Coworker making an office presentation

8 steps to identify and develop soft skills

What are soft skills?

Soft skills are abilities and attributes that make a person more dynamic and effective in working with others. They revolve around personal relationships, character, and mindset.

By nurturing these non-technical skills you boost your work performance, build stronger relationships and increase your chances of landing the best employment opportunities in Kenya. Soft skills, also referred to as transferable skills or employability skills align with every industry at every professional level.

Employers typically look for positively all-rounded individuals who not only get the job done but also fit the company culture. Here are several ways to start developing your soft skills for success in the workplace.

Start with why- understand your goals

Familiarize yourself with the concept of soft skills and what they mean for your career trajectory. At different points in your education or career, you’ve experienced working with different people who have diverse personalities and are from different cultures and backgrounds.

If you experienced miscommunication, for example, you can focus your efforts on being direct instead of elaborate while maintaining positive body language and practising active listening. By identifying your growth areas and setting goals to improve you can successfully land the best employment opportunities in Kenya.

Develop a learning mindset

Practice is the best way to acquire soft skills and demonstrate them effectively. On your journey of enhancing any soft skills, you may encounter setbacks but also many successes too. 

It is important to carve out opportunities for improvement. For example, if you failed to address conflict effectively, you can figure out how to handle it better and learn how to mitigate future occurrences. Every day is a learning curve and a chance to be better or do better at something.

Self-reflect on your strengths and weaknesses

Being self-aware is the key to truly harnessing your best abilities and being conscious of your weaknesses. When seeking the best employment opportunities in Kenya, understanding self not only builds confidence but also gives one perspective on how to succeed as an individual and professional.

Plan & Prioritize what skills to develop

Once you have identified what skills are needed for your success, you can begin addressing your skills gap starting with the most prominent. If you’re working for a particular company or have certain career aspirations, consider targeting those skills that align with the culture and competencies of the job.

Practice intelligently

The key to mastery of intrinsic attributes is practising intelligently. If you wish to improve your written communication you have to be willing to develop your writing skills by joining a writing workshop, taking up an online professional course or directly asking your supervisor for training opportunities.

The best employment opportunities in Kenya present opportunities to practice and grow interpersonal skills. This is why acquiring soft skills is unique and requires a proactive approach to finding avenues and resources for learning.

Be open-minded and patient

Developing soft skills essentially requires a change in habit and mindset. You can’t gain experience overnight. You have to maintain steady progress while being proactive, patient and resourceful.

The workplace is constantly evolving with technological advancements and a diversifying work culture which can be challenging to anyone. Learning how to be calm, positive and adaptable is an attractive asset to most employers.

Leverage feedback 

Improving your soft skills also means being open to feedback you may receive from your supervisors, managers and coworkers. Constructive criticism is a very effective feedback mechanism that informs how you communicate and interact with others while demonstrating ingenuity in the workplace. Feedback will help you keep track of your progress and develop your problem areas.

Update your resume

Soft skills play an important role in your CV or resume writing when you want to land the best employment opportunities in Kenya. You may find that you possess many of the required traits even if you don’t match the exact job profile. Always keep your resume updated to reflect the soft skills most relevant to the jobs you’re applying for.

Pro Tip:

  • Research your prospective employer’s company culture and values. 
  • Carefully read the job description and find out what transferable skills are needed. 
  • Highlight the particular skills and qualities your employer is looking for.

In closing, working on yourself should be an exciting adventure therefore, seek to always learn and develop skills that help you grow personally and professionally.