When the job search comes around and you start preparing your resume, it seems only natural to focus on your hard skills, right? We’ve been taught to emphasize specific experiences that qualify us for the position and field we desire; skills we’ve learned through our schooling or internship experience. In other words, we learn to stress our hard skills that are measurable talents and abilities that employers look for in a hire. However, the reality is that, while employers want to see that an applicant can perform well in their position and specific industry, they also want someone who demonstrates the ability to be a good employee.
Soft skills are human skills. They’re defined as personal attributes that allow an individual to interact efficiently and harmoniously with others. We typically associate soft skills with certain jobs such as customer service positions, but they’re important regardless of the types of jobs we acquire.
Technology has made great strides over the last few years, and it has replaced job tasks in a multitude of fields. Automation has made many work operations easier, reduced labor costs, and reduced the risk of error; however, soft skills, like empathy or social-emotional skills, are not able to be replicated by a machine. Employers greatly value an employee with soft skills because they bring more to the team than just their ability to perform their tasks well.
According to a 2019 study by Deloitte, “2/3 of jobs will be human skill intensive by 2030.” While 2030 is a ways away, this report projects that soft skills will be the job currency of the future. Automation is great for handling labor-intensive tasks, but human interaction, communication, and cooperation are the heart of any successful organization. When an employee builds upon their soft skills, their productivity increases; this, in turn, causes business productivity to increase which ultimately improves the company’s bottom line—a win-win for all. For those on their career journey, building on and improving their soft skills should be one of their top priorities.
One of the main reasons employers look for soft skills in a potential hire is that it’s a great indicator of longevity. Conflict resolution, adaptability, motivation, and commitment to your position shows employers that you’re more likely to stick around purely through your determination to work through issues or tasks. With that comes your ability to be self-sufficient, and also your ability to work with your team to tackle work-related difficulties. It shows that you can grow with your company which means employers can expect a decreased turnover rate.
Teams that work together, grow together. This is why building strong relationships is an essential part of a successful business. Employers want to see that an employee can represent their company respectfully and professionally while actively putting effort into building work relationships. Regardless of what hard skills you possess, employers often focus on how well you can fit into a group dynamic. Soft skills, like teamwork and communication, play a heavy role here, and if you fail to prove that you can work well with others, you’re unlikely to get the job.
Essentially, soft skills are indicators to employers that you can work and interact with others. Of course, hard skills are important and ensure that you’re qualified for the job itself, but soft skills are what land you the position. Developing soft skills can take time. Take time for reflection and introspection to determine what skills you could improve upon. Remember, soft skills are human skills, and they don’t require extensive training to perfect. Present your soft skills with confidence, both on your resume and throughout the interview process, and you’re sure to get the job.