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Gain a Completive Edge as a Self-Storage Employee By Enhancing Your Soft Skills

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While we all have a number of hard skills that help us gain employment and be great at our jobs, we shouldn’t discount our soft skills. Learn why they’re important and how improving yours can help you become a more valuable self-storage employee.

When writing a résumé, most of us add our previous employment, certifications, education or specific training, and the hard skills we’ve acquired during our career. This might include proficiency in a particular software, marketing and social media acumen, accounting, or a familiarity with specific technology. These skills are then discussed during the initial interview. Essentially, it’s a way for us to tell a prospective employer what we’ll bring to the job should they hire us.

But as an employee, we’re so much more than just our education and training. We’re human—and we all come with varied backgrounds and gifts. So, while those bullet points are important to demonstrating our ability to excel in a job, it’s not really the whole picture. We also need to tell potential employers about our soft skills. These are our character traits and interpersonal skills that demonstrate who we are rather than just what we know. Having both hard and soft skills—a hybrid—can help you become a top candidate for hire and a valuable employee.

We’re all aware how much the workplace, including in the self-storage industry, has evolved in the past few years. New technology, changing consumer preferences, the pandemic, a renewed sense of work-life balance and a host of other factors are altering the way workers view their job and what they believe they can offer to an employer. Hard skills are still necessary, but your soft skills are important, too.

So, what are some of the soft skills you need to excel as a self-storage operator? There are many to consider such as critical thinking, flexibility, problem-solving and project management. Communication is, of course, a big one. You should be able to effectively communicate with your tenants and sales prospects, but also your coworkers and supervisor. This means written and verbally. Have you ever created an “FYI” note for a coworker about a problem with a tenant? Do you clearly tell your boss anything they need to know about the property or just think “they’ll figure it out.”

Your job isn’t just to clock in, do the work and then punch out. You have an obligation to your team members to clue them in when there’s something they need to know. This goes for the big stuff as well as the small items that might not seem overly important. If you struggle in this area, there are a zillion resources that can help you become a better communicator. It’s absolutely a skill we should all be constantly trying to improve.

A valuable soft skill every self-storage operator must also master is customer service. You’re in a retail-oriented business. You’re selling and managing a product—self-storage. As we all know, dealing with customers can be problematic sometimes, especially as we grapple with all that’s happening right now. Being able to expertly handle these situations is imperative. Can you keep your cool when an angry tenant is yelling at you? Even as storage facilities employ more technology, customer service still matters greatly.

Because self-storage operators undertake a variety of tasks every day, good time management skills are also necessary. If you can’t organize your time, you can’t be effective at your job. While some people thrive under pressure, most of us dread the panic that besieges us when a deadline is looming. Fortunately, this is a soft skill that you can improve quickly. Setting reminders, establishing a routine, using a planner and learning how to block distractions can help you be more productive.

While mastering hard skills is still important, employees who possess great soft skills are becoming more valuable in the workplace. Becoming proficient in certain areas can help you achieve higher levels of efficiency and productivity at work. Acquiring and practicing great soft skills will also make your job more fulfilling and could lead to career advancement

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