Soft skills are related to how individuals act, interact, react, and more and are often considered components of one’s personality. However, they can be learned or improved upon, though doing so isn’t as simple as with hard skills, and include things like resilience, communication, emotional intelligence, and more.
Employers have always looked for soft skills when searching for new talent. In fact, they’re often a key differentiator when candidates have similar education or experience levels. When someone appears to be a great team player or a skillful communicator, employers know that candidate has additional assets to bring to the role that will help that person succeed.
Let’s take a look at some of the soft skills that are currently in high demand.
- Communication. This one never leaves this list. The ability to communicate effectively and appropriately can help someone be more effective and get things done more efficiently and succeed in any role.
- Emotional intelligence. Those with emotional intelligence recognize and can react to emotional cues in both themselves and those around them in a constructive way. The ability to connect to others’ emotions and react appropriately is important.
- Social awareness and appropriate responses to social cues. Acting appropriately around others can help the team feel cohesive.
- Self-awareness. Being aware of how you’re coming across to others can go a long way toward being able to work well with others.
- Ability to adapt to continually changing situations. Adaptability will always be important, but a pandemic showed us just how quickly and dramatically things can change. While this level of change is not expected day to day, situations continually evolve, and having the ability to roll with the changes, be flexible, and adapt can go a long way.
- Willingness to learn new things and consider new perspectives. This might be called a learning mindset or growth mindset and is a component of adaptability. The key is to be willing to learn new ideas, processes, and more.
- Reliability, dependability, and overall work ethic.
- Problem-solving and ability to think critically. Being able to assess a situation and come up with an appropriate solution without always asking for help can go a long way.
- Working well with others and resolving conflicts that arise. Conflict resolution doesn’t come naturally to a lot of people, but it’s a skill that’s important to have any time teamwork is involved. Miscellaneous conflict is bound to happen occasionally, and being able to navigate these situations without always needing assistance is a useful skill.
- Integrity. Employees who always act with integrity go a long way toward establishing good teams and good customer relationships. Employees who consistently show they act with integrity are valuable.
- Resilience. Being flexible and adaptable is one thing, but being able to do this while staying resilient is a true skill that is difficult to master.
Soft skills are often more important than hard skills. They can typically be utilized at almost any job and can make a big difference in how effective someone is in his or her role and team. However, these skills are tougher to train on, so employers should look for these skills in potential new employees.
*This article does not constitute legal advice. Always consult legal counsel with specific questions.