Top 10 Important Soft Skills You Need to Know About
Do you know why soft skills have gained importance in this competitive world? Or why should you have some soft skills before applying for some job? Yes. All the employees need role-specific knowledge to perform their job duties.
But the ones who stand out are the ones who have additional qualities such as the ability to work with others or the ability to manage their time effectively. These qualities are none other than soft skills. These soft skills put depth into your graduate job application.
How can be soft skills defined?
Soft skills are also called people’s skills or emotional intelligence. They can be stated as the ability to interact amicably with others. Soft skills are generally the personal attributes that influence how well you can work with others. These skills make it easy to form and maintain a relationship with people, develop oneself, lead teams and also create trust and dependability.
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Difference between Hard Skills and Soft Skills
All the workers need hard skills. They gain these skills through formal education, training programs, and concentrated effort. In simple language, hard skills can be said as the quantifiable skills workers need to have to perform a specific job. In the interview employers generally test or evaluate a candidate’s hard skills before hiring them. Some examples of hard skills are computer programming, writing, web development, or graphic design. Some of the hard skills are more in-demand than others. Big organizations sometimes hire recruitment agencies or head-hunters to fill jobs that require high-level skills.
Actually, hard skills can be learned and perfected over time through education, but these soft skills are more difficult to obtain and change. The soft skills required for a teacher, for example, would be leadership, communication, understanding, active listening, problem solver, cultural competence, and social and economic intelligence. Alternatively, the hard skills necessary for a teacher would include basic computer and word processing skills and knowledge of the content taught.
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Why soft skills are so important?
Everyone uses some of the other soft skills every day at his workplace. Be it presenting new ideas to your colleagues or negotiating to win a new contract. Using and developing these soft skills with help to climb the stairs in your career and win more business for your company.
On the other side, a lack of these soft skills can limit your potential or sometimes can even be the downfall of your business. Developing these soft skills will enable you to build strong leadership or develop teamwork and communication abilities by which you can run your projects more smoothly, give the results that can please everyone, and more influence your personal life by how you interact with others.
Besides the workplace, you use these soft skills such as communication to build friendship groups. You can also use these skills while buying a new car or a new house. Both in your professional as well as personal life you use these soft skills.
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Below are some of the points showing by soft skills so important:
It Is often seen that employees with stronger soft skills have a higher chance of getting a promotion to a leadership position than an employee with more years of experience but weaker soft skills. It has become important to develop soft skills if you want to progress in your career as these skills will set you apart from others at the interview and on the job.
The modern workplace:
In the modern workplace soft skills such as active listening, presenting ideas, communicating with colleagues are valued. Strong soft skills ensure more productivity and a healthy work environment. These all factors are necessary for organizations in this increasingly competitive world.
Demand for Soft Skills:
In this competitive market, customers have huge choices of where to buy from or whom to give the contract to. These customers try to convenience buy whoever has the low prices. In such a situation, a soft skill such as customer service is often what influences the choice. The ability to communicate as a human being with the customers is, therefore, an important factor in an organization’s success.
High demand by recruiters:
Soft skills are in high demand in almost all organizations. Recruiters many a time mentions the need for soft skills at the interview.
Hard to automate:
Skills such as responsibility or teamwork are hard to automate and unlikely to become automated anytime. A computer can perform artificial intelligence jobs such as manufacturing line workers which can be automated. Traditional soft skills like teamwork, communication will be more important than ever and hence they are expected to become more desirable in the future.
Do you need to develop your Soft Skills?
People use soft skills both in their professional as well as their personal life. Most of the people who are strong in certain skills were as weak in other skills. For instance, some may be strong in communicating and building friends group but may be weak in negotiating the cost for the new project.
- People usually underestimate the importance of soft skills or many a time overestimate their own abilities.
- By developing these soft skills, it will be beneficial for you in both your personal as well as professional life.
How you can develop or improve your Soft Skills?
In many organizations, employers value strong soft skills over technical skills because they are often personality features. These soft skills are developed over a lifetime and can be difficult to teach. That means anyone or rather everyone can improve their soft skills with experience and with practice. For instance, you may find that an employer is looking for someone with presentation skills. You may be naturally skilled at effective communication, but it may help you to practice working through presenting with others.
