Soft Skills: Importance and Relevance in Digitalized World
With the advent of social media and online networking, interaction with the global audience is much easier now than as compared to what it was a decade ago. The need for soft skills thus has increased more than we could have imagined, and global leaders are looking for demonstrable soft skills along with hard skills to get the job done efficiently.
Hence whether a fresher or someone with years of industrial experience, soft skills play a crucial part in your career and day-to-day affairs.
The most asked questions like- what are these; why are they relevant in the world of digitalization; can they be learned- shall be addressed in detail to help you get a better understanding of the topic in discussion.
What are Soft Skills?
These are individual competencies that contribute to your professional growth and achievement. These could relate to work integrity, social and emotional intelligence, individual working style, communication skills, career attributes, active listening skills, and interpretational skills.
These are non-technical skills that have a great influence on your performance at the workplace and are difficult to measure unlike hard skills or technical skills that are picked up during on-job training in schools or colleges.
These are difficult to learn in a classroom environment. But you could have developed some of the skills while you were in school, college, or have had some amount of work experience. Like team building, collaboration, time management, creative thinking, empathy.
Why Are Soft Skills Important?
Employers and hiring managers look for soft skills while reviewing prospective candidature primarily because these skills are transferable. This means that even though a candidate may not have all the required hard skills or technical skills, but if they possess certain skills like teamwork, problem-solving, critical thinking, leadership skills it makes them flexible to be hired in various domains and levels.
Hence these noncognitive skills as they are referred to most of the time take precedence over technical skills during the hiring process. These skills help the recruiter differentiate between an ideal candidate and an adequate candidate who could be hired and be groomed to grow in a role.
Employers value people with soft skills as it helps foster relationship building both internally with colleagues and externally with clients and customers and enables the business to flourish by resolving any conflicts that may arise. The interpersonal skills make an ideal candidate highly adaptable as these meta-skills can be used irrespective of a person’s profile or job.
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Top 11 Soft Skills that Recruiters Look for:
While cognitive skills and certifications are vital, it is not the only thing that gets a job done, your personality traits and attitude make you a sought-after employee.
Hiring managers know that the noncognitive skills have led to efficiency gain and increased productivity which has resulted in business growth. Below are a few crucial skills that every recruiter looks for in an ideal candidature:
Decision-making is a vital competency that is required for day to day running of the business. A good decision is backed by data, experience, knowledge, and discussion with the relevant stakeholders.
Good decision-makers are confident of the decisions taken primarily because they have decided by looking through the situation from various angles. There are possibly 7 steps in a good decision-making process:
- Clearly define the decision
- Gather relevant information
- Identify possible solutions
- Identify potential pitfalls
- Choose among the solutions
- Action the decision
- Decision Analysis
Critical & Creative Thinking
Organizations usually prefer to have the right mix of old and new employees so that the status quo is questioned and there is the flow of new ideas, thoughts, and knowledge sharing. Hence employing a workforce of creative and critical thinkers becomes essential.
With companies adopting robotic process automation and artificial intelligence the interpersonal creative and critical thinking skills will be needed to add to the capabilities of the machines.
In the World Economic Forum, creative and critical thinking skills were ranked second and third top skills employees will need to thrive in the forthcoming industrial revolution.
Communication skills are critical for any business. An effective written or spoken communication skill can build and strengthen the relationship, open doors to new opportunities, and lead to building trust with all the stakeholders.
In addition to good communication skills which could be verbal, non-verbal, spoken, or written one is also required to be a good listener. Organizations ask for and insist on active listening as part of communication skills to understand the need or problems of the clients and customers to provide favorable solutions which could benefit the clients and in turn, could benefit the employer with good CSAT scores.
Whether one is hired in an individual contributor role or is working remotely, there will still be the need to communicate with your team and management about the work in question and understand your work in context with the organization’s larger goal.
This is precisely why recruiters will ask you competency-based questions related to teamwork skills. Teamwork consists of supporting other members of the team to achieve the expected result quickly and efficiently.
The members of the team thus become collaborators rather than competitors and everyone follows a solution-oriented approach. Everyone is on the same page in understanding the expectation and working in unison to get the project delivered.
Emotional Intelligence (EI)
Also, known as an Emotional Quotient (EQ) is the understanding and awareness of your emotions and recognizing and influencing the emotions of those around you.
When you think of a leader, the very first thought that comes to mind is the way a leader handles critical situations seemingly being calm and composed and never emoting their emotions.
For a leader to succeed it’s essential to have an EI to lead a team and business towards achieving the goals of the organization. While at the same time respecting the work culture and its people.
There are 5 key elements to strengthen your emotional quotient which was popularized by Daniel Goleman:
- Self -regulation
- Social Skills
If one can manage these 5 key elements they can develop and strengthen their emotional intelligence and can benefit from it while working on tight deadline projects, during feedback sessions, adjusting to changing environments, working on conflicting relationships, or sailing through setbacks and failures.
