5 Ways to Boost Your on the Job Soft Skills

September 25th, 2015

Your on-the-job skills can often be sorted into two categories. One category contains the specific skill set you need to carry out the tasks in this job – skills like coding, data entry, inserting an IV, or operating a forklift. The other category contains skills you need to carry out any job well – skills like communication, organization, and time management.

The skills in the second category are called “soft skills.” Soft skills are your ticket into a position with a new employer. They’re also a great way to position yourself for a promotion with your current employer. Because they’re transferable and essential for success in any position, they’re also skills you can develop right now – without waiting to find a new job or a new title.

Here are five ways to start working on your soft skills today:

  1. Choose the skills to develop based on your goals. Review your most recent performance evaluation. It may contain specific tips for soft skills to focus on, such as communication or teamwork. If your evaluation recommends working on job-specific skills, think about which soft skills are related to that ability. For instance, if your manager wants you to get better at driving the forklift, ask yourself why you currently find it difficult. Is it a lack of confidence? Do you have trouble maneuvering through the space? Have you just not practiced enough? Self-confidence, and perseverance are all soft skills you can work on to improve job-specific skills.
  2. Motivate yourself. “I’ll do this when I have time” often translates to “I’ll do it never.” Instead, make a list of 3 to 5 reasons you MUST develop these skills. Are you tired of not getting credit for your hard work? Have you been skipped over for a promotion you were sure you deserved? Write down the reasons you intend to work on these skills. Make them essential for your career.
  3. Share your results. Schedule time to talk to your supervisor about your goal and the soft skills you intend to develop to help you reach it. Be open to feedback on actions you can take to reach those goals and other soft skills you may need. Talk to friends and family as well. These people can help you focus and make progress.
  4. Volunteer for work that exercises your target skills. If you want to get better at communication, volunteer to mentor a new team member or lead a project. To improve teamwork and people skills, join group projects. When your manager knows which skills you want to improve, he or she can help guide you toward appropriate projects as well.
  5. Focus on yourself. You can’t change other people’s behavior or motivation, but you can change your own. Take advantage of every opportunity to practice patience, perseverance, and understanding the motivations of your co-workers and boss. Your soft skills in self-awareness, communication, and strategic thinking will improve, which will allow you to reach your goals in other areas.

Want to improve your current job skills or seek a new position in the Midland, Texas area? 1st Staffing can help. Contact us today or peruse our jobs board to learn more.

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