Whether you are looking for your next job, first job or promotion at the current job, understanding and highlighting your soft skills will give you an edge over others. Recruiters look for candidates with certain job-specific skills but they equally value candidates that are expert communicators, excellent leaders, and great problem solvers.
In other words, simply educating ourselves for the sake of entering fields of our interest is not enough. While listing your qualification is important, identifying soft skills for your resume is an equally crucial role in you getting a job. Before we discuss the importance of soft skills in details, let us first understand what soft skills are and how they differ from hard skills or job-specific skills.
What are Soft Skills?
Soft skills, also known as people skills, are personal attributes and interpersonal skills of a person that characterize his/her relationship with other people. In simpler words, a person with soft skills has high levels of emotional intelligence helping them to interact amicably with others.
Soft Skills Vs Hard Skills
#1. As discussed earlier also, soft skills refer to your personality and people skills. These are subjective and are the result of the emotional intelligence that you have acquired over the years based on your experiences. Hence, emotion-based soft skills cannot be taught to you in school and are often open to interpretation.
On the other hand, hard skills, also known as knowledge or technical skills, are professional abilities of a person that makes them capable of performing a job well. Hard skills can be taught in an institution or even through on-the-job training at organizations.
#2. Soft skills can’t be quantified. Either you are good at communicating or you are not. However, you can develop good communication skills over a period of time. Similarly, one of the important soft skills – work ethics will take time for you to demonstrate to your employer.
On the other hand, once you have acquired a hard skill, it will stay with you during your entire career. Also, you are able to put hard skills to use right away. For example, those you have learned Photoshop you will able to demonstrate the techniques immediately.
Examples of Soft Skills and Hard Skills
Here are some of the most common examples of soft skills and hard skills:
Why Soft Skills are Important in the Workplace?
Reason #1: Hard skills are incomplete without soft skills. Most recruiters prefer candidates possessing both hard and soft skills when hiring, especially for leadership positions.
Reason #2: Soft skills are hard to acquire. There are many people who possess impressive hard skills but not many with impressive soft skills and the latter are linked to a person’s character.
Reason #3: Soft skills helps in building a cordial environment in the workplace. For work to be done harmoniously and successfully, colleagues need to have certain qualities such as listening skills, communication skills, team spirit, etc. more than job-specific hard skills.
Reason #4: Soft skills are the future of how workplaces will function. With automation and artificial intelligence taking over processes, organizations will start relying more and more on the soft skills of their employees.
Reasons #5: Soft skills are crucial for retaining and attracting customers. No matter how good and affordable a product is, if a company fails to provide excellent customer service, the product is bound to fail in the long run.
Recruiters across industries are looking for candidates equipped with soft skills such as leadership, management, work ethics, negotiation, critical thinking etc. Developing these soft skills and demonstrating them while searching for a job as well as during a job interview can lead you in the right direction of your career path.
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