Empathy simply means putting yourself in others’ shoes. It is understanding how someone feels and being polite and compassionate towards them. Empathy is an important interpersonal skill as it helps in rapport building with customers, clients, and co-workers.
By understanding someone else’s perspective in a situation, it helps to resolve conflicts and increase team productivity. We have also seen from the previous paragraph that empathy is one of the 5 key elements of emotional intelligence shared by Daniel Goleman which can be developed through three steps namely: cognitive empathy, emotional empathy, and compassionate empathy.
A lot of times empathy and sympathy are used interchangeably, but they are different. Sympathy is more about being concerned about someone and the desire and wishes that they become better off or happier.
One of the most sought-after soft skills is time management, which is a process of organizing, prioritizing, planning, and delivering the work within the stipulated time frame.
Employees who do effective time management are smart workers who before the start of the business day create a to-do list of what they need to accomplish during the day, create a placeholder in their calendar, prioritize work or seek help with prioritization.
Effective Time Management Leads to:
- Increased efficiency and productivity
- Career growth
- Less stress of escalation
- Self- Image building
If you are someone who has a challenge with time management and needs help with developing the skill, you can find a plethora of content on time management both paid and free available online that you could utilize.
When working with a group of people, it’s obvious that there may be disagreements and not everyone will be in consensus. There could be various reasons for conflicts to arise like: miscommunication, poor management, a difference of opinion due to personality clashes, and different working styles.
While large conflicts are not good for business as it leads to delay in delivery of products or services, efficiency loss, absenteeism and if not resolved timely may lead to resignation or being fired. But some organizations encourage brain-storming exercises and conflict of thoughts and ideas primarily because it leads to innovation and invention.
Conflicts if unresolved can be detrimental to not just employees, teams, clients but to the organizations too. Hence, it’s important to address them as soon as they are identified.
Some of the Best Ways to Resolve Conflicts are:
- Active listening
- Emotional Intelligence
- Effective communication (formal/informal)
- Conflict Management training for the team
Like the name denotes, leadership skills are transferable skills that are required to be a good leader. These skills are non-cognitive and cannot be demonstrated through certification or a degree alone. For a successful career across various roles and levels, this universal skill becomes vital.
Recruiters engaged in conversation with prospective candidates look for leadership skills by asking behavioral or competency-based questions.
Leaders are proactive, they take initiatives, are goal-driven with a progressive mindset and have great people, process, and client managerial skills, and inspire and lead others.
A Few Leadership Skills That are Always Looked for are:
- Communication Skills
- Emotional Quotient
- Conflict Management
- Positive attitude
- Time Management
When faced with a problem, do we harp about it or go into solution mode? This key skill says a lot about your personality trait. When challenges arise, one should work towards resolving the issue through proper research and analysis, by deep diving to understand the root cause, and through trend analysis. Through a solution-oriented approach, it ensures that similar issues, challenges, or problems are not repeated in the future.
Flexibility is an interpersonal skill that’s becoming more relevant with the ever-changing work requirement. It’s about embracing the changes and quickly and efficiently adapting to the new work structure.
An adaptive and flexible employee is accommodating to pick up extra responsibilities when the situation demands and is willing to help the team meet strict deadlines and deliverables. Employers and hiring managers look for such engaged and positive attitudes in the candidates that they interview.
Soft Skills in Digital Marketing
The way we work and communicate has changed phenomenally in the 21st century, which is an era of the digital world. Digital communication skills and digital dynamics are being picked up to be competitive and have completely revolutionized traditional communications.
It has given us exposure to the wide variety of resources and the convenience to utilize them from the comfort of your couch. The way we build our relationships, communicate with the world, and engage in our business is all out there open to the whole wide world.
The long-forgotten skill of writing is now back in the picture and has been given a new avatar of digital communication. Digital writing has its own set of laws and dynamics. You must learn to communicate significantly more simply, succinctly, and persuasively than you have in the past.
Your blogs compete with the 4 million other blogs that are added to the internet every day. Every day, your clients receive hundreds of emails in their inboxes. You must learn to attract their attention and write clearly and persuasively enough for them to read and act on your emails.
Not only that, but you’ll also need to learn how to engage with others online and form relationships. If you’re a business owner or a brand ambassador, you should learn how to create digital platforms and audiences, as well as how to motivate others.
A Few of the Essential Interpersonal Skills for Digital Marketing are Listed below:
- Active listening
- Work integrity
- Open to feedback
By enrolling in digital marketing and content writing courses, you can learn how to effectively communicate information and communicate them digitally. This will boost your self-esteem and give you much-needed confidence and agility.
You will also improve your workplace communication skills. In today’s digital world, becoming a confident and accomplished communicator requires stepping outside of your comfort zone, but the confidence and rewards are well worth it.
Embedding Interpersonal Skills in Resume
Skills such as strong written and verbal communication skills, customer service, and conflict resolution are extremely valuable today because many roles require collaboration and the ability to work across teams in a matrix organization to solve complex business issues.
