With the arrival of 2021, looking for a job will no doubt continue to be a challenge during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. But beyond the accomplishments and skills you’ve attained in your career, employers will be looking for something a bit different in the coming year: soft skills. These include qualities and traits like emotional intelligence, critical thinking, and leadership, among others.
Take a look at five soft skills employers will be looking for in 2021 — skills that you should already possess or be willing to work on adding to your repertoire.
1. Emotional Intelligence
If you haven’t heard of emotional intelligence or EQ, it’s essentially the ability to understand and manage your emotions. People with higher levels of EQ don’t act on emotion. Instead, they make thoughtful, rational decisions based on facts. Possessing higher levels of EQ means you likely have more innate social skills, self-awareness, empathy, and motivation. A few examples of emotional intelligence include:
- Being able to solve difficult problems
- Not being afraid to be vulnerable and share your feelings
- The ability to shrug off a bad moment and move on
If you don’t know your level of emotional intelligence, you can take any number of online quizzes to find out which qualities best represent you.
2. Critical Thinking
There’s a reason why critical thinking skills are important, as you’ll need them in the workplace once you graduate. And if you’re graduating soon or want to start a new degree program, but aren’t sure what employers are looking for, know that critical thinking skills is one of them. Critical thinking skills promote creativity, improve decision-making skills, and encourage self-reflection. For example, a good critical-thinking restaurant manager would be able to appropriately reassign employee work duties if some employees are overworked because of a lunch rush.
3. Communication & Interpersonal Skills
Communication skills are important for any workplace, and the ability to work within a team is just as important. Communication skills are important to employers because it helps with team building, increases productivity, improves efficiency, and increases innovation. So, embrace improving your communication and interpersonal skills if you want to land the job you want. There are plenty of ways you can improve your communication and interpersonal skills, such as:
- Learning the basics of nonverbal communication
- Becoming an active listener
- Mastering the art of timing
- Learning to over-communicate
Do a little bit of research and start collecting literature on effective communication techniques. Practice the techniques you learn in your daily life until you get the hang of it.
4. A Positive Attitude
Having a positive person in the office or on the team can bring about positive energy to any work environment and create a great work culture for the company, which is good for business. So, find ways to be more positive (before and after you get the job). Remaining positive is a matter of assuming responsibility for your actions, controlling your language, and filling your mind with positivity. That might mean listening to a song that fills you with positivity or reading a chapter of a book that lifts you up and gets you into a positive mindset for the day. Remember that you can set the tone for how your day (and your life) goes with a positive mindset.
5. Leadership Skills
Strong leadership skills are an important asset in any workplace. Having them means employers can delegate and trust that you can handle the responsibilities given to you. That means possessing some of the following skills:
- Active listening
- Team building
The above skills would impress any employer and convince them that you have what it takes to be successful in a leadership role in their company.
Getting the Skills You Need
If you don’t possess or are a bit rusty with these above skills, consider further developing these soft skills via online associate degree programs. Some popular associate degree programs you might consider include business, health information technology, and information technology and networking. Through programs like these, you can develop a more well-rounded skillset in your area of interest and be better prepared to pursue your goals.
Strengthening Your Soft Skills
Now that you have an idea about what soft skills employers will be looking for in 2021, you can start improving in the areas where you fall short. Figure out what path truly interests you and start putting in the work to realize your career aspirations through the attainment and use of the most sought-after soft skills.