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What soft skills are generally important in careers?

When I mean soft skills, I mean skills like teamwork, communication, etc.

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Candice’s Answer

Soft skills are important in any career field. They show that you are able to create meaningful personal relationships and connect with others. Soft skills show that you will be able to fit in at a workplace and have the manners and motivation to do so. Some of those I have found most important in my career from the human resources side are listed below. There are many more but I hope this gives you a start.

1. Communication - can understand information accurately & quickly

2. Time management - know how to get the job done and can produce high quality work

3. Critical thinking - can use your emotions and problem solving skills in a demanding situation

4. Leadership - are trustworthy & capable of meeting needs

5. Positive attitude - are unlikely to have interpersonal conflicts

6. Teamwork - a combination of good communication & leadership

7. Customer service - a good listener and compassionate

8. Empathy - able to put yourself in the shoes of others without feeling sorry for them
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Lynn’s Answer

Emotional intelligence is a key skill when when applying for a job. Being able to "read the room" and to know how others might be receiving your comments is important. If you are in doubt about what you might say to a co-worker and it's something you couldn't say to your parent, you may want to rethink your response. Many corporations do pre-testing as a part of the application process and many employers look at emotional intelligence as important as intellectual intelligence. It is important not only to take what you have learned, but also to be able to apply it to real life and to your job.

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Stella’s Answer

Great question! This is a good topic to think about when searching for a career as this is what will set you apart. All of these skills can be applied to any job.
This is a collective answer from four colleagues from PagerDuty. The skills we’ve listed below represent the soft-skills we identify with some of the best colleagues we’ve worked with. (These are not in any particular order.)

1.) PUBLIC SPEAKING: It's important to be confident in yourself and be able to speak in front of others.
2.) CREATIVE THINKING: Bringing a different perspective to solutions and problems is valuable.
3.) ASK QUESTIONS; BE CURIOUS: There is no wrong question, ever! Speak up and seek clarity.
4.) COACHABILITY; HAVE HUMILITY: Being able to learn quickly and learning from previous mistakes while taking criticism in a productive manner will help you grow in your career at a much quicker pace.
5.) ACCOUNTABILITY; GOOD WORK ETHIC: Setup a good routine that will support your work schedule and stick to it! We work from home, but we still get ready for the day and stick to a regular schedule -- our teammates rely on us!
6.) ORGANIZATION: Block your calendar for certain tasks and have a sense of what to prioritize. Writing things down can be helpful in keeping you on track.
7.) POSITIVITY; GOOD ATTITUDE: Avoid negativity and be someone others want to work with.
8.) CRITICAL THINKER; PROBLEM SOLVER; SELF-STARTER: Think through the problem and try to figure it out by yourself before bringing it to your manager to solve for you. Even if your solution doesn't work, this shows initiative and thoughtfulness on your part.

Good luck! We hope this helps :)
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Roberto’s Answer

Soft skills... what a great interest for a young person. You are well on your way !

The list of soft skills is large and comprehensive. There are many good examples already listed in this discussion. I also like to call them "human touch skills". As a whole, those are the skills that will enable you to communicate, collaborate and interact with other human beings, to learn effectively, to experience and to project onto others, realization and satisfaction. Soft skills have two dimensions: the outwards dimension but also the inwards dimension. As human beings ourselves, we also deserve to treat our selves well.

Some people are naturally gifted with those characteristics and for them those things are instinctive and second nature. For some others, for most of us I should say, it is a learning process and those characteristics become skills that can be learned. Soft skills, like any other type of skill need practice, nurturing and feedback. I'd recommend to focus first on the ability to #1 Communicate, which includes the ability to #2 Listen. Communicating well, both ways, is the foundation of every other soft kill because you will pick them all by paying attention to what others have to say and to yourself; which brings the third big one #3 Self-awareness which is basically the same thing than listening, but listening to yourself.

Practice those three, (in no particular order) and you will soon get to #4 Empathy, the ability to put yourself on someone else's own shoes. Those four will get you a long way. There are many other great answers in the discussion.

Good luck !!!
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Chris’s Answer

Soft skills are arguably the most important part of any job. Regardless of the task or the technical skills needed, in most professions you will be interacting with people constantly. It's good for you and for those around you to develop your soft skills as early as possible. You can have all the technical ability in the world, but if you can't communicate it and collaborate with others, it will be very difficult to succeed. Here are some core "soft" skills: Communication, Leadership, Collaboration, Organization, Problem Solving, Emotional Intelligence, Presentation Skill.