This means that a person’s ability to establish and maintain positive relationships with customers and colleagues at all levels of the organization is critical. Here are a few things to keep in mind while embedding interpersonal skills in your resume:
Use Soft Skill Language Directly from the Job Posting
Because ATSs cannot understand nuances in language, you must draw your examples of skills directly from the job description. If the job description calls for “strong verbal communication skills,” include that information. It will not understand that “strong oral communication skills” and “strong written communication skills” are synonymous.
Validate your Skills with Accomplishments
Anyone can claim to be highly organized or hardworking, but the key is to be able to back up this claim. For greater impact, discuss the outcomes you’ve achieved.
The ability to demonstrate some of these soft skill examples in your resume is critical to landing the job you want. Use facts and figures to demonstrate your soft skills, just as you would when quantifying your other results.
Use Actionable Words to Highlight your Skills
Utilize fascinating activity words to make your message more compelling. When you portray a work, what was the outcome? For instance, words like ‘created,’ ‘accomplished,’ and ‘carried out’ sound better compared to keeping in touch with you were ‘answerable for’ an errand.
The Resume should Validate your Interpersonal Skills
Ensure to include the interpersonal skills in your resume however, consistently back them up in your application materials. There have been several resumes in which the jobseeker claims to have “magnificent scrupulousness,” yet the resume had spelling botches or no contact subtleties by any means.
Another example resumes from individuals who guarantee to be ‘high energy’ whose composing sounds exhausted and apathetic. Even the best non-cognitive skills will not be sufficient if you don’t have the cognitive skills needed for the work, however, figuring out how to show them on your resume can assist you to stand apart from others with a similar encounter.
Soft Skill Development
The importance of metacognitive skills for lifelong learning was emphasized in the same OECD (Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development) report. Metacognition is the act of thinking about one’s thoughts. It specifically refers to the processes used to assess one’s comprehension. It entails critical thinking, reflection, and self-awareness as a thinker and learner.
With the rise of automation, purely cognitive or professional skills are no longer enough to navigate this VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) hence the need for metacognitive skills becomes all the more important.
Metacognitive skill development is much more difficult than hard skill development because it necessitates active interaction with others on an ongoing basis as well as being willing to accept behavioral feedback.
While hard skills can be learned from a book or through individual training, metacognitive skills require a combination of environment and other people to master. As a result, learning does not rely solely on the individual but is influenced by a variety of factors that make education more difficult and unpredictable.
Having said that, the importance of interpersonal skills in a workplace cannot be ignored and it is, in fact, one of the top priorities across industries. With the rapid digitalization, innovation, and artificial intelligence taking over industries the need to reskill and upskill the workforce on noncognitive skills is becoming all the more essential.
Once you’ve recognized the importance of noncognitive skills, it’s time to get a professional development diagram in place and start your interpersonal skills training. Finding the proper starting factor can seem overwhelming, though.
However, there are Three Common Pieces of Training that you can Begin with:
- Time Management Training: Businesses look for any possibility to increase staff productivity. This gaining knowledge of course gives you the required competencies to take accountability for your very own time, teaching you how to control time extra efficiently, create high-quality to-do lists, sharpen your focus, and more.
- Interpersonal Skills Training: This collection of courses gets to the coronary heart of what it potential to be a terrific teammate and co-worker. Learn the basics of interpersonal communication, how to manipulate initiatives and their stakeholders, the keys to success in administrative roles, and more.
- Public Speaking Classes: Communication is maybe the most important soft ability for employees. And whilst many can get through with written communication, public speaking is a sizable fear.
This set of training can help any individual overcome the worry of public speaking, talk with self-assurance in all settings, remain relevant at some point of presentations, and more. It’s time interpersonal skills coaching acquired the same attention that hard skills continually have!
Frequently Asked Questions:
- What are some of the basic soft skills that companies require?
Communication skills and the ability to cooperate with the team members are the two basic skills that every company wants their employees to have.
- What are some examples of soft skills?
Teamwork, work ethics, communication skills, ability to learn, adaptability are some of the examples of such skills.
- Can creativity be considered as one of the soft skills?
Creativity is also considered one of the most important skills that every employee should have because inner creativity will help the employee to come up with quick solutions to every kind of problem that may arise in a workplace.
Well to summarise, when these skills are practiced on a company-wide basis, they benefit businesses. A collaborative spirit among employees, for example, is essential. Team members who can collaborate effectively with people from different generations and backgrounds are more productive and better able to focus on common goals.
When workers collaborate by sharing knowledge and tools to complete tasks, efficiency and output improve. Learning new methods and technologies is also a desirable soft skill for all workers.
Companies that value learning as a soft skill acknowledge different learning styles and encourage employees to pursue the methods that work best for them. Soft skill is good troubleshooting when it comes to doing a deeper analysis of impending situations.