Many professionals focus on developing their hard skills in order to improve and advance their careers. While hard skills are important, organizations today are looking for professionals that possess strong soft skills. After all, even if you’re the best at coding, you won’t be able to advance your career if you don’t know how to work well with others.
In fact, Google did an internal study that found that among the eight most important qualities of their top employees, hard skills such as STEM expertise come in dead last. The seven top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills like being a good coach, communicating and listening well, being a good critical thinker and being able to make connections across complex ideas, just to name a few.
If you want to grow professionally, get a promotion, or land a new job this year, here are four soft skills you need to possess.
Creativity is one of the top soft skills employers are looking for. And creativity isn’t just important for professionals in graphic design and content marketing; creativity is beneficial in all roles within an organization, from human resources to software engineering to customer service. Creative people are able to develop new ideas and apply new solutions to address existing problems, which will allow businesses to discover new opportunities for innovation and growth.
Luckily, creativity isn’t only a skill that people are born with, you can actually learn to be more creative. There are a number of ways to boost your creativity like collaborating with others, asking for feedback, writing down your ideas, solving a puzzle or even going to an escape room.
2. Social intelligence
Being “street smart” is just as important as being “book smart” in the workforce. Social intelligence, commonly referred to as street smarts, is the ability to get along with others, build relationships and navigate social environments. As you can imagine, social intelligence is necessary if you want to build meaningful and successful relationships with people in an organization.
What exactly is social intelligence? According to Psychology Today, the key elements of social intelligence include:
Verbal fluency and conversational skills
Knowledge of social roles, rules, and scripts
Effective listening skills
Understanding what makes other people tick
Role-playing and social self-efficacy
Impression management skills