Soft skills are, as the name suggests less tangible than your GCSE or A Level qualifications, and are more to do with your personal qualities and personality. They relate to your attitude and how you approach certain situations in the workplace.
Research suggests that more than three quarters of employers value soft skills just as highly as academic achievement, so now is the time to think about yours and how you can improve them.
There are lots of different soft skills, but here we look at the top 5 most important for success on an Apprenticeship and progressing your career:
1. Communication Skills
These are arguably the most important skills for almost any type of job! Good communication skills allow you to get your point across both verbally and in writing.
Letting your team or manager know if you have a good idea, feedback on your role, or if you have misunderstood something or need help with a problem, helps build up trust and can lead to increased responsibility and respect.
Having good communication skills also includes being a good listener, this can help you to understand what is expected of you by your employer and make sure you can complete any task you’re given.
2. Team working
Working well with others is essential for developing a successful career. This isn’t just a case of saying ‘yes’ to everything you’re asked to do; having good team working skills means being positive and assertive, having the confidence to contribute ideas in a group and taking your share of the team’s responsibility.
Most people do not like being criticised and this can be difficult to handle at work, but being open to constructive criticism is a great skill to have and it can help with your personal development. Everyone makes mistakes, but being able to learn from them is the most important thing and a good team will always be there to help!
Individual staff members who are seen as being negative and as a disruptive influence on the rest of their team, will be less likely to progress. Employers need all their staff to work together effectively as a team.
3. Time management
Good time management skills are much more than the basics of getting to work on time, which is a given. When you can organise and manage your time well, you can be more productive and efficient. You’ll be able to keep on top of multiple tasks at the same time and help make the business run more smoothly.
Time management and organisation skills are in demand and are essential in today’s 24/7 world, missed deadlines or missed opportunities can be very costly to employers.
4. Problem solving
Employers like staff who can take in information about what is happening around them and apply logic and resourcefulness to any problems that come their way.
Being able to solve problems on your own is a skill that’s in demand! Employers love staff members who can save time and help move their business forward, by giving solutions, rather than focusing on the problem, you can stand out to senior team members.
So the next time you see a colleague struggling or a customer needing assistance, take the time to think about how you can draw on your own experiences to solve the problem. Ask yourself questions like: How would you approach this? Have you dealt with similar situations in the past?
Whether your manager asks you to take on a new responsibility or consider a new start time, being flexible with your employer and being able to adapt to change is another sought-after skill.
The world of work is changing at a faster rate than ever before, and employers are looking for people who can keep up and embrace the changes.