Which of the following top industries in Baltimore – government, transportation and trade, education and health services or professional and business services – does not need an employee with soft skills?

Hint: According the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), Baltimore employees working in government expanded by 0.3 percent, transportation and trade by 0.9 percent, educational and health services by 2.4 percent and professional and business services by 3.5 percent in the past year.

Ding, ding, ding; that is correct, the response is ‘none of the above.’ Actually, the ability to interact well with others and to think critically – whether as a government employee, a teacher, cashier or ice cream truck driver – are examples of essential soft skills that can enhance both professional and personal growth.

Soft skills are extremely vital to an employee’s on-the-job success and it is no wonder that they are correspondingly highly sought after by many hiring professionals in Baltimore. Often natural, sometimes teachable, yet rarely irrelevant, these character traits can help a person to shine brightly both on and off the job.

The manner in which one smiles, the extra time an employee takes to help a customer solve a problem, a warm gesture to signal for the next person in line; these are all examples of reasons why applicants already possessing such attributes can further the mission of a corporation.

Baltimoreans are purchasing more, as the local consumer price index (CPI) for all urban dwellers increased by 2.2 percent during a 12-month period from June 2013 to June 2014. This is a good omen as the total non-farm employment wages in Baltimore also increased, rising 1.4 percent over the one-year period between March 2013 and March 2014.

Thus, job seekers who discover that now more than ever perfecting soft skills is key may uncover a swifter route up the employment food chain in this ever-changing and welcoming progressive economic climate.

Keisha Oduor is a professional writer and entrepreneur who resides in Baltimore, Maryland. She has a degree in Communications and French from New York University with work experience in publishing, nonprofits, healthcare administration and program management. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.


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