Technical skills, experience and qualifications are important and impressive things to have when applying for a dream job, but soft skills often get overlooked. The majority of job adverts now specify a list of soft skills the applicant is expected to have – these could be anything from creative thinking to communication and problem solving. Ignoring the importance of developing these skills could cost you your ideal job.
Why do employers value soft skills?
Known as skills linked to the personal and professional relationships you have with others, soft skills are what ultimately make you effective at your job. You may have excellent technical skills or expertise, but if you can’t work as a team or quickly adapt to ever-changing situations, you may find it hard to progress in your chosen career.
Employers are looking for employees who are relatable, reliable and aware of their working environment. They want team players who are adept at problem-solving, and demonstrating that you have these skills at interview is key to gaining that edge over other candidates with similar qualifications and experience to you.
Soft skills, therefore, should never be forgotten about. They can be difficult to develop, but online learning can help.Let’s explore how.
1. Communicate with others
Communication is about a lot more than simply being able to converse with your team or get your point across effectively. Good communicators are also great listeners – the best students are those that pay attention at lectures and respond to feedback, using that information to improve their grades.
At Nottingham Trent University (NTU), our online courses are well-suited to helping you improve your communication skills. We make the online experience as immersive as on campus – video and other interactive elements make it feel like you’re in the classroom. All students are encouraged to get involved in assignments and discussions which will help you boost your communication skills, particularly if English is not your first language.
You can demonstrate your excellent communication skills to your employers in several different ways, including work presentations, group projects and team leadership. Whether you’re looking to start or grow a career in business, construction, or international relations, communication is a soft skill you cannot do without.
2. Adapt to changes rapidly and successfully
Professional and personal circumstances can change all the time. How you adapt to such challenges can make all the difference in your day-to-day life and it’s a vital soft skill to develop. After all, business environments rarely stay the same and in such situations you may find your job role changes slightly too. You need to be ready to take on these changes.
The benefit of an online course is that you can apply your new learning immediately, giving you a huge advantage.
3. Organise your workload
Many of our online students at NTU work and study at the same time, which can appear difficult to manage. Not only do you have to juggle your professional life alongside your learning, you also have a personal life to enjoy!
Participating in one of our online courses means you’ll need to dedicate time to complete weekly reading assignments and coursework. On average, you’ll need to spend 12.5 hours a week on your learning. To help your manage your workload, your modules are broken down into weekly instalments and you’ll receive support from NTU throughout your degree.
Being able to organise your online learning around your personal and professional life won’t just benefit your education; it’s a skill that will come in handy across all industries. Employers want employees who are time efficient and reliable – traits which are directly linked to organisational skills.
4. Find the right motivation
We’re all motivated by different goals and aspirations. Discovering what drives you to achieve greatness is a fantastic way to ensure you’re always willing to work hard, even when you’re busy. We recommend you set yourself up in the right learning environment, create a routine or timetable which works for you, and regularly remind yourself why you started the online course in the first place.
You’ll need a strong work ethic to succeed in your industry and move up the career ladder, so being able to motivate yourself is a fantastic transferable skill to have. Don’t forget, you’ll have plenty of support from your lecturers and peers, too – you’re not undergoing this experience alone!
5. Identify problems and suggest solutions
There isn’t a day that goes by that we aren’t confronted with some sort of problem that must be solved, whether in our personal or professional lives.
However, being adept at problem-solving is about a lot more than just offering up a helpful solution. You must be able to recognise a problem, approach it in the correct manner, identify the possible solutions and implement the most suitable one. It sounds easy, but often there are a lot of different factors to consider. Our Online MA International Relations provides ethical insight into problem-solving and decision-making, for example. Sometimes, there is no simple or easy solution and it can be a struggle to find one which suits all parties.
Being effective at problem-solving doesn’t mean you have to fix the issues you come up against alone, though. You may need a whole team of people to implement the right solution, which is where your communication skills will prove vital.
If you’re looking to evolve your career by boosting your soft skills, and are interested in how our online courses could help, get in touch with NTU today.