Every individual has their own set of personal skills which make them valuable employees. Some are skilled at active listening, while those in management positions typically possess high-quality assertiveness skills.
While everyone has some level of soft skills, it is also true that taking time to improve such skills makes one a strong employee and a better team player.
In fact, this type of skill is so important to a modern workplace, that hiring managers across the country are starting to favor candidates with personal skills over more technically trained candidates.
In this article, we will review a few strategies you can use to bring out your professional skills and outline the benefits of focusing on soft skills.
What Are Personal Skills? – Definition
People typically associate the word ‘skills’ with hard skills, like coding or foreign language skills, which can be easily measured and taught to candidates. Personal skills are quite different in that they cannot be easily quantified.
These skills, also commonly referred to as soft skills, are traits or behavior sets which make an employee valuable to a company. For instance, consider the importance of company culture.
Employers often speak on the value of a positive mindset, empathy, and organization as key values of a company. Those with soft skills are able to embody these values, maintain a good work ethic, inspire others, and stay passionate.
These skills greatly impact a company’s success, so employees with such skills are often prioritized in the hiring process.
Positive outcomes associated with personal skills include a better attitude, stricter deadline adherence, increased reliability, and successful task completion, just to name a few.
Increased motivation and passion are also side effects of having strong non-technical skills.
Why Are Personal Skills Important?
Personal skills are crucial to both the employer and the employee.
They make workplace stress more bearable, increase an employee’s ambition and motivation, boost productivity, build strong time management skills, and increase the quality of employee interactions.
Below are a few other reasons these skills are so valuable:
List of 15 Benefits of Personal Skills
- Increased confidence and self-esteem.
- Decreased stress levels.
- Boost in creativity.
- More goal setting and achievement.
- Boost productivity.
- Improved focus and stamina.
- More motivation.
- Greater resilience.
- Higher quality employee and consumer interactions.
- Develop more meaningful relationships.
- Inspire an entire team.
- Become a more dependable employee.
- Better work/life balance.
- Improved analytical skills and adaptability.
- Gain self-awareness.
15 Types of Personal Skills
There are a plethora of different skill sub-types within the general term “personal skill.” Most of these skills are useful in any field, but every career path has a particular list of skills that should be given special attention.
A few of these essential skills include:
1. Communication. Many different interactions make up the umbrella of communication skills. This ranges from digital speech to in-person meetings and presentations.
Regardless, being a strong communicator is key to almost any profession dealing with people. Communication includes not just speaking effectively, but also active listening and maintaining appropriate body language.
2. Interpersonal. The lesser-known cousin of communication skills, interpersonal skills involve building quality relationships with those around you.
While you may not see yourself as a people person, people skills are crucial to succeeding in many fields. Rely on this skill set when networking or speaking to groups.
3. Leadership. Leadership skills are necessary for all management positions, whether you’re CEO or regional director.
Good leaders know how to utilize charisma and confidence to their advantage. They take responsibility and think about their team’s needs when making any decision.
4. Problem-solving. Employers enjoy having independent and analytical employees on their teams. Those who are able to quickly tackle issues, adapt, learn from mistakes, and recognize challenges are often the most successful in their careers.
Good problem-solving may require hard skills, but collaboration is often key to overcoming challenges.
5. Time management. This skill involves tasks such as planning, prioritizing, sacrificing, and organization. Two simple ways to show you have strong time management skills are through consistently meeting deadlines and arriving to work on time.
Over the long run, your dependability will get noticed and you’ll likely see more independence and opportunities over time.
6. Adaptability. Work is full of unknowns, and many employers now look for candidates who are able to quickly adapt to any change the team throws at them.
You’ll need to perform tasks outside of your comfort zone to prove you can be a flexible employee. Try to learn about new strategies, technologies, and consumers as quickly as possible as well.
7. Critical thinking. Strong analytical abilities are associated with critical and out-of-the-box thinking. This trait allows employees to work quickly and think of the best ways to approach difficult problems.
Critical and creative thinking is important for maintaining a company advantage in a competitive market, for it drives innovation at startups and businesses.
8. Organization. Organizational skills are just as much mental as they are physical. This includes being able to manage your time, prioritize tasks, and schedule activities in the most efficient manner possible.
9. Creativity. Companies do not want to be limited by conventional thinking. In fact, taking the conventional approach often ends up being costly and time-consuming.
Creative thought can help teams develop new and innovative approaches that help them tackle problems and create products more efficiently. Challenge standard notions and offer unique ideas to become a better creative thinker.
10. Teamwork. Unless you work alone, you are bound to have to deal with other team members. Ensuring you work effectively and diligently is at the heart of collaboration, and it contributes to both individual and group success.
Quality collaboration entails active listening, strength/weakness identification, and understanding your role in your team.
11. Detail orientation. Even small missteps can potentially set back business weeks and thousands of dollars. Strong attention to detail will help you stop and solve problems before they greatly impact your success.
Showing you are detail-oriented starts while you are job hunting. Ensure you submit a mistake-free cover letter and stay clear of any formatting errors in your job application or during presentations.
12. Responsibility. Show you are responsible by starting your workday off correctly: arrive on time!
However, reliability is more than just proper attendance: ensure you do your best to help other team members in times of need.
