Today’s world is extremely competitive and cut-throat. Each individual that applies for a particular post or a job has many technical qualifications that would make them just right for the position. And yet the process of getting green-lit for the post is highly selective and particular. What does the employer see beyond technical skills that can increase your chances of getting a job? What can set your resume apart from the many others that apply for the same post? Soft skills.
What are Soft Skills?
Soft skills are based on your personality, attitude, and behavior when it comes to a professional setting. These are traits that can’t be taught but have to be developed by oneself in the face of different situations. These skills adapt and evolve and help you integrate yourself into the fabric of your workplace. They stand as a mark of your professionalism and your ability to handle any situation maturely.
Why are soft skills important?
Soft skills are an extremely important part of your resume as they depict your personality traits to the employer. Any company will look for an employee who can successfully communicate with colleagues and workplace superiors and has a positive outlook towards their work and their future at the said company before selecting a candidate for the particular job. In many job listings, you would find traits such as ‘hardworking’ or ‘good leadership qualities and management’ or ‘excellent communication skills’ as a primary requirement for the job role, sometimes putting more priority on soft skills rather than technical skills.
Soft skills are not specific to any job role and can be transferred across industries. You may be a medical assistant, or a civil engineer, or a hotel management intern, you would still require a certain set of soft skills to get you over the line.
Another very important advantage of having soft skills is that you may be able to apply to a job whose title may not seem like your cup of tea but the description might match your skillset. To ensure this, you might want to update your resume with the relevant soft skills for that post.
Another way that soft skills can ensure your selection for a job, is to integrate them with your interview answers. For example, when the employer is asking you something like “Tell me more about yourself”, you could talk about your soft skills and how they reflect your personality like being adaptable, hardworking and having problem-solving abilities. This will subtly hint to your employer that you are good at communication and can highlight and access your strengths when required.
Difference between soft skills and hard skills
|Soft Skills||Hard Skills|
|Soft Skills speak about your emotional intelligence and personality and behavioral traits that impact your professional persona.||Hard skills refer to the technical knowledge and finesse that you hold concerning the post that you have applied for in an organization.|
|Soft skills are acquired naturally by analyzing the various situations that one faces in their life and are a measure of how well one can integrate those traits with a professional setting.||Hard skills are learned through years of dedicated education and other hands-on training methods.|
|Soft skills are not industry-specific, a range of professions across various fields can require the same set of soft skills.||Hard skills are extremely industry-specific. If you wish to pursue a certain post in an organization you need to have a highly specialized hard skillset that is closely analyzed by the selection panel before giving you the job.|
Highly sought after soft skills:
Communication ranks as one of the most important soft skills of all time. No matter the kind of job you do or have applied for, communication is a means to convey your ideas, thoughts, and notions to your colleagues, superiors, or even your clients and vendors!
Starting from your interview process to the later stages of your career, communication plays a very vital role in your personal and professional growth. It involves standing your own ground during ideation while cleverly integrating your ideas with the ones pitched by your colleagues or teammates. The most essential need of good communication is to pitch a conducive idea without disrespecting or disregarding the view of others as to not create conflict in a professional setting.
Communication soft skills include:
- Active listening
- Organizational skills
- Problem-solving and critical thinking
Be it any job, employers always want employees who are quick on their feet with ideation and implementation. Critical skills are used by a person in the need of the hour to come up with creative and sustainable solutions to an organizational problem. This ability might include giving a spur-of-the-moment solution or a short-term solution to a problem or involve intensive research for the longevity of the solution to the said problem. Both these scenarios require the brain to work in unique and creative ways to best solve any problem at any given moment and is a skill highly appreciated in competitive, cutthroat corporate settings.
This soft skill includes:
- Risk analysis and management
- Teamwork and intensive ideation
- Adaptability and positive attitude
In your career ladder, there are always going to be obstacles. It may be professional competition, your relationship with your colleagues and superiors, or even work-personal life balance. And as you grow, your workload and responsibilities are only going to increase. During these testing times, the one thing that is highly appreciated is a positive outlook towards the work that you are doing. Such an attitude will inspire and motivate others around you to put their best foot forward, producing the optimum results.
One other soft skill that is highly sought after is adaptability. Your professional life might throw you into situations that you may or may not have prepared for or might pose a problem that you may not know how to solve. In those cases, your ability to change your work format, mold it to the given situation, and rising to fulfill the needs of the organization is called adaptability. It shows the amount of professionalism you have and your company’s reliance on you during times of crisis.
- Leadership and teamwork
One of the main qualities that an employer looks for in a suitable candidate is the commitment they have to rise the ranks of the organization and their leadership and managerial abilities. Such a thought process motivates the candidate to work as hard as they can and produce the best possible results for the company.
Leadership is your ability to work with a team of people with different strengths and weaknesses and perspectives and mold these differences into one single functioning unit. As a leader and a team member, you need to make sure that you take important decisions in the heat of the moment and that those decisions be in the best interest of the team and the company. You must also ensure that you get along with every member of your team and that they get along with each other without any friction or personal bias that may affect their work.
- Work ethic
Work ethic is an all-encompassing soft skill. Basically, your attitude towards work as an employee is what your work ethic means. It includes your punctuality, your dedication to complete the assigned work promptly and with the best quality and results, your attitude towards your work and your co-workers as well as your professionalism during work. It is extremely important to have a healthy work ethic for professional growth in your future.
Hard skills may help you grow and rise ranks in your career but soft skills define the process of growth and your personality as a professional. A healthy balance of both these skillsets is the key to a good resume and in turn better opportunities and a good career. So what are you waiting for? Go update your soft skills now!