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You’ve probably heard about the importance of soft skills in the workplace. But what are they, exactly? In general terms, soft skills are considered non-technical talents you can’t develop by reading a textbook. Job search expert Alison Doyle further describes them as interpersonal skills, listening skills, time-management skills, and emotional intelligence. They’re incredibly valuable, and many employers weigh these with just as much emphasis as technical skills.
That’s why, as you pursue a career in medical coding and billing, you’ll want to make sure you identify, develop, and apply the right soft skills.
Identifying Your Soft Skills
Before you start applying for any number of the nearly 25,000 medical coding jobs posted across the country in the last 12 months, one of the first things you need to do is identify your current strengths and weaknesses.
For example, are you attentive, dependable, reliable, and patient? Or maybe you’re persuasive, supportive, relaxed under pressure, and results-oriented. These are all fantastic qualities, but here’s the thing: some traits might be considered more valuable in specific professions and less so in others.
If you’re serious about pursuing a career in medical coding and billing, you might be tempted to blindly lean on your current strengths and just focus on the technical skills you need to do your job well. But outside of the ability to analyze medical terms and accurately assign diagnostic codes, you’ll find very distinct skills are required.
According to a recent study by the National Healthcare Association—one of CareerStep’s trusted certification partners—the top three most critical soft skills for billing and coding specialists are :
- Critical thinking
Suppose you’ve had experience in the field. In that case, you know these particular skills are severely lacking across the professional landscape—and you probably understand they each require varying levels of time and effort to develop correctly.
But if you put in the work and give each area the attention it deserves, you’ll soon find yourself a few steps ahead of your less knowledgeable, less self-aware peers.
Developing & Applying Your Soft Skills
Armed with the information outlined above, you might have identified a few areas you’d like to focus on. But experts believe professionalism, dependability, and critical thinking can be hard to learn in traditional settings, so to really develop these soft skills, you’ll need to get creative and find opportunities to apply them in real life.
Here’s a few suggestions that don’t require on-the-job experience:
- Observe others.
Keather Snyder with The Omnia Group recommends observing the behaviors of others in professional and social settings—and taking note of what you want to improve.
- Participate in group activities.
Most industry insiders agree that few things teach reliability, dependability, and collaboration like a little healthy competition or sacrifice. Sign up for an indoor soccer league or volunteer at a local shelter.
- Sign up for an online Medical Coding and Billing program.
Few career training programs give learners an opportunity to hone the specific soft skills needed to succeed in various roles. Make sure the coursework outlined by your provider doesn’t neglect these areas.
Become a Top Job Candidate
Identifying, developing, and applying your soft skills is an excellent way to improve your chances of landing a rewarding job in the field of medical coding and billing. And with the online career training provided by CareerStep, you’ll learn how to position yourself as a trusted, reliable professional that understands the importance of empathetic communication and creative problem-solving.
So what are you waiting for? CareerStep is here to help you dive in, harness your strengths, and start working towards a more rewarding career.
Doyle, A. What Are Soft Skills? Definition and Examples of Soft Skills. The Balance. Updated September 26, 2020. Accessed January 14, 2021. https://www.thebalancecareers.com/list-of-soft-skills-2063770
Snyder, K. The 7 Soft Skills You Need to Be Successful. The Omnia Group. March 23, 2020. https://www.omniagroup.com/the-7-soft-skills-you-need-to-be-successful/