Oftentimes we tend to focus on developing our hard skills while not paying enough attention to the soft ones. Soft skills are just as important, and developing them would maximize job or career success.
Some of you may be wondering: Hard skills? Soft skills? What are those?
Hard skills are basically skills that you learn, and they are able to be measured in some way. Examples of hard skills include reading, writing, mathematical ability, technology savviness and degrees and certifications.
Soft skills, on the other hand, are more abstract. According to Google, soft skills are “personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.” They include leadership capability, communication skills, integrity, creativity and adaptation, among a list of others.
In other words, soft skills set you apart from everyone else vying for a job, and they show why you’re valuable and why you will continue to be valuable.
Soft skills set you apart from the rest
When it comes to hard skills, employers likely see some of the same features on resumes. You went to college. You graduated. You worked so and so, and you’re good with so and so systems. Those factors just help get you into the interview, but the job interview is really where the soft skills come into play.
Employers want to know, why did you choose us? What can you contribute? What are some of your strengths, and what are some of your flaws? What makes you different from everybody else?
Soft skills help show your drive, your commitment and your passion.
Even if you’re working for yourself, it’s important to be able to communicate when you need to, to have those leadership qualities and to be able to work responsibly and efficiently.
How do you actually develop soft skills?
You can develop your leadership skills by first learning how to be a student. After you know how to be a student, accept opportunities to gain experience in leadership roles. The roles don’t have to be big. Something as simple as being on the executive board of your high school or college club would help you learn how to be a leader.
Communication skills can be developed by simply… communicating. Practice your public speaking skills. Be real. Don’t force yourself to be somebody you’re not. When talking to someone, make eye contact now and then, and work on your engagement skills.
It can be hard, sometimes, to be creative and innovative, but start brainstorming and jotting down ideas.
Besides developing specific soft skills, in general, you can improve your skill set by taking online courses, knowing your strengths and working on your weaknesses and working on your interpersonal relationships, among other ways.
Find out what way is right for you and what soft skills you need to work on the most. By doing so, you may just find yourself hurtling towards success.