In today’s workforce, it’s simply not enough to be highly trained in technical skills alone. While being technically savvy may get your foot in the door, your people skills are what throw open the door for most opportunities. These soft skills, or non-technical traits or characteristics that allow a person to effectively engage with others, are what differentiate you from other candidates who may have the same training.
Soft skills are about emotion, and they determine what kind of an employee you’ll be. When you land a job interview, the employer already believes you have the hard technical skills needed to be successful in the position. Now they are looking to see if you possess the soft skills that are compatible for their company culture. Even if you do have all the technical skills, but your soft skills don’t align, you may get passed over for the position. Employers pay close attention to this because soft skills are extremely important in fostering employee retention, improving leadership and building a meaningful culture. In fact, 92% of executives rated soft skills as a critical company priority, according to Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends Report.
The main issue is that oftentimes these soft skills are undervalued and underdeveloped. Some companies seem to expect people to know how to behave on the job without laying out the framework for employee expectations. They simply hire individuals to fill the positions without digging deeper into the applicant’s soft skills or considering how they’ll mesh with the rest of their team.
Think of it this way: would you rather work with someone who has a positive, upbeat attitude and is always willing to pitch in, or someone who is inflexible and has a hard time admitting mistakes?
Hopefully, you’d rather work with the first individual who has the soft skills necessary to be a strong team player and who will be pleasant to interact with on a daily basis. Whether you are an individual currently searching for a new job, or a human resources professional doing the interviewing, these are some of the soft skills that are critical for career success:
- Personal accountability
- The ability to negotiate
- Conflict resolution skills
- The ability to be inclusive
- Communication skills
- The ability to mentor
- Emotional control
- Relationship building
- Acceptance of feedback
- Critical thinking
Never forget the importance that soft skills play in your career! What soft skills have proven to be the most beneficial for you? Share them in the comments below!
By: Rebecca Clausen