There are many resources online and elsewhere to develop these skills, and the best part is - they will ALWAYS be relevant. Regardless of the job. Good luck!
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Jonathan’s Answer

Some things that I've found very meaningful, that also happen to all be things directly in your control:

1) Being punctual
2) Making an effort, even if you're unsure of exactly what's required
3) Being positive, good attitude/energy
4) Being passionate, actually caring about the work
5) Being coachable, not defensive when comments or critiques come up
6) Doing a little extra when you can
7) Being prepared (for meetings, presentations, etc..)
8) Having a strong work ethic

You can always focus on these things regardless of whatever hard talents or skills you have, and help you be successful in whatever field you choose to pursue.
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Olivia’s Answer

It’s all about making sure your clients and or customers are comfortable. Build trust with them through communication. Not only with your clients, but networking with your fellow peers and employer.
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Julie’s Answer

Communication combined with respect and curiosity. Be reliable, trustworthy, do the best at any job given. Enjoy the difference of your coworkers, learn, and grow as a human, be compassionate, truly care for your coworkers. Be polite, but be resilient, learn everything you can from longer hired coworkers.
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Maria’s Answer

Soft skills are essential and are transferable skills necessary in all work environments. There are a variety of soft skills necessary but the ones that everyone should practice more are the following;
Professionalism/Ethics
Oral and written communication
Collaboration
If you can execute these skills, you will be able to succeed in the work environment of your interest.
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david’s Answer

WOW! Super question. Thanks for asking that. Soft skills will ALWAYS make you stand out from the crowd, regardless of education level or skills.
I think the most important is listening, letting the other person state their point of view without being anxious to jump in and disagree. Listen. So often, I call a support phone line for help with a product, I describe the problem, and the technician proceeds to answer the problem they 'thought' I asked, and not what I actually said. Listening and paraphrasing to let them know you understood are paramount skills. Understanding teamwork is another. Many assume that teamwork means doing whatever the boss says, but if you look at sports, teamwork means that each person is trained in their specialty, and each person knows the overall plan, and each person knows what the others are doing. That is a far cry from the manager who says, "We all have to work overtime this weekend for project xxxxxx, so show up and prove you're a team member." Understanding teamwork also means showing respect for the individual. We all make mistakes, and we all learn from mistakes, so compassion for others is another priceless soft skill. Listening, understanding teamwork, and compassion can carry you far. All the best to you.
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Vamshee’s Answer

Great question from a student. I wish i had thought about soft skills when i was in college ;-)

Examples of soft skills are below.

Communication skills
Time management
Work ethic
Critical thinking
Problem Solving
Flexibility
Dependability
Teamwork skills
Creativity
Teachability
Adaptability
Attention to detail.
Positivity or optimism

Some of these skills can be developed and improved by daily interactions and day to day activities at school or work.
Not all the above skills are must for a college or job, some of them are more important than others for a profession or college, some of them are nice to have skills.
Communication skills, Teamwork skills, Time Management, Interpersonal skills, Positivity and adaptability are some skills that would help you most in a collage or in a career.

Think about each soft skill and see where you stand, research online and find out what tasks are related to each soft skill, think about them and train your mind to observe those skills in your day-to-day interactions with friends/teachers/officers etc. and then try to practice them wherever needed.
Look for someone who are good at those soft skills, may be your parents/teacher/Head of school /Store Managers/Customer reps etc. You can try to learn from them.
Take a Class: There are lot of you tube videos/online tutorials/classes/workshops to attend and develop skills.
Volunteer in the Community: Find the volunteer opportunities in libraries/community center/community fairs etc. to get experience and exposure to job skills/soft skills.
Join Clubs: By participating in club activities at school or contest, students can learn working with others and build interpersonal skills/community skills etc.
TED Talks: Listening to TED talks helps , provides lot of insights .

Hope this helps!
Good Luck for your future endeavors!
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Ka’s Answer

I would add presentation and sales to the skills listed by other contributors. The ability to create and communicate key concepts in an entertaining and informative manner is critical to getting your name and work in front of any company's management.

Whether we like it or not, we are constantly selling something - our skills, our results, our feedback, etc. to advance in our careers. This takes practice. The more you do this, the better you will get.

Ka recommends the following next steps:

Take a marketing course
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Elyse’s Answer

This is an excellent question! There are many important skills listed above, here are a few others to consider:

- Initiative + Problem Solving: the ability to recognize a problem/opportunity (without needing to have it brought to your attention), researching possible solutions, and bringing the solution to fruition is an invaluable skill!
- Willingness to change your own thoughts: we often enter the workforce with firm perspectives on how work should be done and how to achieve our goals. Being able to see different perspectives and work actively to change the pattern of your thoughts will give you an edge when it comes to flexibility + adaptability.
- Learn how to read + work with others: this is more than just getting to know your teammates, managers, and employees. Being able to recognize strengths in others, as well as responses to stress, can make your experience on a team far more peaceful.
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O’s Answer

Have a genuine appreciation for what you want to exoress proffessionaly. If you would do a preferred speciality in your field for free then go for it that would be a soft skill
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Claude’s Answer

Hi Matthew,

Great question! This list could be exhaustive, but sharing a few that are top of mind for myself and others within my organization.

Communication, listening, proactivity/taking initiative, time management, dependability/responsibility, being a team player, ambition, having the right attitude (both in terms of positivity and matching the organization you are wanting to work for), humility, knowing when to be the leader and when to support the leader, and maintaining and expressing curiosity.

Good luck in your career!
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Gus’s Answer

I would say the most important soft skill is a positive attitude. Being positive, particularly in the face of adversity, is something that is seen by all your coworkers. If you are able to bring positive thinking to your workplace, people will typically be drawn to you, want to hear your insights/ideas, and will also likely begin to share your positive attitude.
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Oscar Andrés’s Answer

Hi Mathew,

Great question! I would say communication, adaptability and critical thinking. I think having a high emotional intelligence is key also in every career path you take, as you are always going to encounter different situations that are going to test and challenge you.
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