Unemployment is a serious problem in most African countries. In fact, it is the reason why many African youths are braving deadly sea and desert routes to reach Europe. However, without the right career skills, you will only be changing your location without necessarily improving your chance of getting employed. There are two types of career skills: hard skills and soft skills. Young African youths that want to escape unemployment need both—albeit not equally.
Thanks to technological evolution, employment opportunities are emerging daily. The right career skills will not only allow you to grab one of these emerging opportunities but also improve your earning. Young Africans may easily assume that one hard or soft skill is better than the other. However, they are equally important. At African Vibes, we are passionate about creating opportunities for African youths—and this post is born out of that passion.
Difference between Hard Skills and Soft Skills
You can learn hard skills in a school or online or through books. They are often called technical abilities and are measurable. It is also possible to learn hard skills on the job which is usually the case these days. Good examples of hard skills that are suitable for the digital economy are coding and network configuration. Including in your resume the hard skills that match the type of job you are applying for can boost your chances of landing the job.
Soft skills, on the other hand, are abilities that can boost your performance in any type of job. They are not measurable. However, they make you more attractive to a potential employer. Good examples of soft skills are communication, leadership, creative thinking, problem-solving, and so on. For this piece, the 10 career skills we will talk about will be soft skills.
The 10 Career Skills that can make all the Difference
The demand for soft skills has been growing since 1980. LinkedIn also conducted another study that suggests about 57% of employers place more value on soft skills than hard skills. There are over 30 soft skills that you can have. However, here are the 10 that are priceless. Having these soft career skills will greatly improve your chance of landing a dream job.
It is not surprising that every website that talks about soft career skills have communication at the top. The success of every job depends on effective communication. You have to be able to clearly pass your thoughts to the next person to be able to collaborate with them. When you can express the when, what, who, why, and how of a project, employers will be in a queue for you. Communication can be verbal or written. There are many ways you can boost your communication skills including writing reports, voracious reading, making oral presentations, joining a club.
Every organization usually has ample staff with different specialties. It is the combination of the different roles that lead to the success of the company. Therefore, for work to move smoothly, it is paramount that everyone gets along. Everyone in the company need not be your friend, but you need to get along. A friendly and lively office culture hinges on this and related soft career skills. Effective collaboration can also strengthen the quality of the product. Some of the ways you can develop into a team player include volunteering, joining a sport or gym, lend a hand to a colleague in need.
To be a leader you need to be confident. However, leadership also means you should have a clear vision. It is only when you have a clear vision that you can set the pace for your co-workers. Every organization needs a leader and if you have the qualities, employers will want to have you. This is because every organization is looking for future bosses that will grow to effectively take over the running of the company. Leadership is not about controlling people, rather, inspiring them. Working as an internship supervisor will expose you to the intricacies of managing people.
#4. Time Management
Time management is one of the career skills that is handy both in the workplace and in everyday life. In fact, a 2018 study by LinkedIn shows that one of the top 5 soft skills in most demand was time management. Being able to manage time often means being more organized and productive. Having this trait will greatly improve your hireability. Time management skills include prioritizing, delegation, multitasking, scheduling, and so on. Delegation is one of the best ways of managing your time. Learn how to delegate.
#5. Problem Solving
Things will never go as you plan all the time. However, when the unexpected happens, it’s either you take action or you complain. We know complaining doesn’t solve problems. When companies are ready to hire, they are looking for people that will help them solve problems. Being a problem solver is a conscious effort. When we hear about a problem, our natural inclinations is usually to complain. However, you can stand out by sitting back to think about the possible solutions.
Every work environment is always prone to uncertainties. However, being an effective problem solver requires flexibility. Things can change rapidly in a workplace particularly with technological evolution. Employers need workers that can change with the rapid industrial shift. Make a conscious effort to learn new technologies rather than groan about them. Offer to teach others about your new knowledge. Consequently, you will become better at it.
#7. Critical Thinking/Observation
Critical thinking is one of the career skills that allow you to interpret data in a way that everyone can understand. It can also help you to discover emerging patterns which your company can leverage to grow its profit. This is why companies are always looking for critical thinkers. Gaining critical thinking skills starts with observation. Look at issues and think outside the box. Look for reoccurring patterns and try to fix the dots.
Most employers love someone they can trust to do the job without having to supervise them all the time. They want employees that can stick to deadlines. All these boils down to self-management. The best way you can develop your self-management skills is by having a time-table and diligently obeying it. When you declutter, it can save you the precious time you would have used in searching for one thing or another.
Believe it or not, there will always come a time when that initial fire in you about that dream job burns out. That can also be the beginning of the decline of your performance unless you are self-motivated. This is one of the career skills that help you to stay relevant in any job. How can you improve your self-motivation? Setting small goals can go a long way. When you accomplish one goal it burst you with motivation to go into the next and so on.
Sounds easy right? However, it will interest you to know that listening is one of the priceless career skills. Good listeners tend to make a better judgment because they get more information concerning every matter. Other skills like critical thinking, teamwork, communication, conflict management, and leadership will depend on how good a listener you are. Listening is a conscious effort. Just when you feel the need to speak, hold your lips and listen more.
If you possess these skills, you shouldn’t be unemployed in 202. These soft career skills are in high demand. However, you need to learn how to include these skills in your resume to steal the admiration of potential employers. Here is one article we found interesting. Hope you enjoyed reading. If there are skills you think we failed to mention, please tell us about them in the comment box.