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The Top Hard & Soft Skills You Need To Master To Improve Your Career

As a rule, people plan their future depending on their needs, ambitions and opportunities. Therefore, there is nothing surprising in the fact that most people want to improve their career prospects. It is likely that those who don’t regard their current company as a temporary place before switching to a new, more promising job.

In order to improve your career, a proper self-assessment of one’s skills and business traits is required. Subsequently, you need to be aware of your own strengths, weaknesses and shortcomings. If you are planning to make a career change, it’s important to know what you have to offer prospective employers and which skills are transferrable to other industries, in case you are looking to transition into another field.

Job skills can be divided into hard and soft skills, with some being job specific and others being adaptable to pretty much every profession. Here is a rundown of hard and soft skills and which skills you need to master in each area.

What are hard and soft skills?

What are hard skills? Hard skills are professional competencies that can be taught and quantified. In order to acquire them, you need knowledge and instructions and later on, the quality of your learning outcome can be checked with the help of an exam.

Here are some examples of hard skills:

  • Google Analytics & Google Adwords
  • Adobe PhotoShop
  • Accounting/payroll
  • Knowledge of a foreign language

What are soft skills? Soft skills are competencies that cannot be quantified. Sometimes they are called personal qualities, because they depend on the temperament of an individual and are acquired with experience. Here are some soft skills to list on resume:

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Creativity
  • Punctuality

You can master hard skills in various educational institutions (schools, universities, by taking additional courses). Usually there are certain levels of complexity. For example, the stages of learning English are elementary, pre-intermediate, intermediate, upper-intermediate, etc. To reach a new level, you must pass an exam. Unlike hard skills, there are no easy step-by-step instructions for mastering soft competences: a person either possesses some qualities from birth (e.g., friendliness, calm nature) or acquires them with experience (for example, the ability to work on a team, leadership qualities). Soft skills are mastered more slowly than hard ones.

Top 5 soft skills to master

  1. Creative thinking

The ability to see the most ordinary things through a creative prism is among the most appreciated soft skills in the workplace where workers are encouraged to be creative. Try to look at the tasks assigned to you from a different angle. Brainstorming is often ineffective precisely because all of its participants are thinking about working in the usual context. To master creative thinking, you should relax and turn the problem that you have to solve upside down. Discard all rules and regulations. Try to change your current situation, environment, way of thinking.

  1. Responsibility

If no one on your team has this advantage, hurry to get it first. When a large number of equally interested people are working on a project, they quickly lose interest and initiative. A task, led by one person, has a better chance of success. Self-reliance, initiative and a sense of responsibility are those qualities that contribute to a rapid development of your career.

  1. Desire to learn

After a certain period of time, any job becomes monotonous, which leads to boredom in the person who performs it and, in the end, laziness. They lose the desire to learn something new and improve their competences. They are completely satisfied with their life and do not develop further.

If you really want to constantly move forward, avoid getting into this rut. Do not lose motivation. Always be ready to learn new things. It is impossible to guess exactly what competences, knowledge and abilities will help you move up the career ladder but you should be open to the unknown. Treat your work positively. A person who constantly learns and is interested in the world around them has all the chances to step up their career.

  1. Attention to detail

This one is among the most valuable soft skills. If you love your job, it will not be difficult for you to become a person who understands all its nuances. Awareness of all the smallest details is a sign of a true professional that will give you confidence and determination. Your opinion will become authoritative even for the most inveterate debaters.

  1. Willingness to help

The help that you will render to your colleagues is definitely a good thing career wise. The main thing is that you should be ready to help others and not be too proud to ask for help when you need it yourself.

Top 5 hard skills to master

  1. Computing

It does not matter what your daily job is, computer knowledge is always the skill that all employers look for and appreciate. The more you enhance your knowledge about computers, the more chances you will get of landing that job you have been dreaming about. Speaking of computers, you may want to check out this link and learn how cloud computing is revalorizing education.

  1. Data management

Every company has a lot of data it constantly works with. Often, in jobs, you will be required to go through various information, which means that you will need to find what you need promptly and extract the main points from it. In addition, it will beneficial for you if you can summarize your search results, create reports and present them to your superiors.

  1. Scheduling and efficiency

Other important hard skills to master are scheduling and efficiency. Efficiency means figuring out how to deliver your tasks effectively, what tools to use and how to manage your time. It’s a key hard competence, even if you’re not a project manager.

  1. Research

Research is something that you will always need when your job will require you to get acquainted with a new industry, extract some important information or making an outline, as to where you need to start your research. Research skills are also important for students to have and many people often pick up this skill while in college or university, as they research for things like term papers, although some end up looking for help to do the assignment online and lose out on this valuable hard skill.

  1. Finance

In the finance world, there is a number of hard competences that you can master. These include financial planning, budgeting, cash flow management etc. It does not mean that you will need to master all of them but being able to work with numbers is a valuable asset.

Thinking of hiring a career coach to help you develop your hard and soft skills? Browse our directory of career coaches and get a FREE consultation or request a personalized coach recommendation!

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About the Author Bryan Davis

Bryan Davis is a 27-year-old writer who has been published in many renowned magazines and journals and who also works for EduBirdie. In addition, Bryan works as a career coach helping dozens of people get the job they deserve.

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