13. Motivation. Bosses do not enjoy micromanagement, but employees must prove they can take initiatives independently before they start to enjoy certain privileges.
Start by setting goals and putting in the effort to achieve them. Productivity is often boosted as a result of self-motivation, which employers will likely notice.
14. Work ethic. Realize that effort in and of itself is valuable. Do not look for monetary rewards to work to the best of your ability; have integrity and work hard even when no one is watching.
Start taking pride in your output and gain some passion. It’ll help you develop a better attitude and work ethic.
15. Professional attitude. Professional people are mature, responsible, and have integrity. They are honest and admit their own flaws or mistakes, while also understanding their strengths.
Professionals understand social cues, and when a more laid-back attitude is/isn’t acceptable. You can count on professional employees to work hard even without a reward.
How to Identify Your Personal Skills?
Now that you know the value of establishing strong personal skills, you may be curious about how to actually identify and develop them. Start by looking at your history.
Notice which qualities and soft skills contributed to your past successes. Your resume is a good place to acquire some knowledge on the specific non-technical skills you may possess.
Think about which skills helped you overcome tough challenges at your prior jobs as well. Consider looking at the skills employers in your industry value. Often, many job postings include soft skills hiring managers would like to see in potential candidates.
See if any of the skills the employers mention align with your own skillset. Be honest with yourself, though. Not everyone will have all the skills necessary to succeed in a given industry, so use this strategy as a form of inspiration, not as a definitive list of your unique skills.
It never hurts to ask trusted coworkers, bosses, or friends about their interpretation of your skills. It is challenging to view oneself accurately, so outside input can be very helpful. Ask them to give a truthful evaluation of your professional skills and evaluate their response.
How to Improve Your Personal Skills?
Everyone, no matter how skilled they are, can improve their own interpersonal skills. One tip to begin your skill improvement journey is to start practicing empathy.
This is a skill that can assist you in developing many other soft skills, and it simply involves trying to understand someone else’s perspective. Give others time to voice their opinions and actively engage in conversations.
Maintain a positive outlook on life. While there will inevitably be imperfections in your personal relationships and career, there will surely be a success as well.
Stay motivated and productive by focusing on giving gratitude for what you have instead of envying others or mulling over your missteps. Be positive in your interactions with others, too.
Complimenting your coworkers can make collaboration more natural and leads to a more harmonious workplace. Do your best to embody your company’s values and take any advice from colleagues or managers, as this will also make you seem engaged and interested.
Finally, try not to let emotions get in the way of critical thinking. Take a deep breath when you are frustrated or upset, or consider leaving the room if a conversation gets extremely heated. Remaining calm and collected is key to appearing professional and positive.
How to Showcase Your Personal Skills on a Resume?
Ensure your interview responses and cover letter are tailored to the specific job you are applying for. Find out what a specific company looks for in a candidate.
Ask yourself about which particular personal skills will be most advantageous to your career. Remember, employers, ask about soft skills to understand your ability to work with others and work efficiently.
You’ll want to have prior work examples showing you possess the personal skills mentioned in your resume and cover letter. Saying you are a critical thinker isn’t good enough at an interview. You have to prove it with a real-life example. It is especially useful if you have data to back up your claims.
Choose which skills you wish to highlight before entering the interview room. View the job description and company website to get an insight into the best skills you can put an emphasis on.
Pay close attention to the company values especially. However, do not brag about your skills or go on tangents about a particular ability.
Instead, try to bring up these skills naturally and discretely by focusing on telling stories that showcase your abilities instead of listing skills.
Personal Skills vs Interpersonal Skills
Interpersonal and personal skills are similar in many ways. While the two terms are often used interchangeably, they do possess a few subtle differences.
Personal skills are skills that improve one’s own ability to perform and increase an individual’s success rates. They are focused on ensuring the person with the skill is able to tackle challenges and perform tasks to the best of his/her own ability.
This includes critical thinking, efficiency, and creativity to name a few traits. On the other hand, interpersonal skills are more oriented toward group success and thriving.
They are the skills that increase an individual’s ability to work well with, positively influence, and communicate with others.
Some interpersonal skills are leadership skills, empathy, active listening, and collaboration skills.
Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Skills
What are Key Personal Skills?
The most important personal skills vary from career to career. However, the following skills are generally advantageous to most employees: creativity, critical thinking, effective communication, teamwork, problem-solving, motivation, responsibility, leadership, and organization.
What are the 5 Personal Qualities or Skills?
There are a plethora of personal skills that you can work to acquire. The five most popular and crucial skills are organizational skills, analytical skills, motivation, communication skills, and collaboration/teamwork.
Overall Conclusion Of Personal Skills
Nowadays, people skills are just as valuable as technical knowledge or educational experience when it comes to being a top employee.
Developing even just a few extra people skills can boost your company’s revenue, provide you with more opportunities and/or independence, help build quality relationships, improve your outlook on life, and strengthen the passion you have for your work.
Adding a new skill to your resume takes time, so be sure to research which are most valuable to your specific career path. However, many soft skills are useful across nearly all industries.
Consider investing time into simply building empathy or staying positive. Even small steps count when it comes to gaining personal skills in action.