It has become common to meet a highly skilled professional who is not able to find a job or has become fired from his or her position due to unexpected reasons. This does not mean that it is a firm’s problem. Many designers concentrate on certain skills and neglect others.
In most cases, designers concentrate on technical skills and learning design tools while neglecting other skills such as soft skills and what they should know when applying to a job.
I wanted to start with these skills because many designers avoid learning them while they focus on their training with design applications and work process. These soft skills are not only important in the work environment but also in life in general.
Soft skills refer to the skills that every designer and professional need to learn in order to improve the relationship between her or him and the working environment. These soft skills include but are not limited to the following:
Many people think of presentation skills as the skills required when speaking at events, teaching sessions and client presentations. Presentation skills involve many types of work activities such as presenting your ideas to the client or your boss, presenting your skills in an interview and presenting your work for approval…etc.
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Learning presentation skills can help you avoid common mistakes that may let your idea or proposal fail because of presenting it in a bad way. Meanwhile, presentation skills can help you submitting your work and delivering it to the client in the optimum way that ensures the audience’s approval on the presented materials. You can learn more about presentation skills through the Essentials of Presentation Skills lesson here.
Good command of language is a very essential factor in your success in business and gives you more ability to communicate with your team, boss and clients. The grammar mistakes, typos and weak language gives a bad impression about unprofessional work to your clients, which may lead to losing the deal or the proposed job. However, it is a very important factor to have a good command of the language.
On the other hand, many international business relationships depend on the English language as the main communication language. Also, learning English for foreigners is important to be able to learn more about your industry and opens more opportunities to expand business or get a better job.
Working within a company means that you will communicate with the rest of the company structure and employees. So, you need to learn about your team and learn how to communicate with the rest of the team without getting into any conflict with your colleagues in business. Individuals who struggle to adapt cause delays and lose the company money.
Thus, you should learn how to communicate with your team and company and build a strong relationship between you and the rest of the company’s employees. You can learn more about communication skills tips herehere.
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Teamwork skills are actually a special part of communication skills. When you work in a company, you will mostly work inside a team and you will be required to do your specific part of the job. Therefore, you need to learn how to work side-by-side with the rest of the team throughout the project without causing any conflicts, problems or clutches with other team members.
There is a fine line between negotiating with your client or your boss to finalize a deal or deliver a best solution and useless arguing that may lead to the company wasting time and money. Therefore, you need to know the basics of how to negotiate with your boss and client and how to end this negotiation at the best solution for your company and business, not your own.
Many designers think that the creative process requires a special workflow that every one in the team should follow. While this applies in some companies, you have to be flexible and able to optimize your own workflow with the company routine and structure. On the other hand, you have to be flexible while working in the project and able to change your own routine based on the project requirements.
This is one of the skills that gives you a big advantage in work as your manager can rely on you to do the job as required and on time. This will give you credit to get more tasks and jobs because the company can actually rely on you.
Similar to flexibility, adaptability represents how you can adapt to the company regulations and standards. Many people face a problem in adapting in the new company regulation, these types of employees can cause delay in applying the company’s new policies and structure. So, you need to be adaptable to the future systems… fast.
While the above skills are the most important soft skills that a professional designer should learn to improve his or her career, there are other soft skills that fit well with different professions as mentioned in the below link:
As commonly known, each job vacancy requires specific knowledge or experience including knowledge of specific tools. Design jobs vary in their requirements based on the job discretion and responsibility. For example, web designers need to learn Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, CSS and Dreamweaver. On the other hand, Printing designers need to learn inDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator…etc.
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This is not fixed as some companies may require extra skills such as requiring web designers to know Java Script, Ajax and jQuery. This actually depends on the position and the company structure. While small companies require the designer to do more tasks, bigger companies require more specialized skills.
Based on the above, you have to prepare your experience based on your career and adopt a training plan that gives you more credit to get an acceptance. How to Build a Self-training Plan article helps you with tips on how to improve your technical skills based on a self-training plan.
What do you need to know before applying to a job?
Understanding the job requirements helps you to determine what to add in your cover letter and resume. Most jobs get hundreds of applicants which give the application reviewers’ limited time to read your long cover letter or non-focused resume. Thus, you need to focus on the first part of your cover letter or resume on your experience in the specified job requirements. This helps you to get noticed and gives a better chance of your resume being noticed.
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Also, it is a good idea to collect information about the company if available such as learning about the package they provide, the working environment and other information that can be found on the company website, this gives you a better chance to form your cover letter based on the company’s main focus and industry.
What do you need to have before applying to a job?
While many jobs require a cover letter and resume, design jobs require a portfolio as an important part to visualize your experience through real work examples; this gives you more power and chance to get accepted in the vacancy.
So, in addition to the resume, the designer needs an online portfolio that helps showing his or her work to the company’s representative. If you have a work example that is similar to the company industry or required task, it would be great to focus on it or mention it in the cover letter so the company representative does not have to go through all your profile to find these examples.
Although the above tips do not replace your real experience skills, it helps you to show off your skills to the company in the best form that lets your profile get noticed among a lot of others in the job vacancy. Therefore, you need to apply a training plan that helps you to acquire these skills, either through self-training or a training center.
At the end, I hope you liked this article and find it useful. Please share with us your opinion on the importance of soft skills in getting work.