Soft skills help people maintain their positions

Soft skills help people maintain their positions

Brianna Smith, left and Eilee Fletcher are Wooster High School students using communication and teamwork to learn how to save a life using CPR at their Work Study meeting.


Knowing what employers want is key in getting and keeping a job. Not only is it important to have knowledge and/or the technical skills of the place of employment, but also it is extremely important to have the soft skills to maintain the position. Soft skills are personal attributes or abilities that enable workers to do their jobs well.

There are many soft skills; however, let’s focus on the following seven soft skills: communication, listening well and responding appropriately in person, use of technology devices, and social media; creativity, being open-minded and innovative; critical thinking, being a problem-solver; positive attitude, handling constructive criticism and being enthusiastic; professionalism, personal appearance and hygiene as well as being prompt; teamwork, work well with others and being respectful; and work ethic, completing assigned tasks.

Can you think of examples of times or scenarios you demonstrated these seven soft skills? In an interview situation these soft skills should be mentioned to the interviewer as a strength or areas where you are working toward your personal best. Hopefully you have had experiences that have enabled you to develop these soft skills. If you have never had a paid position, then you will need to think about ways you have improved your soft skills as a student, a family member and/or a citizen of the community.

It is never too late to develop soft skills. There are many ideas, self-help books and opportunities in the area you live to work on these desired work traits. You can always go to the local library and check out the resources that are offered in the area of soft skills or even look up ways to develop a particular skill area of interest. Definitely consider volunteering or getting involved with a new community organization. Set goals to take up a new hobby or learn something new on a regular basis. Embrace opportunities for personal and social growth.

Which soft skills are your strengths? Can you think of other soft skills you have that will help you to be a great employee? Are you courteous, dependable, flexible, friendly, honest and motivated? If you can answer yes to these attributes, you definitely have added to your personal soft skill portfolio.

Self-awareness is really important in the process of developing your soft skills. If you are not sure whether or not you are on the right track in the development of a certain soft skill, do not be afraid to ask for help or get professional advice on how you can improve or develop a soft skill. Keep working on building your soft skills, and it will be easier to get and maintain your current and/or future jobs.

Lisa Lang is the Norwayne/Smithville/Wooster High School work study coordinator. She helps high school students with special needs get jobs in and out of the schools. Students earn elective credit based on the number of hours they work and also valuable employability skills. Contact Lang at or 330-345-4000 ext. 3117.

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