Inspiring Success

A blog from Creating IT Futures

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May 15, 2017

The importance soft skills play in successfully reaching your goals

By Tom Liszka

Nikki RiemersmaTo date, we have highlighted these Faces of Workforce Development:
  1. Opening doors to unforeseen career paths.
  2. Building confidence through workforce development.
  3. Motivating factors in workforce development.
  4. Workforce development helps complete the career mission.
  5. The role of continuing education in workforce development programs.
Through the first five weeks of the #FacesOf showcase, we have selected individuals who have passed through our IT-Ready training program. IT-Ready not only focuses on the “hard” technical skills, but on the “soft” employability skills that employers are looking for in job candidates. Promotions and pay raises of an upwardly mobile IT career often depend on these soft professional skills. PrepareU – a series of interactive, classroom-based, soft-skills lessons and labs – is helping tech workers like Nikki Riemersma advance in an IT career.

“The public holds some stereotypical views of ‘techies’, like social awkwardness for example. That’s something I hear frequently. I want to work to break that stereotype and ensure that end-users and other employees feel comfortable approaching me and my team with confidence and comfort.

“Prior to PrepareU, I was happily working at H.B. Fuller Company, but I was looking for new projects, new opportunities and increased job responsibility. I not only wanted to strengthen my skills for professional growth, but I also wanted to strengthen my team.

“During PrepareU, I learned new skills relating to Emotional Intelligence, which is the capability of individuals to recognize their own and other people’s emotions and to use emotional information to guide behavior. I also learned more about the different styles people use to communicate. We discussed communication styles, stress and conflict management, navigating organizational structure, and working with managers. These skills will be extremely beneficial as I make positive and upward strides in my career.

“I can truly say I am excited for the direction that my career is going and that I love what I do. My five-year goal is to lead a strong team of individuals with a wide range of talents and skills that synergistically work together. I strive to be a leader who colleagues can approach, who ensures each team member feels appreciated, and who promotes growth and opportunity. This has been a vision of mine for a few years now, but PrepareU helped remind me of the importance soft skills play in successfully reaching my plan.”

Since completing PrepareU, Riemersma has taken on additional projects and roles in her capacity at H.B. Fuller Company, and is transitioning into an extended IT purchasing role with increased focus in project and asset management. She credits PrepareU for helping her advance her career.

Next week, we’ll introduce you to a gentleman who no longer dreads the end of the weekend thanks to a career in IT that he thoroughly enjoys.