When searching for a job or applying for a promotion, you will find that recruitment managers are looking for candidates with two types of skills: hard and soft. Hard skills are directly related to a specific job and are typically quantifiable skills that can be gained through education and training. Soft skills, on the other hand, are harder to define and evaluate, however, are just as, if not more, important in the global knowledge economy. Soft skills are skills that all employers value.
What are soft skills?
At its core, soft skills are interpersonal (people) skills. They are the personal attributes and traits, social cues and communication abilities required for success in any given job. Unlike hard skills, soft skills are not about the knowledge possessed, but the way you conduct yourself in different situations and interact with others. Soft skills take intrinsic human qualities, for example, communication and creativity, and develops them to be applied effectively in the workplace. Soft skills are much harder to learn and are typically acquired and developed through experience.
List of soft skills
Soft skills include:
- Critical thinking
- Work ethic
Importance of soft skills
Soft skills are becoming increasingly important in the rapidly changing world in which we live. It is no longer enough to be skilled technically in your field as, especially in a competitive work environment, employers seek those whose hard skills are enhanced by their soft skills.
Essentially, having developed soft skills will allow you to stand out in a crowd, increasing your opportunities for success during your career.
While people with strong soft skills are highly sought after for many different jobs, all workers ultimately require at least some soft skills, regardless of position or field. Almost every job involves workers to engage with others in some way, thus it is important for every employee to be able to interact well with others. In order to succeed at any job, you need to be able to get along with everyone you communicate with at work, including supervisors, co-workers and customers.
Moreover, soft skills are transferable. Unlike hard skills, which change alongside technology, soft skills never expire and can be applied in any career or industry. Employees with strong soft skills are highly adaptable and are more likely to find success in the everchanging workforce.
Finally, soft skills are important as they can help to advance your career. To move forward in a career, employers aren’t looking for who can do the job, but who can move beyond the job. Evidently, it is those with developed soft skills who are able to demonstrate this and progress in their field.
Ultimately, if you are unable to effectively work in a team and use soft skills alongside your hard skills, it is unlikely that the organisation for which you work is going to be competitive, nor effective. Thriving organisations are those where all employees consistently use their soft skills to enhance their hard skills. Soft skills are imperative to success in the global knowledge economy, and in making an impact in business and life.
So how can I develop my soft skills?
The only way you can develop soft skills is through experiences. You could read about soft skills all day, but gaining experience using them and receiving critical feedback is the only way you will be able to apply them to your work.
V-teamwork has developed an online simulation where teams can interact with each other in a multi-user gaming environment. This allows teams the unique opportunity to practice real-life situations in a safe immersive environment, where they receive real-time feedback from colleagues and expert coaches.
Instead of hearing about soft skills, users develop soft skills that can be immediately transferred to real-life situations.
Find out more about how it works.
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