Today, we’re joined again by guest blogger Dave Nixon for part two of his series on the importance of IT soft skills for consultants. As the Managing Director of our Cincinnati branch, he works with his team to help both clients and candidates make exceptional connections. His years of experience in recruiting and sales allows him to provide invaluable for job seekers and employees at all stages of their careers.
Last week, we discussed what soft skills are and the benefits to having strong soft skills even in the IT sector. In our highly technical world, soft skills are often neglected and much less nurtured as part of a professional development.
Stop and think for a minute: do you know someone who you consider to be great at their job? Chances are, that person has been successful at their jobs from the very beginning of their careers – and not because they knew everything “technically.” Very few, if any, were simply successful because they were great at only the technical aspects…they had the right personality and attitude to achieve something more. They got things done. They attracted people. They got people on their side.
In many aspects, it is actually harder to train attitude and aptitude and is easier to train the technical aspects to our roles. Many soft skills and the comfort we have with them are instilled in us from a very early age, so changing those core characteristics can be difficult…but it can be done!
5 Ways to Improve Your Soft Skills
- Fit In – learn some things to connect with about someone else’s life/role/hobbies/dreams and join in; you may find a new hobby or a new interest…and a new friend.
- Be Fluid – Weave yourself into conversations as your comfort level increases; develop some insights and opinion, and then relate to stories, be empathetic, and genuinely care about others. But empathy must be SHOWN. Not felt.
- Practice – A mirror will show you how you are perceived by others; consider taking a class on public speaking or join a club like Toastmasters, or get involved in Networking Groups (go alone), etc.
- Be Positive – Stay out of negative or drama or “political” situations around the office.
- Push Your Own Boundaries – Put yourself into situations of “uncomfortable tension”; offer yourself up for new opportunities, i.e. do a presentation, chair a committee, get on a panel, etc.
It Starts with You
With some time and energy, you too can improve your soft skills, and yield the benefits that come along with being a “well-rounded” consultant. If you’re looking for the opportunity to show off your skills, both technical and soft, your next opportunity might be waiting in one of our many open positions. Search today.