The Number One Most Important Soft Skill in The Workplace

If you’re on the hunt for a new job, you may notice a handful of “soft skills” alongside specific technical skills listed in a job description. These soft skills, including work ethic, interpersonal skills and accountability, can be just as important to an employer as the technical requirements of the job.

We talked to our FastForward Career Coaches from across Virginia and there was one particular soft skill that was universally desired by employers: good communication.

Good communication goes beyond being able to have a face-to-face conversation with someone. It’s about how well you interact in person and online, as well as how well you speak, write and listen.

“Verbal and written communications skills, as well as listening skills, are important for understanding tasks, completing work and connecting with your work teams,” says Pam Taylor of Southside Virginia Community College. “These skills are also vital for networking and professional growth.”

Going beyond the communication skills needed to get the job done, having strong interpersonal communication skills shows an employer that you’re able to get along in a team environment.

“Having employees that are capable of communicating effectively to both internal and external customers shows they are professional,” says Renee Michelle Chalmers from Central Virginia Community College. Alejandra Diaz-Rangel from Tidewater Community College also echoes the sentiment and says that collaboration with supervisors, colleagues and community members helps demonstrate communication strengths.

How can you work on your soft skills, particularly communication? Practice makes perfect. Step out of your comfort zone and attend job fairs in your community. Don’t just breeze through picking up brochures and handouts. Talk to the employers staffing and booths and put your skills to work.

Ready to make a change in your work life? Our FastForward Career Coaches are here to help…contact one at your local community college.