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Career progression: Your next step is only a soft skill away

Posted by Travis O'Rourke, Head of Hays Talent Solutions, Canada on Friday, Jan 20, 2017

Hays Blog Image: Your next IT career move is a soft skill awayDemand for experienced IT professionals, IT professionals shows no sign of slowing down but despite this high demand, employers are not willing to settle for less experience or fewer skills. Technology is increasingly integrated into the business and IT employers are looking for candidates who embody that integration with skills that go beyond just technical requirements.

What do I mean “beyond technical requirements”? I’m referring to soft skills: work ethic, communication skills, commercial understanding, etc. These skills are what will give your career progression the trajectory it needs.

If you are seeking a senior role consider diversifying your experiences and taking time to build and develop your soft skills,  communication skills specifically is a key differentiator in this industry.

Being able to explain technical issues to non-technical professionals is in high demand, and if you can’t talk to internal leaders then you can’t become a leader. You don’t necessarily have to go out and get a communications certification but rather look into joining a public speaking group, find a mentor or seek peer review feedback. There are options for you to grow your soft skills while still keeping up with your Here are some tips to build up your soft skills and leap to the top of the desired hires list.

1. Consider finding a mentor.
Reach out to someone who is in a senior leadership you’d like to be and ask them and what soft skills they find helpful in their day to day responsibilities. Ask for their insights and learn from their experiences.

2. Seek peer review feedback.
You may already have some of the soft skills employers are looking for but they aren’t at the proper level yet be open to hearing constructive criticism from colleagues and managers about areas for improvement.

3. Find opportunities to practice skills.
For example, if you want to become a better communicator consider joining a public speaking group or attending seminars on communication best practices.

Download our free What Employers Want Guide to gain more insights on how you can progress in the IT industry. 

Talk to Travis O'Rourke, Head of Hays Talent Solutions, Canada on the IT and contingent labour market.

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