Posted on 04/21/2021


If you had mastered one soft skill to build your career, what soft skill would you choose to master?

When entering the workforce, companies will look for the necessary skills corresponding to the job, but they will also tend to pay close attention to your soft skills. To help you master the soft skills needed to build your career, we asked business leaders and HR experts this question for their best tips. From empathy to communication, there are several soft skills that you can learn to help you build your career.

Here are ten soft skills all professionals should master to build their career: 

  • Listening
  • Empathy
  • Attention to Detail
  • Clearing Strategies 
  • Manage Conflict
  • Financial Analysis
  • Showing How Much You Care
  • Business Storytelling 
  • Communication 
  • Asking Better Questions

Listening

Listening is one soft skill that can help unlock other key skills, such as critical thinking and asking the right questions. Through listening, any employee can increase their knowledge and grow their skill set to become a more valuable asset to an organization. 

Nick Santora, Curricula

Empathy

Empathy is a valuable skill to have at any point in your career. The ability to connect with others to listen, think and imagine how a person may be experiencing the world is a trait of many successful managers and leaders. Developing empathy helps individuals build a bond with coworkers and foster positive relationships with customers and clients.

Andrew Rawson, Traliant

Attention To Detail

While doing appliance repair has plenty of hard skills that come with repairing dishwashers and washer/dryers, it’s really the soft skills that can separate our business from competitors. At the end of the day, an oven repair is an oven repair. But how the oven is repaired requires soft skills like attention to detail and customer empathy. By paying close attention to the details and empathizing with the customer about the why behind the repair, an appliance technician can go from being good at their job to great. 

Alex Belladorsi, Appliance Technician

Clearing Strategies 

We all have things that might be blocking us in life. From overthinking things to simply finding peace within oneself, these blockers make it difficult to accomplish the goals we want from life. If there’s one soft skill to master, it would be the ability to clear and heal those blocks. When you can create clearing strategies and practice personal healing, personal development and achievements can be accomplished in an accelerated fashion. 

Greg Drambour, Sedona Spiritual Retreats

Manage Conflict

While technical skills are important to produce quality products and services, soft skills are important as you grow within your organization as a successful leader. As you advance within your career, your unique ability to manage conflict becomes more and more important. The way you manage conflict as an individual or an organization can affect relationships and brand reputation.

Rronniba Pemberton, Markitors

Financial Analysis

Being able to read through the fine print and understand the impact of terms and conditions can dramatically alter your financial well-being. For example, if a clause in the fine print unexpectedly kicks in, the terms could call for increases in monthly payment or even forfeiture of assets. To reduce future surprises, master the soft skill of patience and the ability to read through the fine print of boring documents that shape your life. 

Grant Ferguson, Unsecured Funding Source

Showing How Much You Care

For starters, the term ‘soft skill’ is very misleading. I’d argue that the set of skills most commonly referred to as ‘soft’ are the most difficult to learn. Active listening, compassion, collaboration, communication, teamwork – these are just a handful of skills that every great individual and team harness to accelerate their performance. That said, if I were forced to choose only one, I would choose empathy. The great Teddy Roosevelt once said, “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”. Whether you are an individual contributor working on a team, or you are the leader of a team, demonstrating your level of care for the people around you is a life skill that will never go out of style.

Brian Mohr, anthym

Business Storytelling

A soft skill that really shines in marketing is the ability to craft a story in order to get your point across. My job is to help those in charge of businesses and HR departments across the US decide what type of HR software, if any, will help them run their business. It can be a hard sell sometimes, especially to people who retain the mindset that HR’s purpose is just to hire, fire, and negotiate with insurance companies. I’m good at showing the numbers and statistics that prove the worth of this software but being able to weave an expertly crafted story would help convince them of the value this software could bring to their company.

Phil Strazzulla, Select Software Reviews

Communication

We all assume we are proficient in communicating, simply because we’ve been doing it our whole life. Unfortunately, I’ve learned the hard way this was not the case, and that communicating well, being aware of words, register, tones, impact, implied messages, etc. is key – especially if you step up to a leadership position. 90% of a leader’s job is communicating, and that is not a skill you may have necessarily trained in your junior years. All of a sudden you’re expected to be communicating at a very high level, and that’s where problems start most of the time. That’s why I’d go with communication: it’s a core skill, it gives you a massive advantage and it makes your life so much easier later on.

Edoardo Binda Zane, EBZ Coaching

Ask Better Questions

Two things happen when you allow others to talk. First, you learn something in the process, even if it’s just a nugget of knowledge about what makes the other person tick. Second, that person feels heard, which makes them feel special and, thus, raises your value in the process. Worry less about making yourself the most important person in the room with your words, and more about making others feel like the most important. Looking for easy ways to get others to talk? Focus on asking questions that start with “what,” “who,” “where,” “when,” “why” and “how,” as these tend to command more than a “yes,” or “no” answer.

Joel Cheesman, Poach