Soft Skills for Workplace Success

Developed by the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP),"Soft Skills for Workplace Success," is a curriculum that focuses on preparing youth, including those with disabilities, for readiness in the workplace. The foundation of the "soft skills" curriculum concentrates on the intangibles of work, including communication, enthusiasm and attitude, teamwork, networking, problem solving and critical thinking, and professionalism.

We take a look at the skills the ODEP concentrates on in its curriculum, and outline why they are important to job development.

Communication – Communicating effectively is critical to job success. This enables employees to understand instructions, improve conversations between themselves and managers as well as customers, all of which ultimately correlates to doing a better job. Building strong communications skills is important to a good working environment, from being able to do your work to the ability to relay your particular workplace needs or accommodations during an interview.

Enthusiasm & Attitude – Another intangible to job success is one’s overall mindset during an interview or on the job. Approaching your job search or your work with a positive attitude, regardless of limitations, is a strategy that will propel you toward success. Being enthusiastic and displaying a positive attitude is a mindset that can mean the difference between getting a job - or not.

Teamwork – Teamwork is a central part of work-life, and its importance to workplace dynamics cannot be overlooked. Each individual has a critical role in their team and the success of the company as a whole. Learning the essentials of teamwork, including how your behavior impacts others is vital.

Networking – Networking is one of the most relevant aspects of career planning, whether seeking work or looking to advance your career. Networking takes many forms, including informational interviewing, using social networks, to joining or attending events and seminars. If you do not have a networking plan in place, now is the time to begin.

Problem Solving & Critical Thinking – There will be countless instances during the span of your work life where problem solving and critical thinking are necessary. Regardless of the field you work in, learning to problem solve is important, and learning how to make ethical decisions and take action while making considerations for others, is part of critical thinking skills.

Professionalism – Professionalism is the one skill that everyone understands; however, is defined in a variety of ways by all. Being professional – or not – can impact whether you are taken seriously by your boss and how well you do your job. Being prepared, finishing tasks, showing up for work on time, dressing and conducting yourself well and treating others with respect are all skills that fall into the professionalism "bucket."

For more information on the ODEP’s Soft Skills for Workplace Success curriculum, Visit here.