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The One Skill Gig Workers Need. (And It Might Surprise You.)

Jobs in the gig economy encompass a broad range of skills and experiences. Some gig jobs require specialized or technical skills, ranging from being technical savvy to having social media management experience. Others may require a strong set of soft skills. For example, a front desk attendant needs good interpersonal skills and a dog walker should love dogs. While technical skills and experience are important, “soft skills matter when it comes to career advancement.”

 

What are Soft Skills?

TheBalanceCareers.com defines soft skills as “personal attributes, personality traits, inherent social cues and communication abilities needed for success on the job.” Before an interview or your first day on a job, we suggest brushing up on these skills to make a great impression with employers, especially if you’re a gig worker who communicates with customers.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Smile: If you come into contact with people during your gig, don’t forget to flash a genuine smile. It lets people know you’re happy to serve them and may mean a bigger tip if your company allows it.  
  • Listen: Listening is often more important than talking. If your job requires communicating with customers, train yourself to focus on exactly what they’re saying so you can better understand their needs and/or solve their problems.
  • Communicate: If your knees tremble when you have to talk in front of other people then practice at home with friends or family.

So, what kind of soft skills do employers appreciate in a gig worker? Earlier this year we sat down with several of our customers and asked that exact question. You may be surprised to learn how much value is placed on having soft skills.

One customer noted “passion and enthusiasm” as traits they found important in a gig worker. Another mentioned the importance of a “positive personality” and a “can-do” attitude. It’s pretty clear that employers feel more confident hiring someone with a positive personality. Willingness to learn and coachability were also common themes among many of our customers. They all agreed that technical skills can be learned, while soft skills (“common sense,” being a notable one) are things that are almost impossible to teach.

Find out other tips for success when working a gig by checking out part 1 and part 2 of our Advice for Gig Workers, by Gig Workers series.

October 1, 2018 | Catarina Duguay