Whether you believe soft skills can be learned or that you're just born with certain characteristics, employers are hiring for them more than ever in 2020. After all, technical skills don't amount to much if you don't have the soft skills to make good use of your training. And all the technology in the world can't replace the human touch that soft skills can bring.
Here are the top soft skills employers will be looking for in 2020.
The only constant in life is change, and the workplace is no different. Managers know many changes will come to their team or department, and they need workers who can adapt to those changes and continue to be effective in their jobs. It's also nice when employees look for the positives when things change rather than grumbling or becoming depressed over the loss of the way it used to be.
2. Effective communication/collaboration/teamwork
Next to handling change well, communicating effectively will have the greatest impact on job performance because nearly all jobs require workers to communicate, collaborate, or work on a team. Knowing how to talk to your manager, co-workers, or those working under you can affect office morale, speed of task completion, and the quality of the team's work more than just about any other soft skill.
3. Cognitive flexibility
This skill involves the ability to quickly shift gears from one concept or set of skills to another. As many of the simple, repetitive jobs are replaced by automation, more flexibility in thinking will be needed to handle the more complex and nuanced tasks that are left.
In the digital age, when we live on our phones, no one has patience for a lecture or a dry presentation of facts. The ability to weave a story is the only way we can keep the attention of our co-workers long enough to impart necessary information and hope they might actually remember it for more than five minutes. Fortunately, this skill can be learned, although some will always be naturally better at it than others.
5. Emotional intelligence
The ability to understand and manage your emotions spills over into just about everything else in the workplace. How you communicate, react to change, and think about work are all impacted by emotional intelligence, along with a host of other things you don't generally think about until you find yourself reacting emotionally to them.
If you want to take advantage of employers hiring for soft skills in your industry, be sure to talk about them during your interview and even list them on LinkedIn with recommendations so that they will be evident to hiring teams.
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