Do soft skills matter to your career?

The greatest hurdle employers face when it comes to their staff involves basic competencies. Hard skills required for doing the job are usually intact. Hard skills are things like driving for a bus driver, math for an engineer, or spelling for an English teacher. The problem for employers is all the stuff in between.

Finding individuals that can interact well with customers and team members is a challenge. Finding individuals that can problem solve under pressure is sometimes almost impossible. Interpersonal skills are one of those things you hear about rarely in school (if you hear about them at all). But these are the things that get you a job and keep you a job in a fiercely competitive job market.

The industrial world has changed our general approach to education. Many years ago having skills as a brick layer would get you a job as a brick layer. But today with a wide range of people that can technically fill the role, employers can choose who they prefer to hire and they will undoubtedly prefer candidates that transcend baseline competencies.  Given the large pool of available candidates, wouldn’t you pick the brick layer with great communication and time management skills?

You definitely need the fundamental hard skills but soft skills are fundamental too. Employers want workers who are dependable, resourceful, ethical, self-directed and who demonstrate effective communication. The result is a productive, collaborative, customer-focused work place that spends less time resolving problems and more time breaking records.

If you want to be more than a brick layer, if you want a career instead of a job, you need soft skills.

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