The Top 5 Soft Skills You Need and How to Demonstrate Them at Work

By Tess Campbell Modified on May 20, 2022
Tags : Careers | Communication

You know you've got the skills — but are you prepared to demonstrate them to your boss?

 The Top 5 Soft Skills You Need and How to Demonstrate Them at Work

Want an inside look at what employers are looking for from recent graduates? Here’s a hint — it’s not as elaborate as you think! Top companies are saying their new hires have the technical skills, and in many cases, are better prepared than ever — but new hires aren't showing that they have their soft skills mastered. Don’t worry, showing off your soft skills in the workplace is easy — and we’re here to tell you how!

What are soft skills?

Soft skills are the skills that go beyond the technical aspects of a job. They focus on your personality, behaviour, leadership, social, and other qualities you can bring to the table. As opposed to hard skills which are comprised of your training, education, and knowledge for a particular career, soft skills are personal qualities that are learned through experience. So, here’s the top soft skills and how you can use them to impress your boss in your first couple of weeks on the job:

1. Communication

Good communication skills are key in any workplace. Whether you’re working on individual tasks or groupwork, good communication will help you determine clear expectations and set yourself up for success. This skill will also help you build positive relationships amongst your colleagues. You’ll get to know the company culture and how each member contributes to the team. Check out our article for some helpful tips on how to ask questions.

The best way to show effective communication in your workplace is by asking questions. It can be easy to hide in the background when you first start, but demonstrating a willingness to ask questions and learn shows that you’re a go-getter. A new employee that asks a lot of questions shows that they’re eager and wanting to grow in their position right off the bat.

2. Adaptability

The pandemic has forced a lot of companies to be flexible in how they operate. Workplaces have become entirely remote, gone back to the office, or are taking a hybrid approach. Your company’s situation may not be what you’re used to, but by being adaptable, you demonstrate that you can perform well under pressure and can still achieve successful outcomes. Adaptability is not only applied to where you work, but also how you work. Workplace procedures, plans, schedules, and priorities can change, so you need to know how to come up with alternative solutions to any changes that arise.

One way to demonstrate adaptability when you first begin your new position is by expressing an openness to learning new technologies and tasks. This will show your boss that you’re always looking for opportunities to grow and are flexible for when changes in the workplace occur.

3. Teamwork

In any role, you’ll need to work with others, and teamwork is one of the most important soft skills that employers look for in employees. A lot of company success comes from everyone using their individual skills and talents to work towards a common goal with a successful outcome. Good collaboration skills will allow you to integrate well into any team, help the team succeed, and generate positive workplace relationships.

An easy way to show you have good teamwork skills is by lending a hand when you see a colleague in need. This doesn’t mean you need to take on big projects right away, but if you can help them with a simple task, that will free up more of their time to tackle the bigger tasks. In turn, your colleagues are sure to have your back when you need it.

4. Problem-Solving

Nothing ever goes perfectly 100% of the time. When something goes wrong, you need to be able to demonstrate quick thinking and take action. You’ll have to draw on your experience, knowledge, creativity, and collaboration with others to solve issues as they arise. This is a skill that employers value greatly as it means they can rely on you if something goes awry.

You can demonstrate great problem-solving skills by brainstorming solutions to an issue before bringing it to your boss. This will show initiative, drive, and perseverance in the face of challenges. And who knows — your creative solutions may even discover a new, better way of doing a task!

5. Confidence

One skill that employers value in their new hires is confidence. You were hired because you were the best candidate for the position, so you need to believe in yourself and the skills you possess. Being confident provides a sense of intelligence, capability, and reliability that would be harder to prove if you’re timid. Don’t let imposter syndrome take over — fake your confidence until you make it (lots of confident people are faking it!).

You can easily exude confidence by how you present yourself. You can act confident by speaking clearly, initiating conversations, asking for feedback, being curious, and asking questions. But remember — asking questions doesn’t contradict confidence. Instead, it shows that you wish to grow with the company and are willing to put yourself out there. These actions will help present yourself as a confident person who your boss can trust.

There you have it! These are the top soft skills that you should demonstrate within the first couple weeks of your job if you want to impress your boss. However, if you’re not ready to show off these skills in the office yet, try some of these activities on the weekend to build your soft skills and be ready for Monday morning: learn a new language, join a sports team, participate in game/trivia nights with friends, cooking/baking, karaoke, or escape rooms.

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