Two office employees looking at a laptop


Success in the clerical field requires both hard and soft skills. Hard skills refer to abilities such as keyboard speed, succinct writing, filing, graphic design, and much more. According to Will Kenton (Investopedia),Hard skills are measurable and usually obtained through formal education and training programs.”  

Soft skills have more to do with character traits, communication, and people skills. Examples of soft skills include teamwork, training others, telephone skills, dependability, promptness, time management, and efficiency. 

According to Robert Levasseur (Wikipedia), learning soft skills can be difficult because it requires interaction with others and the willingness to accept feedback. But it is possible to increase your proficiency in soft skills, and when it comes to honing any soft skill, the I’s have it!


The first step in developing or improving a soft skill is to gather information about your current level of ability. To do this:

  1. Inspect. Take some time to review your performance. What soft skills are you proficient in? What needs to be improved? For example, let’s say you struggle with talking on the phone. Are you good at talking to a person but lousy at leaving voice mail? Do you talk too fast or too quietly? Is it hard to think of the right words under pressure?
  2. Ask for input. Ask a colleague or friend to critique your phone skills. Often an objective viewpoint will give you a clear picture of what you need to improve.


Now that you’ve gathered information about the soft skills you need to develop, choose one and state your intention regarding it. Again, be specific about what you want to improve. For example, rather than state, “I will improve my phone skills,” say something like, “I will speak slowly and distinctly,” or, “I will use an upbeat tone.” 


Once you’ve stated your intention, it’s time to implement your plan. There are a couple more I’s that can help you with this:

  1. Imitation. Who do you know that has the skill you want to develop? Ask them for tips. Imitate them until you develop the skill. The end goal is to feel natural performing the skill, so, of course, you’ll personalize your performance as you gain confidence.
  2. Instruction. Search for tutorials on the subject. Consult books, read blogs, watch videos. Enlist a coach and practice before them or send them a practice video and ask for feedback.


After you’ve had an opportunity to “go live” with your new skill, take some time to think about your performance. Evaluate what you did well and how you could improve. Change your plan if needed. For example, maybe you improved your diction when talking on the phone, but you still had too many “um’s.” Plan to work on that next. 


As you manage the details of your clerical job, remember that the goal of improving soft skills is progress, not perfection. For example, if you record audio of yourself to hone your telephone skills, remember you’re not trying to get every word perfect. Instead, you are trying to get used to the dynamics of speaking into a machine so that you’ll be more natural and engaging in your live phone conversations. Being real rather than perfect is vital to soft skill development.

The exciting thing about soft skills is that they are transferrable from one job to another and even from your work to your personal life. So, they are worth your time and effort to develop.

Start a New Clerical Position Today

Ready to transfer your soft skills to a new clerical position? At Career Concepts Staffing Services, we’re committed to helping people find the best-fit professional job openings. Build your skills, advance your career and connect with top employers. Contact us today.


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