10 Soft Skills Every Young Professional Must Master

Soft Skills for Young ProfessionalsAccording to NACE, soft skills – those mostly intangible skills that reflect your personality and work ethic – are one of the most important factors in hiring.

So if you want to stand out during your job or internship search, it’s essential to first master and then effectively market certain soft skills, like these ten:

1. Self-Identifying Peak Productivity

The secret to becoming an amazing young professional is knowing when you’re most productive. Are you more productive early in the morning? Or are you more focused after lunch time or even after dinner? Whatever your peak hours of productivity are, use them to your advantage during your internship.

2. Working With a Team

Most of your early career experience will require you to collaborate with others. To excel in this area, focus on expressing your ideas effectively in a group setting – and don’t be afraid to share your opinions and ask questions.

3. Professional Writing

Nearly every professional needs to be able to communicate well in an email and memo, and it starts from day one of your career. Take your time. Double-check everything before you hit send, and thoroughly impress your coworkers and management.

4. Work Ethic

In today’s economy, it is not uncommon for your employer to require you to work beyond 40 hours per week. Whether it’s staying an hour later at work or arriving to the office early in the morning, you’ll need to suck it up and must pitch in when needed.

5. Critical Thinking

There will be numerous opportunities where you’ll be challenged to solve problems and use critical thinking skills. Who knows, you may even find solutions your employer may never have thought of – and solidify your reputation as a contributor in the process.

6. Entrepreneurial Spirit

The ability to be innovative, creative, and take risks is a highly sought-after skill by employers. Even more important, an entrepreneurial spirit typically means you’ll do whatever it takes to get the job done.

7. Self-Discipline

The strongest young professionals are those who are self-motivated and can meet deadlines without being constantly reminded. Show your manager you’re able to juggle multiple projects – and also that you know when to ask for help.

8. Leadership

Across the board, employers view candidates with leadership experience as a strong asset to the organization. This means you’ve demonstrated the ability to learn, improve, and lead others. Your leadership experience will also open more doors during your early career, enabling you to lead new projects.

9. Resilience

There will be times during when you have to push through tedious projects or don’t see the connection between your work and the mission of the organization. late hours. Resilient professionals are those who persevere through these challenges and come out the other side better from the experience.

10. Positive Attitude

A positive attitude and a likable personality will take you very far. There’s no doubt you’ll have good days and bad during your early career; challenges will come just as frequently as recognition for a job well done. Through it all, being able to maintain a positive attitude and being enjoyable to work with will help make you a valuable member of the team.

What are some of your strongest soft skills? How do you market them?


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Heatherhuhman.com!




HeatherAbout the AuthorHeather R. Huhman is a career expert and founder & president of Come Recommended, a career and workplace education and consulting firm specializing in young professionals. Follow her on Twitter.



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  • Monica

    Thanks for the great post! As a millennial, I pride myself on my work ethic, as I see many of my colleagues who are more than willing to spend the day “watching the clock” for quitting time. This often leads to tasks getting pushed back or left incomplete. More people need to consider that every day is an interview, even after you have the job, because the people you work with determine whether you move up or out!

    • ANtg

      People who hire you believed in you, do a great job and exceed expectations! Show support and you will get support. Be inspired by talented, experienced, knowledgeable and experienced people, not insecure. Your attitude at work can make or break your career, people are watching! Recognize your responsibilities, provide support, show appreciation, communicate and get things done. You will have to lead first by examples, rest will all fall in place. Be likeable!

  • David Hunt, PE

    I absolutely agree with this list, and can remember many times when I’ve gone in on a weekend, or stayed late, and so on. My one objection comes when “casual OT” becomes the standard, and 50+ hour weeks are the expected commitment on an ongoing, regular basis.