By Ryan Velez
When it comes to career success, many people get hung up on the core skills for completing a job, generally, what are called hard skills. These generally center around technology as it becomes essential for more and more jobs. However, Black Enterprise shares some information from the World Economic Forum about soft skills. You won’t see these in most job descriptions, but being able to perform some of these skills will make you a better employee and help you get further in your career. They are as follows:
• Critical thinking and problem-solving
• Ability to collaborate and to lead
• Initiative and entrepreneurialism
• Superior verbal skills
• Ability to access and analyze information
• Curiosity and imagination
Written by Tony Wagner, co-director of Harvard’s Change Leadership Group, The Global Achievement Gap argues that even the best schools aren’t teaching students what they’ll need to survive the rapidly evolving world of work, hence the “achievement gap.”
“This [gap] has been exacerbated by two colliding trends: first, the global shift from an industrial economy to a knowledge economy; and second, the way in which today’s schoolchildren—brought up with the internet—are motivated to learn,” WEF says.
But exactly how do some of these skills translate into career success? Here are a few examples from the Forum:
When it comes to critical thinking and problem solving, “Companies need to be able to continuously improve products, processes, and services in order to compete. And to do this they need workers to have critical thinking skills and to be able to ask the right questions to get to the bottom of a problem,” they explain.
Communication? “Recruits’ fuzzy thinking and inability to articulate their thoughts were common complaints that Wagner came across from business leaders when researching his book. This isn’t so much about young people’s ability to use grammar and punctuation correctly, or to spell, but how to communicate clearly verbally, in writing or while presenting. “If you have great ideas but you can’t communicate them, then you’re lost,” Wagner says.”
Adaptability also plays out in many important ways. “The ability to adapt and pick up new skills quickly is vital for success: Workers must be able to use a range of tools to solve a problem. This is also known as “learnability,” a sought-after skill among job candidates.”