English For IT
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English For IT

How to practice your soft skills

Now that you know about soft skills, you’re probably asking yourself this question: how do I actually build and practice soft skills?

This article will give you a few tips and strategies on how to go about it.

1. Learn soft skills side-by-side with hard skills

For every soft skill you learn, there is a set of corresponding hard skills. It’s important to identify and practice them side by side. For example:

The easiest way to develop soft skills this way is to think about not only how to do the work, but also what larger impact it will have. Ask yourself the following questions:

1. What is the goal of this project? What is it trying to accomplish?

2. Do I need to get my team members involved? How can they help? What value can they add?

3. How will the project impact the end-user (customer)? What value will they get out of it?

Asking these questions will broaden your perspective and help you build your hard and soft skills in a complementary, consistent way.

2. Join a community

Soft skills are known as “people skills” for a reason. You need to stay socially engaged in order to really build and maintain your soft skills. How can you do that (especially if you work remotely)?

a) Slack communities

Go ahead and google “slack channels for + your field (developers, designers, project managers, etc.)”. Join a few of them and see which ones best fit your interest and goals.

It’s okay to just lurk for a while and read other people’s messages. After a few days or so, it’s time to start engaging! Answer other people’s questions, offer opinions and tips, etc.

b) Professional platforms (dribble, GitHub, etc.)

These contribute to building your personal brand and are a must for a modern tech professional. Remember that volunteer experience is just as valuable as commercial experience. It can help you broaden your professional network, find jobs, and get recommendations. Most importantly, being active on professional platforms is a great way to ensure that you’re constantly developing your soft skills.

c) Meetup.com

An event platform for career development and personal life.

Tip: if you’re not sure about attending professional events, try a few events based on your personal interests (yoga, cooking, etc.) This will help you learn the ropes of networking in a relaxed environment. You might still be able to meet people you have something in common with career-wise!

3. Connect with influencers

Is there someone you follow on YouTube, Instagram, etc. whose content you really like? Join their community or engage with them directly. Ask a question, suggest a post/video topic, or just thank them for their work. If they don’t reply, don’t get discouraged! The goal is to learn how to deal with all sorts of responses and reactions (or lack of such)!

4. Build your social media presence

Here is your social media starter pack.

a) LinkedIn — complete your profile (make sure you have added a profile picture, an about section, and your work experience) and post at least once a week.

What to post on LinkedIn? Here are some ideas:

1. Overview of events you’ve attended

2. Career milestones and achievements

3. Work-related issues you’re facing

4. Professional lifehacks

5. Day-in-the-life snippets

6.Your musings and thoughts related to career development, your industry, or teamwork (make sure to keep everything professional. For example: posting pictures of you and your dog is not very LinkedIn-friendly but explaining how walking your dog helps you avoid burnout is ok!)

7.Reposts (leverage them by reposting your co-workers’ posts, interesting events, etc)

b) Twitter / Instagram / TikTok — pick one, several, or all three.

What to post?

1. Career tips

2. Code snippets and hacks

3. Something you’ve recently learned

4. A quick story from your experience

5. A problem you want to solve (be careful not to violate your NDA, though!)

Finally, hold yourself accountable.

Now, that you have a strategy for developing your soft skills, you need to commit to it. Go into your calendar and create a separate event for each of these:

  1. Publish content on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok
  2. Look for events to attend
  3. Browse my community channel

Set these as recurring weekly events (15 minutes — 1 hour). Now, you have a reminder to prioritize these activities every week and no excuses not to do so!

Do you want to get more recommendations on how to practice your soft skills, check our English For IT: Communication Course and get a 25% discount.

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English For IT

English For IT

English and soft skills for tech professionals: www.english4it.online