2 min read

How To Master Soft Skills in Australian Workplaces

by Heidi Anderson

31/10/2023

Overview

While there's naturally a big focus on education and getting technical skills under your belt when you're leaving school, soft skills also need to be developed. Here we look at what they are, why they're important and how Wandr can help you to acquire them.

So, you're heading towards the point where leaving school is becoming a reality. Up until now, you've had your head in your books as you work hard to gain those essential qualifications. However, as important as this is, there are other areas you need to think about.

What we're referring to are soft skills. What are they? Well, we'll get to that in a moment, but when you realise that 96% of employers see them as just as important as technical skills (also known as 'hard' skills or job skills), it's evident that developing them is crucial. Jobseekers often overlook them, but they can represent a valuable asset in the competitive job landscape.

In this blog, we look at what skills are, why they're vital to your career progression and how Wandr can help you develop yours to become a powerful weapon in your job-seeking arsenal!

So, What Are Soft Skills Exactly?

Soft skills are those hidden abilities that people only show once you've gotten to know them better. They relate to how you carry yourself and interact with others. Even if you know your technical skills - how to do your job - your soft skills will play a big part in how far you progress in your career, and being non-job-specific, they're transferable to any industry.

When you can develop your soft skills to a good level, your career can benefit. You see, whether you're applying for a job or going for a promotion, you'll probably find that everyone you're up against has similar hard skills, and it's the soft skills that can make you shine.

So, let's look at some of the primary soft skills employers look for…

Communication Skills

One of the most important soft skills you can have is good communication, as it relates to every interaction you have with those you work with. Communication can be verbal (talking), electronic (emails), public (making a speech/presentation) or even body language.

Believe it or not, while how you speak matters a lot, it only makes up 7% of how you communicate. The other 93% is non-verbal and is made up of things like:

  • Fidgeting (biting nails, shifting in your seat, etc)
  • Facial expressions
  • Hand gestures
  • Tone of voice
  • Body posture

How to improve your communication skills - with a focus in your mind on the importance of communication skills, there are a few things you can do to improve them.

  1. Actively listen - Pay close attention to what's being said by those around you. It helps you better understand the conversations you have and provide good answers.
  2. Be clear and concise - Keep your words to a minimum - i.e. don't over-explain - and you'll make things clearer for others.
  3. Practice, practice, practice - As with any skill, it can be built upon by repetition, so be sure to practice what you're going to say before interviews and meetings.

Problem-Solving Skills

Newsflash! Not everything during your working life is going to go as planned. Whether it's a particularly difficult task or a job that needs to get done that needs you to think 'outside of the box', your problem-solving skills will be put to the test at some point.

A couple of instances in which these abilities will be needed include:

  • Technical problems - Think about those times when the WiFi at home dropped out or your laptop wouldn't turn on. Were you able to get it going again? The same things happen at work, and being able to fault-find in this way makes you more productive.
  • Team disagreements - There may be occasions when there are disagreements within teams you work in where people don't see eye to eye. Conflict resolution is a form of problem-solving that gets these issues resolved quickly.

How to improve your problem-solving skills - By taking a methodical approach, you can improve your ability to solve problems that others can't. Here are a few techniques.

  1. Break down problems into smaller pieces - Try being analytical and break problems into smaller, more manageable parts. It makes finding solutions easier.
  2. Collaborate with others - By working with others, you add extra viewpoints, perspectives and wisdom to the equation - which again might provide clues for a solution.

Emotional Intelligence

Another valuable soft skill for the workplace is emotional intelligence. It’s a term that means being aware of your own emotions, as well as those of other people. More and more employers in Australia are seeing it as an essential skill that they look for when recruiting people.

A scenario at school when you may have used emotional intelligence could go something like this:

One of your classmates seems more withdrawn than normal and not cracking jokes like they usually do. Rather than pointing it out to others in your group, you pick a quiet moment during break time to ask them if they're okay, and they tell you they're just feeling a bit tired.

They feel better for you asking and appreciate your concern. A positive outcome happens because of your ability to read how someone else is feeling.

How to improve your emotional intelligence - Being in control of your emotions and able to understand how others feel can be developed in a few easy ways.

  1. Self-reflect regularly - Take a moment from time to time to think about how you're feeling, why and what you can do to help yourself feel more balanced - but in a measured way.
  2. Put yourself in others' shoes - Try and imagine going through what others may be having to cope with, as it will help develop your empathy skills that can help improve the relationships you have with people. 
  3. Ask for honest feedback - Ask for honest feedback from your mates about your interpersonal skills, and be willing to take constructive criticism and make any required adjustments.

Develop Your Soft Skills & Find Your Way With Wandr

These are just 3 of the most important soft skills, and there are so many more that can influence your ability to succeed in the work place. You’ve also got critical thinking, time management, leadership, negotiation, decision-making, teamwork, self-motivation, resilience, persuasiveness, patience, assertiveness, resourcefulness integrity and more.

They're all soft skills integrated into the 1000s of courses available across a diverse range of sectors on the Wandr platform. As well as teaching you valuable, marketable skills that will serve you well during your professional life, you'll also gain understanding and guidance on how to develop these abilities in yourself.

Skillin' It!, Kickstarter!, Trial Run & Essentials Courses Cover Countless Industries

Wandr offers 1000s of courses for you to try out that cover a broad spectrum of industry-aligned topics. They can help you get to grips with various roles in various industries while also helping you develop your core soft skills, as we've covered today.

Among the many sectors covered by Wandr training, you'll find…

  • Business, Management & Entrepreneurship
  • Graphic & Interior Design
  • Game Design & FX
  • Fitness & Nutrition
  • Cyber, AI & Tech
  • Photography
  • Beauty

This is just a fraction of the wide range of sectors you'll be able to find out more about on your journey to finding your ideal career. Letting you get a feel of what life is like in each industry, you'll get the help you need to choose the right career path for your future.

Get the Career Direction You Need With Wandr Training

Leaving school can be confusing and scary, particularly if you don't know what career you want to train for. The good news is that the Wandr platform is designed to give you all the information you need to formulate a plan and get the career direction you need.

Our career coaching will help you decide your vocational path, giving you access to interactive, video-led career content that covers 1000s of topics. We also offer 1-to-1 career coaching from experts from each industry, whom you can hit up whenever you need to.

To learn more about Wandr and what it can do for you, visit us today at www.wandr.au, where you'll find everything you need to know. Alternatively, you can get in touch by calling 1300 611 404 or emailing support@wandr.au today, and we'll do everything we can to help you find a job you'll thrive in.

Download a FREE Wandr Guide today.

by Heidi Anderson

31/10/2023

Overview

While there's naturally a big focus on education and getting technical skills under your belt when you're leaving school, soft skills also need to be developed. Here we look at what they are, why they're important and how Wandr can help you to acquire them.

Career Coach

Heidi

Anderson

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