Are you losing out on job opportunities? Is your college degree not enough to secure that dream job? Did your manager just hand over your promotion to the next guy? Well, all these scenarios are a result of the missing workforce skills. That’s right!
Commonly known as ‘soft skills,’ these are the skills everybody needs today to thrive in the modern workplace. A World Bank study, however, revealed that out of half a million college graduates in the Philippines, many don’t have the soft skills that large, innovative firms look for.
So what are soft skills? How are they different from hard skills? Why are soft skills important? This article will answer all these questions and more.
Soft skills are the traits and characteristics that make you adaptable to people and situations, helping you perform your job well. These skills are also known as "socioemotional skills," "interpersonal skills," "noncognitive skills," "non-technical skills, and " transferable skills.
Your soft skills are not restricted to a particular industry. You need them in every job and in every industry.
Hard skills are the technical skills or expertise you gain through training, school, seminars, or former work experiences. They can be taught and learned, and are often specific to your job. A few examples of hard skills are:
Soft skills, on the other hand, are universal. And they are not job-specific. Having said this, you should emphasize relevant soft skills in your resume. Because firms today are more inclined towards hiring candidates with strong interpersonal skills.
Although the two sound different, these skills complement each other. They contribute to personal and professional growth. A question about your hard skills on your resume will most likely lead to a discussion of your transferable skills too.
While your hard skills help you land the job, your soft skills are the key to thriving wherever you work. Possessing people skills is an important prerequisite in the modern job market. Hence, while you are an expert in your field, practicing interpersonal skills will come in handy.
Why both skills are needed in the workplace
Technical skills give you the ability to get the job done. But soft skills will give you the ability to cope with pressure, deadlines, and work stress. They are essential skills that will enable you to get along with people around you.
In a collaborative working environment, technical expertise is important. But a project can be successful only when these are used together with your soft skills.
Professor M.S. Rao rightly wrote in CEOWorld that soft and hard skills are essential for organizations to achieve their goals and objectives. According to him, soft skills are more important than hard skills. Because he believes that hard skills can be taught. A soft skill, on the other hand, needs to be acquired. And organizations prosper from candidates possessing soft skills.
Communication skills include the ability to exchange information between parties. Simplifying complex problems and communicating them with everyone is key in the workplace.
Communication skills examples include:
Public speaking is not limited to speaking in public and delivering speeches. In a workplace, it entails giving presentations, training people, and even motivating others. Mastering this skill opens opportunities for getting hired, getting a raise, or getting a promotion.
Good presentation skills enable you to deliver engaging presentations to colleagues and clients. It enhances your ability to influence and persuade others.
Persuasion skills refer to the ability to present compelling arguments to influence others. Possessing strong persuasion can be highly advantageous in the workplace. You can achieve win-win situations, gain support, and sway opinions in your favor.
Empathy is the ability to understand the needs and perspectives of others. It helps you navigate conflicts, resolve issues, and create a positive work environment. In the workplace, empathy can benefit you by improving your relationships and effectiveness.
Diplomacy in the workplace enables effective conflict management. By possessing these strong communication skills, you can build a positive relationship with colleagues. You learn to manage difficult situations gracefully and enhance your persuasive abilities too.
Teamwork and collaboration enable you to leverage team members' diverse perspectives. You achieve optimal results and expand your professional network. It is highly sought-after by employers and contributes to a productive work environment.
Handling conflicts effectively minimizes negative impacts during teamwork. Conflict resolution involves identifying its cause to facilitate open dialogue and find solutions.
Consensus building involves actively seeking input and perspectives from others. The skill promotes a collaborative work environment. And enables you to work effectively by navigating complex situations and achieving shared goals.
By taking on a mentor or coach role, you can support the development and growth of your teammates. This enhances your own leadership and communication skills. Additionally, you expand your network, and contribute to a collaborative work culture.
Networking allows you to connect with others and create a strong support system. Your network helps you navigate challenges and achieve your professional goals.
