In today’s job market, technical, job-specific skills are invaluable. But sometimes, it’s the mastery of more general soft skills that make all the difference. A recent Robert Half survey polled 2,500 Chief Information Officers around the country about the soft skills that they look for the most when hiring or promoting employees. While the survey was specifically designed for IT professionals, the soft skills identified are universal and increasingly important.
One piece of invaluable advice: ask questions. Being curious and asking questions helps you learn and, combined with your work ethic, enables you to come up with solutions to in-depth problems. Twenty-six percent of surveyed CIOs said your problem-solving skills are vitally important to career advancement. Outstanding problem-solving skills also increase your reputation within your company as a go-getter who isn’t afraid to take the initiative.
Communication – including written, interpersonal and face-to-face – is a skill that can be used in all facets of your professional life. According to the survey, 25 percent of CIOs think your communication skills are most important for those looking to advance their careers. Being mindful of others’ time when communicating either electronically or in-person will benefit you in the long run. As others start to recognize that you are reaching out with substantive questions instead of trivial matters, they’ll be more likely to send you a timely and thorough answer.
Your drive and work ethic aren’t qualities that can be measured, but they are incredibly important to setting you up for a lifetime of professional success. Eighteen percent of the surveyed CIOs responded that they believe that your drive and work ethic are what make you stand out the most when being considered for a promotion.
Utilize your problem-solving skills and curiosity to dive into the ins-and-outs of your most recent assignment and you’ll be able to deliver a more creative, polished and thorough final project. According to the survey, 14 percent of CIOs say creative thinking is a necessary skill for employees to master. It’s easy to come up with an easy solution to a problem or assignment, but it’s the employees that think creatively and take things to the next level who have the best chance to impress senior-level management.
Looking to spark your inner creative spirit? Click here for some inspirational quotes.