Soft Skills in the Workplace

Darlene Jackson, Creative Industry Liason was interviewed about the importance of soft skills in the workplace. Here’s what she shared!

What’s the one key soft skill for an interviewee to have?

Excellent communication abilities – both verbal and written – are an in-demand soft skill for an interviewee to possess. In employer polls, such as the ones given by NACE, this is listed as a top-five skill in any given poll year and highly desired in potential employees. It is the cornerstone of all interactions, be they consumer/customer-facing or internal, such as collaborating with other team members on projects. Conscious application of grammar, proofreading, and editing in all aspects of communication, from writing to presenting to just conversing, is essential.

Do leaders need soft skills? Why?

Soft skills such as critical thinking, conflict resolution, or problem-solving can make a leader with these professional talents more effective. A great leader with a wealth of soft skills can model behavior for their employees or cohorts through displaying their mastery of soft skills. Knowing how to delegate, instruct, and motivate are leadership skills that are also soft skills.

Are soft skills icing on the cake or are they fundamental to a candidate’s success in their role?

Candidates will be most successful when they can implement a combination of their hard technical or learned skills and soft skills in the workplace. A team is only as strong as its members’ applicable talents, so soft skills are fundamental. When everyone works together, utilizing their expertise and unique soft skills, efficiency and productivity will increase, leading to success for the candidate and the team.

Anything else to say on this topic?

Whether we call them soft skills or transferable skills, they are imperative for creating a well-rounded organization that organically uplifts each individual, identifies, and values their unique contributions. While one member might be a great networker, another might be a great negotiator. Someone may be a terrific researcher, while their teammate will be an excellent presenter. Collectively, their soft skills will complement one another and make a consistent and balanced unit that achieves results efficiently.

DARLENE JACKSON, MS is a Creative Industry Liaison with the Career Center of Columbia College. Her specialties are in Communication/Media and the arts of Theatre, Dance, Audio/Radio, Music & Fashion where she brings over 20 years of experience to her role. Jackson holds a Master’s Degree in Health Communication from Northwestern University and as a Creative Industry Liaison advises students, works with outside groups, and designs and curates career/industry programs with a DEI emphasis and focus. Also known as DJ Lady D (, she is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, a voting member of NARAS (The Grammys), and the first woman to DJ on Perry’s stage at Lollapalooza. As a host, producer, writer, and researcher, Jackson has worked with various media outlets including the Chicago Tribune, URB, Discoid, Chicago Public Media, NPR, and BBC radio. You can currently hear Jackson deejaying on the radio monthly on 91.1 FM-Chicago.