"I think there is beauty in everything. What 'normal' people perceive as ugly, I can usually see something of beauty in it."—Alexander McQueen

"I think there is beauty in everything. What 'normal' people perceive as ugly, I can usually see something of beauty in it."—Alexander McQueen

Progress concept

Boost Your Career Progress by Practicing These Soft Skills

Information has opened up the job market and made it easier for anyone to find work. But in certain areas, this has raised competition. It might be more difficult than ever to land a specific coveted position or work for a prestigious company.

Thus, when people seek to move forward with their careers, they are more likely to encounter roadblocks. Linear progress is tough when you have to stand out from so many other candidates with the same skills and qualifications. As a result, careers meander. People move laterally and explore other options or learn new skills to build career capital.

When every candidate has the requisite ability, how else can you stand out? Amid the focus on skills and experience to create an advantage, people can lose sight of a potential X-factor. Soft skills and etiquette might not be essential to executing a job, but they make people want to work with you. Here’s how you can capitalize.

Appearance matters

We’re told not to judge other people by the way they look. And people are more vocal than ever about fighting against negative body image and its harmful effects on mental health. The media has been criticized for its excessive focus on unrealistic standards of beauty. The positive representation of a diversity of appearance and body types is now growing.

It’s vital to accept yourself and other people for who they are. Equally important, however, is that you do not misinterpret this as permission to be sloppy with your self-presentation. You might not have a model’s features or physique, but you can control the way you dress and groom yourself.

Caring for your appearance isn’t superficial. Make an effort to continually dress well, even to impress as the occasion demands. It makes interacting with you pleasant for everybody and shows that you acknowledge that other people’s perceptions and feelings matter.

Do your research

Studies suggest that people today are becoming more insular and self-centered than ever. The internet has given us excellent control over the information we receive, while social media tends to heighten and reinforce narcissism. Neither of these things is great for your career improvement.

When you control your information, you tend to focus only on what interests you. We follow people and brands we like, subscribe to feeds, and join discussions on topics we want to know more about. That doesn’t seem to be a problem, right?

Now consider the implications when someone doesn’t research a company before a job interview or begins a new job without knowing anything about the people or culture. Lack of preparation shows a lack of interest. Doing your research always is integral to furthering your career. If you don’t have the appetite for it, you might be in the wrong industry.

Be a great communicator

Every job, no matter how simple, can benefit immensely from better communication. Drywall specialists like Longhill Contracting are mindful of interacting professionally with other trades, such as engineers, electricians, and plumbers, who might have work to do inside those walls. Your career will always involve some form of communication and interaction with others.

And yet the decay of communication skills is another negative side effect of our growing self-centered attitudes. We all need to make a conscious effort to rouse ourselves and improve in this area. Edit and proof-read your emails; think before you speak, and be mindful of the fluid back-and-forth that goes into making pleasant conversation. If you put effort into improving the way you communicate, you’ll make a noticeably better impression on the people you interact with throughout your career.

Learn digital etiquette

Man working onlince

The internet has become fully integrated into our daily lives. Over the last two or three decades, we’ve all had to learn and adjust in the way we use it. But we aren’t always mindful of our online behavior.

Most online interactions take place in a very different environment compared to traditional socializing. We often don’t see or hear the other person. Responses are asynchronous. You could be doing something else while chatting, and such behavior would be considered rude in person, but it’s perfectly acceptable online.

The looseness of online behavior needs to be tightened up in many ways. Otherwise, you could end up saying something to a colleague that you’d never say in person. Digital records can be indefinitely kept. You never know when something you said online will turn up and potentially hurt your image in the eyes of a client or employer.

Take the time to learn proper digital citizenship and etiquette. And while you’re at it, discipline yourself in the use of your devices. Nobody enjoys interacting with someone who’d rather stare at a screen.

Practice these soft skills consistently, and they can be your competitive edge in a crowd of people who share the same professional competencies.

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