By building strong relationships, you create a foundation for open communication. These relationships foster a positive work environment. They lead to long-lasting professional connections and contribute to your overall success.
Problem-solving and critical thinking skills are instrumental in making intelligent and informed decisions. You can address complex issues by leveraging available data, facts, and knowledge.
Problem-solving and critical thinking examples include:
Systems thinking involves identifying and addressing the root causes of problems and situations. This approach involves understanding the underlying problems and tackling them at their source. This leads to more effective problem-solving and the prevention of recurring problems.
This skill involves considering the bigger picture and being forward-looking. It enables you to formulate strategies that maximize resources and optimize performance. By understanding the end goal, you develop good plans for the organization’s success.
Design thinking equips you with a structured problem-solving framework. It enables you to break down complex problems and approach them with a fresh perspective. Thus developing effective solutions and becoming a valuable asset.
Risk assessment is when you identify, analyze, and evaluate potential risks and their impact on projects. By taking action at the right time, you can plan effectively and maximize the chances of achieving desired outcomes.
Innovation is the ability to generate and implement new ideas. Tapping into it can lead to significant improvements or breakthroughs in projects. It showcases your ability to think outside the box and generate unique ideas.
Adaptability is the capacity to adjust to new or changing conditions. Flexibility is the willingness to adjust schedules and plans to accommodate unexpected changes. Both of these skills are highly valued in the workplace and contribute to an individual's success. And enable individuals to handle change and ambiguity, and thrive in the dynamic and unpredictable work environments that exist today.
A few examples of adaptability and flexibility include:
Change management skills enable individuals to navigate through a period of transition and transformation smoothly. By adapting to the changing processes and employing effective strategies, you can help minimize disruptions. In fact, you can also help others manage resistance and ensure a seamless transition.
A commonly heard term,multitasking, refers to the ability to manage and perform multiple tasks simultaneously. It is a valuable skill and effective when you possess task switching, prioritization, and time management.
Possessing time management skills enable you to allocate sufficient time for each task while handling time constraints. Not only is your productivity optimized, but you also succeed in navigating the demands of a dynamic work environment.
This is the ability to adjust and organize tasks based on their importance and urgency. It empowers you to make informed decisions, efficiently manage your workload, and achieve desired outcomes at work.
Your daily work tasks can seem challenging sometimes. But staying driven, proactive, and resilient during such a time is key. Self-motivation fuels your ability to adapt and bounce back from setbacks to achieve success in evolving situations.
Leadership skills go beyond mere authority and formal leadership positions. Possessing leadership skills enables you to take charge. You inspire and motivate others positively, navigate challenges and opportunities, and drive progress towards shared goals.
Here are some examples of leadership skills:
Visionary thinkers have the ability to envision a compelling future. They have the ability to think strategically and make decisions that have a long-term impact and sustainability.
Henry Sy, the founder of SM Group, is regarded as a great visionary in the Philippines. He rightly anticipated the growing middle class in the Philippines and created vast retail spaces. Today, these supermarkets not only offer a wide range of products and services but also employment to the nation’s population.
Decision-making is when you make a choice after considering all the available options and potential consequences. It is a fundamental skill in leadership and plays a key role in both personal and professional contexts.
Delegation, in simple words, is assigning tasks, responsibilities, and authority to others in your team. While it may be tempting to do everything yourself, delegation promotes teamwork. Besides, it maximizes your productivity, fosters growth, and creates a more collaborative and resilient team.
This is a key aspect of leadership skills, where you clearly set goals and lead your team towards them. This way, they have meaningful work to do and a path for development. And as an effective leader, you create a high-performing work environment through motivation and inspiration.
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to understand and manage emotions within ourselves and others. It is what impacts most everything you say and do every day. In fact, a study by the World Economic Forum revealed that 90% of top performers also have high emotional intelligence. That’s because being someone with high EQ makes it easier for you to connect with others, engage, inspire, and ultimately succeed.
