The corporate world is changing like never before as the global crisis continues to have a ripple effect on the U.S. labor market. Contrary to a large number of unemployed professionals reported 18 months ago, the market has rebounded. We are seeing a high demand for top talent—especially in the accounting, finance, audit, tax and technology functions.
Due to this Great Migration, professionals are taking control of their career paths by leveraging a well-rounded skill set that goes beyond the technical components. In fact, the lockdown taught us the importance of the soft skills needed to be adaptable in many aspects of life. From time management to communication to relationship building, showing a potential employer how you stand out from other equally skilled professionals can put you in a favorable position for a new opportunity.
There’s no doubt that when you have a large pool of individuals who can perform tasks at a similar capacity, differentiating factors need to be among them. And as so many can relate, it’s crucial to show resiliency and strengths in areas of importance in today’s society.
Therefore, if you are a working professional considering a change, in transition between projects or passively seeking what jobs are out there, now is an excellent time to reflect on not only your technical skillset but also your strengths within the soft-skill-side-of-things. Keep reading for 4 Soft Skills Every Professional Should Have in Today’s Workplace.
- Time Management
Many accounting and finance roles are deadline-driven, so the concept of time management is essential. If you’re looking to stand out from your peers in this regard, be sure to highlight where you have helped business due to this strength, such as reducing month-end close timing or automating specific tasks. Further, as many individuals are still working remotely, it is good to showcase how you can allocate your time throughout the day for various projects and tasks. Having good time management skills allows an employer to put more trust in you to fulfill your job duties.
- Critical Thinking
The ability to think critically is not something that every professional can facilitate. It usually takes a more strategic and analytical mindset. Being able to demonstrate during an interview or early stages of a role that you are a strong critical thinker can help catapult you into a higher category in an employer’s mind. Often, accounting, finance, audit, tax and technology roles—of varying levels—call for some analysis or problem-solving. Having a solid critical-thinking approach can help find solutions and complete important tasks more successfully.
A sometimes-overlooked soft skill essential to have in today’s work environment is having the ability to communicate effectively in both a written and verbal medium. Accounting reports can be complicated and complex. Therefore, using communication skills to extract key data for managers and executives can significantly increase your value. Additionally, being able to interpret and relay the data is just as important as computing it. The end goal of communication is to get the main points across so the intended audience can understand. It’s also important to avoid using industry-specific ‘jargon’ for similar reasons.
- Relationship Building
Technical positions such as accounting and finance roles are not usually perceived as huge people-focused positions. Since most professionals are working with data sets, forecasts or other budgetary content, you might not see the need to be good at relationship-building. What often is forgotten is that the accounting and finance functions have to interact with the rest of the business in varying capacities— to verify data, report it, or help with strategic decisions. That’s why having the ability to build and nurture relationships with your cross-functional colleagues, managers and leaders will help set you apart from others. Voicing this and showing examples of this during an interview is key.
What are some other soft skills that set you apart from competing candidates in your field? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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