Getting That Promotion: Upskilling and Soft Skills

Trinity Richardson

September 24, 2022

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With the U.S. experiencing the worst recession in its history, many people have withdrawn from their jobs. On the flip side, many people have benefited from working from home, feeling more productive than ever. Some have also found it easier to achieve pay raises and promotions while working in an online format. They have achieved pay raises by switching jobs, or by honing their skills for their current position.

There are many perks that come with promotions - a larger salary, more influence, a bigger office - but it often requires a whole other skill set, as well. Being promoted means constantly learning and relearning, especially in a world with so much ever-evolving technology. Forbes reports that "the half-life of a newly learned skill is about five years." So it makes sense that upskilling and reskilling are both essential parts of not only being a valuable employee, but also being promoted.

Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation, and the Stanford Research Center have all conducted research and reported that "85% of job success comes from having well-developed soft and people skills, and only 15% of job success comes from hard skills, or technical skills and knowledge." Upskilling your soft skills is a key element of being a stand-out employee.

Although soft skills can be inherent, they can also be learned. Soft skills can be developed through a multitude of ways - picking certain ones to focus on, mindfully practicing them, and even taking a course. It's important to practice soft skills continually, not only when learning them, as - just like technical skills - they can "weaken if they go unused."

A large part of being a manager is spending time with your employees, which means that it's imperative to develop soft skills. Emotional intelligence, leadership, and interpersonal skills are all requirements when it comes to being promoted. It's essential to develop soft skills to be promoted, as learning how to communicate, manage effectively, and motivate employees make a good manager.

Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.


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