Every business has various departments that work together to achieve organizational goals. They contribute to the overall growth and profitability of the business.
Following are some soft skills that will contribute to your professional success in the above roles:
Jobs in the healthcare industry are booming owing to a huge staff shortage. Healthcare workers are thus in higher demand than ever before. Some staff positions include:
Some soft skills that enable smooth functioning and quality healthcare delivery are:
In the corporate field, creative arts refer to various artistic disciplines and practices. These enhance branding, marketing, design, and employee engagement. It encompasses the following disciplines:
The best soft skills in the creative arts include:
Various roles contribute to the successful functioning and advancement of the educational system. The career paths that promote educational excellence are:
The top soft skills required in the educational field are:
Various roles in the technological field contribute to the advancement of digital solutions, such as:
Here are some essential soft skills in the technology field:
In the field of social services, you can take on various roles that contribute to supporting individuals, families, and communities in need.
Soft skills that make you a good social service professional are:
The hospitality and tourism fields are all about delivering exceptional guest experiences and ensuring smooth operations within the industry. Various roles contribute to making this happen:
There are several soft skills needed in the hospitality and tourism fields:
Various roles in the finance field contribute to managing financial transactions, assets, and risks.
Examples of soft skills required in the finance field are:
Various roles exist in the law to provide legal services and ensure justice in different areas
Soft skills essential in the field of law are:
The engineering field involves various roles, each specializing in specific disciplines. Some of these are mechanical, electrical and civil.
You can excel in this field with the right soft skills:
Science offers diverse roles such as research, development, and analysis. These roles contribute to advancing knowledge, fostering innovation, and addressing societal challenges.
The soft skills that contribute to overall success are:
Government and public service jobs include roles such as administration, diplomacy, and policy-making. Your career path here would be driven by a commitment to public welfare, societal needs, and the well-being of citizens.
Here are key soft skills vital to these roles:
A career in journalism and media offers a range of opportunities to work in fast-paced environments and play a vital role in keeping the public informed. You could be reporting on a range of topics or hosting news programs as a broadcaster. You can also be an editor, editing articles and news scripts.
The top soft skills you’ll need in this field are:
A career in nonprofits and philanthropy encompasses various roles focused on making a positive social impact.
Examples of soft skills required in this field include:
Emily Heyward wrote in one of her Forbes articles that there’s never been a more exciting time to start a new business than now. A career as an entrepreneur offers you the opportunity to create and run a business. You get to turn ideas into reality and make a significant impact.
Here are some soft skills that will support you in your journey:
Research is a systematic investigation done to generate new knowledge and solutions to problems. The responsibilities can vary depending on the sector.
Regardless of the sector, research jobs require several soft skills:
As an administrator, your responsibilities may involve performing various administrative tasks to ensure the smooth operation of an organization. You could oversee a team in the management role. Or be part of the support role and assist other teams and members in their tasks.
Here are some important soft skills needed in an administration job:
A career in consulting requires providing expert guidance to businesses in specific areas. You help them develop and refine their strategic plans. You also have to work with them on streamlining their operations for improved efficiency. Soft skills play a vital role in your success as a consultant.
Here are some soft skills that you can benefit from as a consultant:
Customer service is all about providing support before, during, and after buying the product. It involves activities such as answering queries, resolving complaints, and offering advice. Building a relationship while interacting with customers aids in creating a positive experience.
Soft skills that enable you to do that are:
Technology is bringing about challenging transitions in writing or editing careers. But there are high-paying roles you should look into if you love writing. These include roles in publishing, journalism, and marketing. And you can stay ahead of the curve by possessing certain soft skills that technology hasn’t mastered yet.
Today, firms across the world are engaging in more complex and sophisticated economic activities. They are constantly on the lookout for candidates who have adequate workforce skills.
In other words, soft skills have become increasingly significant in the modern workplace. They shape your career's growth and success. By developing and demonstrating strong soft skills, you can enhance your career prospects. In addition, you can achieve long-term success in your chosen fields.
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