A guide from Milkround School Leavers on soft skills and why YOU need them!

Soft skills are becoming more and more important and more often than not, employers will be looking for candidates that have a few they treasure. While your other skills and experience will certainly help you get hired, don’t underestimate the power of a well-developed set of soft skills you can use both in your working and personal life!

Soft skills usually refers to the skills you use to relate to the people around you as well as your work and life. They don’t have to be taught to you in order for you to learn them, and many of them you will probably already have mastered without realising. We have assembled some of the most popular soft skills and what defines them.

Personal development

You are developing as a person all the time without noticing, but you can also decide to develop as a professional. If you are still in school take as many chances as possible to take on new challenges and projects, build new relationships, and experience as many new things as you can. Being exposed to fresh experiences helps you grow immensely and teaches you further skills at the same time.

Time management

It might seem obvious but it is shocking how often people have bad time management without even realising. Have a look at the things you do throughout your day, such as getting ready for school, doing chores, or studying. Are you making the most of your time or are there blocks of time that seem to fly past without you achieving anything during them?

If you recognise this try making a schedule for a little while. This will reveal the time you are spending without any gain and will help you nail your time management.

Teamwork and leadership

These two soft skills don’t exactly seem to go together, however you need to be able to be a leader or a team player at any given time. If you have ever had a group project in school you will know that in some instances a leader is needed and in some there needs to be a good equal balance of responsibility between team members. If you can pinpoint when either skill is needed and step up to the challenge you will be able to adapt to every situation appropriately.

Communication skills

This might be the most important soft skill there is. Without communication you simply can’t work efficiently. It helps you get your thoughts across to others, opens up negotiations, and helps you build a contact network. With good communication skills you will most likely be able to tackle any project or collaboration you take on - definitely an essential skill.

Interpersonal skills

Speaking of a contact network, you will probably begin building one as soon as you start your career. Building useful and rewarding relationships in the workplace can be scary and seem nearly impossible, but with great interpersonal skills there is nothing to worry about.

The key to cracking this skill is to be open to anything and to try to always say yes. If you are invited out after work try to go, if someone asks for a favour do it if you can, if you are asked to attend an event do your best to make it. A solid network of contacts can be extremely helpful in the future and act as a jobs board and references at once.

These skills are just the tip of the soft skill iceberg, and employers will desire different ones based on the company or the role. Do your research and see what employers in your potential future sector usually look for - then try to master these skills.

For more soft skills, along with a handy guide, head over to Milkround!

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