You can develop or improve your soft skills since there are various ways for it. These various ways can be stated as below:
Practice it consistently
Pick any skill you want to develop or improve and practice it continuously. Any soft skill can be improved if you practice regularly. Most of the soft skills are a matter of whether you use them in your routine. For instance, you can practice time management both at home and at the workplace, by improving punctuality (showing up to work or events on time or before time) and starting on projects at work earlier so that you can complete them before the deadline.
Positive soft skills you see in others
The second way is that you can observe the professionals around you who are skilled and try to imitate these positive soft skills. You can develop some of these essential soft skills by observing the practices of others and then integrating them into your own daily schedule. You may find for instance, that effective presenter’s often write down notes when others are presenting or communicating during meetings. This aids them to arrange their thoughts so that they can ask and answer important questions after the presentation.
Listening is also an active practice that can be a part of your work.
Set milestone goals
The next way is you can set a specific goal to improve your soft skills. You can set specific or measurable goals by carefully studying your own performance reviews at work or asking trusted friends and colleagues or family members for productive comments. This will help you to recognize the areas of improvement for goal setting and areas of strength to underline them on your resume and in interviews. You can classify which of the soft skills is to be worked on based on those you want to get a specific job or move up in a career you already are in.
Find resources to help you
The last way is that you can find various resources that can help you learn about these soft skills. You can find many methods to help you learn strategies for improving the soft skills you want to focus on like books, videos, magazines, podcasts, or online classes. While some of these methods need payment, whereas many of them are free of cost and you can access them at your convenient time. You can even seek out some different types of resources to see which can be best for your learning style.
Important Soft Skills
Till now we have seen the meaning of soft skills, how important they are, and various ways to improve them. But there are many types of soft skills but every field needs some out of it.
Below are the important and common types required in most of the fields:
1. Communication as Soft Skill –
Communication is considered an important soft skill. The capability to communicate more productively with colleagues or with superiors or with staff or even with the customer is crucial, no matter which field you are working in. A good communicator can regulate his or her tone and style of talking according to the audience, understand and act effectively on the instructions as well as explain difficult issues to the clients and colleagues similarly. Whether you are working with the client on a project or working with colleagues in teamwork or dealing with the client’s complaint, good listening skills will help you learn and respond incorrectly way to the situation you have been presented with. In many of the big organizations’ communication is majorly done through email. Hence it is very important to have well-written communication skills and give proper and crisp instructions.
There are various types of communication skills that most employers see while recruiting:
- Listening Skills:
The best way to be a good communicator is to be a good listener. Active listening requires paying attention to what the other person is saying or asking or even clarifying questions. Being an active listener, you can better understand what the other person is trying to say can you can respond to him appropriately. If you are not a good listener, it will be difficult to understand what you are being asked to do.
- Written Communication Skills:
Most organizations in the modern technology world use written communication via email as the major type to communicate with clients or with suppliers or even with superiors. This type of communication appears on the screen. Other forms of written communication include memos, proposals, letters, and operating policies. These forms of written communication can be handwritten or paper written. All these forms of communication skills are essential skills in bigger organizations.
- Non-verbal communication Skills:
Non-verbal communication skill includes your body language or eye contact or the hand gestures.
You should also pay attention to other’s non-verbal signs while you are talking to them. Many times non-verbal communications affect whether you get a job offer or no. To be more effective in this type of communication you need to align your body language, appearance, and tone with the words you are trying to convey.
2. Leadership as Soft Skill
Leadership is the second important soft skill. You can show this soft skill even if you are not managing others directly. You can inspire others and lead your team to success if you have strong leadership skills.
A person with strong leadership skills is also an efficient problem-solver, drawing on their ability to flex and change according to individual demands. He can make quick and effective decisions too. Leaders in organizations generally tend to score high for Emotional Intelligence. A person with leadership skills will always listen to others as they actively seek inputs from others.
There is broad skills area which is important for leaders such as below:
- Strategic Thinking Skill – This in simple language means having an idea or vision of where you want to be and working to achieve that
- Proper planning and Delivering Skill – Along with strategic thinking, a leader should be well organized and action planning, both essential for the delivery of vision and strategy.
- People Management Skill – Leaders especially need to work with others, motivate and encourage them. They need to know and understand how to build and manage a team.
3. Teamwork as Soft Skill
Teamwork is an essential soft skill at work, no matter which field you work in. Working with colleagues or supervisors or even working well with the clients can help you to complete the job more efficiently and also you can create an enjoyable environment for you and for others too. Any organization that highlights more on teamwork is typically healthy. The ability to communicate well with others, actively listen to them, being responsible and honest are some of the qualities required for teamwork skills.
