the top 10 soft skills employers are looking for in 2021.
Adaptability helps us be flexible and manage change. It is the number one quality employers are looking for in a new hire. Many of us don’t do well with change but learning to adapt to ever-changing demands and goals in the workplace with a positive, problem-solving attitude will make you an invaluable asset to your employer. It will also help you stay relevant in your role, so you remain an asset long into the future.
“It’s all about good communication.” Sometimes things become a cliché for good reason – they’re true. However, there are many facets to effective communication – intentional listening, proper body language, clear and appropriate verbal interactions, well-crafted written correspondence, thoughtful questions, even choosing to communicate at all. So, this little “power skill” packs a big punch when it comes to job success. If you need some help in this department, or even want to consider making this a career path, furthering your education with Ottawa University’s Bachelor’s in Communications degree can open up a wide array of job opportunities.
- Time Management
This soft skill is a crucial one, and it benefits you as well as your employer. Knowing the things that trip you up when managing your time will help you improve in this area. Are you a procrastinator? Are you chronically late? Are you too optimistic when setting project deadlines? Do you overthink things, making you take longer than you should on a project? Are you tempted to take care of personal business or post to social media on corporate time? Addressing any of these issues and mastering your time will signal to managers that you are reliable and that they will get the most out of you every day.
- Emotional Intelligence
Research shows that emotional intelligence is more important than IQ in determining outstanding job performance. In line with communication and adaptability, this soft skill goes beyond knowing and managing your own emotions to putting yourself in the shoes of others for maximum collaborative output and success. It can also help significantly with stress management, conflict resolution, and assessing non-verbal ques.
You don’t have to be in a management position to be a leader. Organizations are always looking for those special employees who can express their informed ideas, influence others, and motivate a team to excel on a project. Effective leaders also model a positive and professional response to change. While a very few are born leaders, most are trained. Ottawa University’s Masters in Leadership degree can make you a master of this power skill and will be a home-run on your resume for a career transition.
- Critical Thinking
While some jobs may require you to simply perform the same function over and over without variation, the vast majority of today’s jobs are the “think on your feet” type. Employers expect you to bring analytical skills to individual, team, and corporate tasks; to look at the big picture; to identify trends that can potentially help or hurt the organization as a whole or on a particular project; to not only identify problems but potential solutions, as well. Furthering your education through Ottawa University’s accelerated, online degrees helps develop your critical thinking skills. Grounded in the liberal arts, OU is committed to diversity of thought and teaches you how to think rather than what to think.
Professionalism encompasses all the nuances of the other skills that make you a balanced, well-rounded employee. By practicing professionalism, you will become known within the company for your integrity, level-headedness, and overall appropriateness in all aspects of your job. Professionalism can itself become a stepping-stone to career advancement. Being familiar with business etiquette is extremely helpful in displaying appropriate professionalism in the workplace.
- Respect for Diversity
In today’s divisive culture, employers are looking for this soft skill more than ever. Respecting diversity means understanding that our differences can be a strength; that we can listen to and learn from one another even if we disagree; that we can explore varying ideas to find creative solutions; and that we can respect those who are different from us as fellow humans. Respect for diversity includes developing your level of cultural competence. This helps you embracing diverse abilities, leadership methods, and communication styles and shows that you are open-minded enough to work collaboratively with your managers and peers.
- Willingness to Keep Learning
Staying stagnant in your skillset, or your mindset, will almost certainly lead to obsolescence in a few short years. With technologies and business practices changing at warp speed, it is imperative that you stay abreast of the big things – like advances in your field - as well as the small things, such as mastering the latest version of software. Taking the occasional course or attending professional development seminars will not only look good on your resume, it will also demonstrate to your employer that you have the drive to stay industry relevant.
- Strong Work Ethic
This one may fall more under the heading of a “value” than a power skill, but it’s one of those intangibles that employers are desperately seeking in today’s labor force. They want hard workers who will show up on time and give 100% all day long. They want employees who embrace the company’s mission and realize the value of contributing to something bigger than themselves. Simply put, they want someone who will give them an honest day’s work.
If you are wondering whether you have these soft skills, or if they can even be learned, then don’t. Research debunks that theory. A study from MIT Sloan found that teaching soft skills improves work productivity. Conducted at five factories in Bangalore, India, the controlled, twelve-month trial focused on training in problem solving, communication, and decision-making. The result was a 250% return on investment in just eight months.
Get a head start in developing your soft skills by furthering your education. Reach out to an enrollment advisor to get more information about Ottawa University’s accelerated, online degrees today! You will find that our expert faculty know just the right soft skills you need for your field.