In competitive employment landscapes such as Singapore’s, there are two ways to guarantee your employability – be cheaper than the competition, or be more valuable with soft skills.
While it’s easier to be cheaper by asking for less, what we all definitely want is to be more valuable – after all, those essential morning Starbucks Frappes are pricey!
So, how do you keep yourself absolutely needed in the office?
Here are 5 soft skills that we believe will have any employer begging you to stay for the long term.
This may be one of the most important soft skills to develop, as confidence (or lack thereof) will determine the quality of everything else you do.
Confidence will allow you to lead projects with more authority, represent your company professionally when speaking to clients, and be more willing to share suggestions during meetings.
#2 Time Management
Are you consistently just a little late arriving at the office, for meetings, or when it comes to submitting your work? Are you also constantly overwhelmed as stacks of paper get piled up on your desk? (While emails get virtually piled up in your inbox?)
Outstanding employees have superb time management skills. This is because they understand that being “on time” isn’t just about being “on time”. It’s about being reliable, trustworthy, and someone your bosses can rely on to put their company in good light – no matter what the task, assignment, or request is.
Employees are expected to do their jobs well – that means completing tasks that are assigned to them. So if you’re expecting a promotion after “going a good job” at work, don’t be surprised when your boss passes you up for a colleague.
The key to standing out, is being proactive. This means getting your job done, then proactively finding ways to get it done better. Once you’ve implemented a few systems (even if they’re simple ones) to increase efficiency or cut costs in your department or company, you’ll be worth a lot more than what you initially were hired for – and you’ll be a lot more costly to replace! (Which is why your bosses will try their best to keep you around.)
#4 Teamwork / Conflict Resolution
One of the biggest reasons why capable teams fail, is because of team members who don’t act as a team. That’s why employees who are excellent team members are incredibly valuable.
This means more than simply working well with the people around you. It also means that if you’re the glue that ties the team together (either because of your professionalism, or magnetic personality), your company will always want to have you around – to keep everyone in the team happy and working effectively.
If you would like to be truly indispensable, learn to lead. Don’t worry, you don’t have to transform into the CEO, or even your boss, overnight. Take any small opportunities that come your way, and practice leadership there.
This can mean simply leading your department’s “monthly tea break committee” during its next meeting, or proactively inviting new colleagues to join you on lunch breaks. Grab every opportunity you have to practice your leadership skills, so you’ll have what it takes when you’re eventually called to lead a project or team!
As Singapore progresses into a knowledge economy, soft skills are increasingly eclipsing academic results (especially in the private sector).
So make an effort to hone your 5 skills, and you’ll soon be irreplaceable in the workplace!
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