#Ranked: The 5 Most Valuable Soft Skills for Today’s Job Market

Soft skills are defined by employers and professionals as a “cluster of personality traits, social graces, communication, language, personal habits, friendliness, and optimism that characterize relationships with other people.”

But for students, they can more simply be understood as “the things you learn in college that you aren’t graded on.”

While soft skills may not necessarily show up on an exam, a transcript, or even the “skills” section of your resume, that’s not to say they aren’t as important.

Many soft skills, such as the ones listed below, can actually make or break whether or not you get certain positions out of school. Learn them, master them, and start here.

#1 Confidence

The simplest, oldest trait in the book has arguably never held more weight than it does today, with more and more competition flooding every open position. Being confident means acting quickly and deliberately, voicing your opinion even when it may not be popular, and giving off an air of calm the whole way through.

#2 Empathy

increase-confidenceWhen you think about many jobs today, marketing is usually involved in some way. And there is no better trait for salesmen, advertisers, developers, or managers to help them understand their consumer base than empathy. Learn how to truly understand the other side of every story and you’ll thrive not only within your company, but in all your client relations.

#3 Flexibility

Want to work at a tech startup? Well then you better be prepared for anything that gets thrown at you. Companies these days know that skills can be picked up quickly, but employees that fit are a dime a dozen. This means that job descriptions are being expanded to require employees to wear many different hats, take on several roles, and work non-traditional hours. The more you can get comfortable with adapting to a changing environment, the more you’ll be rewarded.

#4 Public speaking

Public speaking becomes important right off the bat in the interview phase. But being able to speak effectively in front of others is a major reason why students excel in their jobs and get looked at by managers as candidates for leadership roles. If public speaking still seems awkward to you, join clubs or groups at your school or in your area so you’re forced to interact in front of others.

#5 Ability to accept criticism

Finally, no matter how great of a fit you may be for a job, it remains that no employee, student, or otherwise has ever been perfect. Never let your accomplishments cloud your humility and always be willing to accept criticism–even welcome it. From your English professor to the CEO of your future office, everyone will tell you that the people they enjoy working with the most are those who are always willing to learn.

HealthyU_Harry (1)Find ACI on Twitter at @ACISpecBenefits or on facebook,Google+, Pinterest, or YouTube. Also feel free to contact ACI Specialty Benefits at (800) 932-0034, or emailinfo@acispecialtybenefits.com

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About ACI Specialty Benefits

ACI Specialty Benefits ranks in the nation’s Top-Ten providers of Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), corporate wellness programs, student assistance, corporate concierge, and work/life services to corporations worldwide. ACI partners with clients to Perk Up employee engagement and performance with benefit programs that improve morale, productivity and the bottom-line. With a 95% customer retention rate and over 7 million lives covered. ACI remains a privately-owned specialty benefits corporation, headquartered in San Diego. For more information, visit www.acispecialtybenefits.com or call 800.932.0034.
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