4. Time Management as a Soft Skill
Time management is another important soft skill that is high in demand. This soft skill includes elements of planning, prioritization, and organizational skills. Time management skill is related to the ability to work under pressure, as well as within deadlines given. Employees who can manage their time well can prioritize tasks and organize their duties which allows them to take on new tasks and deadlines. Employers in most organizations look for employees who can use the best of the available time given to them for a particular job. Saving time saves organizations money and also it increases revenue.
5. Responsibility as a Soft Skills
Responsibility is such a soft skill that is rarely talked about but is a highly valued one. People who fail to take responsibility for their own work will be less productive. These people will be less successful overall. Taking responsibility means taking ownership of not only your personal goals but taking responsibility for the company’s wider goals too. All this means taking initiative towards improvement, accepting responsibility for any failures, and taking corrective measures towards it. All this means working towards the success of the company along with yourself.
6. Problem Solving as a Soft Skill
Problem-solving skill is considered as one of the important soft skills rather than the hard skill while is learned through education or training. Problem-solving skills are actually a combination of using analytics and creative thinking to find correct solutions. Bumps in the road or stumbling blocks are part of the job and represent learning opportunities. You can also use your knowledge to find the solution for the problems and formulate workable solutions that will show that you can handle and excel in your job. If you want to improve your problem-solving skill, you can by familiarizing yourself with common issues in your office or even learning from the experienced employees from your office. This is a skill that often relies on teamwork since problems need not always be solved alone. Discussing mistakes and telling what you learned from them with the seniors is an important part of building a soft silk resume.
7. Decision Making as a Soft Skill
Decision-making is the ability to make quick and effective decisions. In simple language, decision-making is a process or an act of choosing between two or more courses of action. In a process of problem-solving choosing, the correct possible solution is meant to be decision making. A person with good decision-making skills will take effective and quick action especially when he or she is under pressure. Overall, it is an important process that will help you to make the right decision on behalf of your organization. A good decision-maker takes the responsibility for the outcome of the decision made and can also adapt when mistakes are made.
8. Adaptability as a Soft Skill
In this 21st century, organizations make rapid changes to remain in the competition. So, they need their employees also to adapt to the new changes quickly and also sometimes change the directions as needed. Simply adaptability is one of the soft skills that allow you to rapidly learn new skills and behavior in response to changing situations. Adaptability in brief can be said as when you respond quickly or accept quickly or adapt quickly to changing ideas or changing responsibilities or expectations or trends or strategies or other processes at your organization. When you are good at adapting new things quickly, it can be very useful while working on projects, developing strategies, and implementing different approaches to your job. If you possess adaptability skills mean you possess other soft skills such as communication or problem solving or creative thinking also.
9. Creativity as a Soft Skill
Creativity is one of the important soft skills. Creativity is the ability to think about a problem or about a task in a new way, or a different way. Creativity is also an ability to use self-imagination to create new Ideas. This soft skill helps you to solve complex problems or discover new ways to approach tasks or problems. You look at the tasks or the problems from a unique perspective if you possess this skill of being creative. This tool is given importance in organizations as it is a useful tool for developing new ideas or increasing efficiency and finding solutions to complex problems. This important soft skill can be used in any role in any field and at any level in the organization.
10. Open to criticism as a Soft Skill
Open to criticism is last on the list but another important soft skill. Whether it is constructive or destructive criticism, they are not pleasant. No one liked to be criticized in the office in front of others. Criticism is an act wherein there are a thorough examination and review done of people’s work which is focused to correct faults or drawbacks or defects in it. Open to accept criticism is an ability of a person wherein he accepts constructive criticism for his improvement. This ability is not only to accept constructive criticism but also to ignore distractive comments while working hard to achieve the desired goal.
Coming to an End
It’s never too late to develop an important soft skill if you don’t have them. You can learn a lot from the people around you especially the place where you work by observing those who excel in several areas. People many times only focus on developing technical skills, neglecting the development of soft skills. This would make them difficult to succeed in a future position that requires emotional intelligence and social interaction. It is important to highlight soft skills that you possess at all stages of the job you are in and also continue developing these skills or skills which you don’t have to succeed more in your career path.