Employers seek for candidates that possess a combination of soft and hard skills. Hard skills are the ones that are job-specific and can be proved and measured, and everyone knows to include them in their application. But, if hard skills include your training and education and everything related to performing the job, what are soft skills and why do you need them?
Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills
Hard skills are built and gained through training, education and certification. It is what you include in your application in addition to the certificates and degrees. In most job descriptions, these skills are specifically required. For example, those who apply to work as IT professionals are required something like, let’s say, computer programming certificate or degree.
On the other hand, there are people skills which are essential for performing the job and even keeping it in the first place. These skills are called soft skills are much harder to evaluate, measure or define. Still, they are extremely necessary for the work of any employee, since they include listening, communication, empathy etc.
Defining Soft Skills
Soft skills are traits, personal attributes, communication abilities, social cues that are inherent etc. These are the skills that characterize the interaction of a person in a relationship or when faced with other people.
Unlike the hard skills that are taught and learned, these skills are linked to the emotion and experience, and there is rarely a training where you can attain them. They are taught with life experience as opposed to hard skills, which are taught in a traditional classroom setting. Ergo, they are much harder to measure or prove, since you don’t really have a degree or training for them.
There is a huge number of soft skills and which ones you need depends on the job you want to work. Such skills include communication, attitude, creative thinking, decision making, work ethic, time management, teamwork, positivity, motivation, networking, problem solving, flexibility, conflict resolution, and critical thinking.
Why You Need Soft Skills
It’s not all that hard to understand why an employer is specific about his needs of hard skills. That’s what they need to get the job done so naturally, it is the first thing they include in a job requirement or description. However, soft skills remain the key to success of the employee after he is hired. The truth is, you might land an interview and get the job thanks to your hard skills, but you can hardly keep it without the soft skills.
Almost every job demands a combination of most skills we listed above. At your job position, you will be asked to engage with other people, work in a team, and make decisions at complicated times. Basically, the soft skills you possess are transferable skills, meaning that you can use most of them at any job you are working. This is an advantage soft skills have over hard skills, since in choosing your hard skills from the skill set, you need to choose the job-specific ones only.
Compared to hard skills that can be acquired during a training program or a class, soft skills are acquired over time and taught on daily basis. You learn to communicate better by watching others and actually communicating with them, something which can hardly be taught in class or training.
Soft Skills You Need for Your Career
To give you some ideas as to what soft skills you need to possess for any career you are pursuing, we made a list of the most required soft skills in the market:
You will need both verbal and written communication skills for most job positions, especially ones where you work with customers on daily basis, or have to work with a team to reach a final goal. Even if your job doesn’t include much of this, good communication skills affects the way people see and perceive you, and these people include your boss.
You might be great at what you do and your hard skills can often yield great results for you. However, more often than you think, you will need to work with others for best results. Success is much easier and more probable if people work together toward a common goal. Ergo, you need teamwork skills.
Whichever job you choose, you need to be adaptable. Times will come when you need to find a solution, an alternate step to take or path to choose.
4. Problem-solving and Critical Thinking
These skills come combined with the previous one. To be able to adapt to any situation, you must also possess critical thinking and problem solving skills.
If you understand what soft skills are all about, it becomes quite obvious why this set of skills is paramount for your success in a workplace. Now that you know what needs to be done to land and keep a job, you can use this information to get ahead in the job market.