Regardless of your career, there are certain skills that your industry deems necessary to achieve success. Your resume likely reflects both soft and hard skills — hard skills relating to technical and knowledge-based requirements, and soft skills relating to your personality, like organization and leadership — and while all of these are important to be successful in your field, certain skills are important to every industry.
Below are some of the most important skills you should master to be successful in your career.
The ability to effectively communicate is huge. No matter what your role, you probably have someone you need to talk through your ideas with, relate to, or generally inform. Communication involves writing, speaking, and listening, and all are important to your success.
This doesn’t mean you have to be an incredible public speaker and novelist to master communication — it will look different for everybody, of course — but you should be able to steadily articulate yourself in these various forms so that your audience, no matter who they are, can understand you. Additionally, you must be able to actively listen, meaning you should be mentally and physically engaged with the person you’re speaking with.
Teamwork is a huge part of success. Your ability to work well with others is incredibly important, and at times, humbling. Working well with others means you realize you don’t have all the answers and you need the support of the highly skilled individuals around you. You likely have specialized skills that a teammate won’t have, and vice versa. Working together allows for projects to get completed faster and likely will result in a more impressive deliverable.
Belief in Yourself
Belief is massively essential to your professional achievements. If you don’t believe that you can do something, no one else will, either. When you believe in yourself and your capabilities, you recognize your ability to accomplish goals and you are optimistic that you can achieve things that may not already be in your skill set.
Those that don’t have faith in themselves allow obstacles to deter them from completing a task, but those that believe in themselves and their dreams break down inevitable barriers in order to reach their goals.
Success requires initiative because it means you have the will to work hard. Initiative is the ability to take charge and be resourceful rather than waiting for instruction. Showing initiative demonstrates that you can think for yourself, which makes you an asset to any company.
We all know those people that notice a problem but leave it for someone else to deal with, and you likely know someone who is always on top of the situation and actively seeking ways to help out. It’s pretty obvious which type you should be. 😉
Taking initiative is the first step to problem solving, but a problem solver also displays other competencies, like logic, creativity, and determination.
Being a problem solver means that you tackle situations using a solutions-oriented approach by focusing on how to fix a problem rather than asking why it occurred in the first place. Additionally, problem solvers tend to look for a way forward, no matter what difficulties they might come across, which is a highly desirable trait in the workforce.
Willingness to Learn
It’s safe to say that all industries are affected by the advent of new technologies and the emergence of new business practices, which means you too will be impacted. For this reason, you should be constantly willing to learn as you go.
There’s always more to learn — regardless of how long you’ve been in an industry — and the more willing you are to learn new things, the more doors will open for you career-wise. That can come in the form of learning a new skill outside of your profession, becoming more tech-savvy, or seeking a mentor to help you close any gaps in your current role.
Staying organized increases your productivity, reduces your stress level, and keeps you accountable. There are hundreds of different tools to help you stay organized, so pick what works best for you. If you like having everything written down, get a nice planner to help keep your tasks orderly. If you enjoy using technology, try an app that tracks your to-do’s or a project management software. Even doing little things like clearing your waste bin on your computer or organizing your Google Drive can influence your output.
As previously stated, no industry is unaffected by societal change. That means you need to be able to roll with the punches in times of uncertainty.
Throughout the progression of the current pandemic, companies have had to drastically pivot operations, and employees have had to adjust. Many employees are still working from home, some have taken pay cuts, and many have lost their jobs. The ability to bounce back amid all of these scenarios and say “I can do this” is what makes you stand out.
Exhibiting self-awareness means that you’re in tune with those around you. You are conscious and considerate of others, and you realize how your actions affect other people. Those who are self-aware can “read the room,” understand the tone of a group or an individual, and respond appropriately to such individuals. Self-aware folk are also able to relate to others, maintain confidence even when admitting mistakes, and reflect and course-correct when needed.
Being self-aware doesn’t mean you let people control your feelings, though; rather, it gives you full control over your own actions so that you can build on your areas of strength as well as identify where you may need to make improvements.
Critical thinking is another problem-solving technique that is invaluable in the workplace. Critical thinking is the intentional way you approach circumstances in general, and often requires objectivity and reason. According to Forbes, “More than half of companies say that new employees aren’t sufficiently trained in effective forms of critical thinking”. That means that if you can learn to think critically, you’ll automatically have a leg up on your competition.
And critical thinking isn’t only important in your professional life. One study published by Elsevier claims that critical thinking skills are more predictive of making positive life decisions than raw intelligence. For instance, those who exhibited critical thinking skills were drastically less likely to have large amounts of credit card debt than those who did not.
At IAW, we strive to support women in all their endeavors, including professional development. Check out this blog for a summary of our Star12 training solutions, which focuses on helping women build and improve their professional skills.
By no means is this list exhaustive, but these are all incredibly important traits that shape your working habits individually and within a team. Possessing and developing these traits will set you up for success and help you achieve your desired outcomes. What character traits do you think are most important to success? Leave a comment below!