Soft skills are personal attributes that enable individuals to interact effectively and harmoniously with others. They are also known as interpersonal or social skills, including communication, empathy, collaboration, and adaptability. These skills are essential in many settings, including the workplace, social interactions, and personal relationships.
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There are many different ways to develop soft skills. Some strategies include practicing active listening, seeking feedback from others, and participating in training and development opportunities. Additionally, simply being aware of the importance of soft skills and making a conscious effort to improve them can be a great first step.
This blog will explore soft skills and how to develop them. We will also discuss the benefits of having solid and soft skills and provide practical tips and advice for improving these essential abilities. Whether you are looking to improve your communication skills, build stronger relationships, or be more effective in your daily interactions, this blog will provide valuable information and insights.
What are the soft skills?
Skills are divided into soft and hard. The second includes specific professional competencies: programming, text editing, and testing mobile applications.
Soft skills include socio-psychological: sociability and empathy, critical thinking, and the ability to work in a team. They are also called interpersonal skills.
None of the soft skills relate to a specific profession, but they help to quickly adapt to specialists who change their occupation more than once.
Developing soft skills means helping yourself survive the rhythm of work projects and personal and career challenges.
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Soft skills are personal attributes crucial for success in the workplace and other social interactions. They include abilities such as communication, empathy, and leadership. A study by Harvard, Stanford, and the Carnegie Foundation found that soft skills account for 85% of a person's professional success, while hard skills only make up 15%. In a 2017 study, Google found that their most productive teams were composed of employees with solid and soft skills. Improved communication, empathy, and leadership skills were crucial to job success.
Develop tomorrow’s soft skills today
Robots may take our jobs, but we are not doomed. We have a chance as long as companies recognize the importance of the skills of the future and develop areas in which artificial intelligence cannot surpass humans.
Every second headline in the media on the topic of the labor market inspires workers with fear of the future. Often it sounds like this: "robots are after your work, and there is nothing you can do about it." To some extent, the first part of this message is correct: automation is on the rise, so many positions will be filled with new technology. But the last part is not true. People will continue to be in demand in companies that recognize the skills of the future and develop areas where robots are ineffective.
Who needs soft skills and why?
Flexible, professional skills help a specialist to interact with colleagues in work situations and quickly find mutual understanding in a team. For example, product managers need to be able to present solutions to management and for developers to give constructive feedback.
One of the essential flexible skills for any specialist is the ability to work on mistakes: admit them, analyze them and offer solutions
The ability to pass interviews is also a soft skill. For example, you need to talk about your competencies in an interview with a recruiter. To do this, a social media specialist should present his case with indicators of a successful advertising campaign. A designer should show the latest created sites and tell what tasks were solved with the help of design.
How to Present Soft Skills in An Interview?
The way you present matters. It doesn't matter if you're writing a CV or resume, interviewing, or sending a cover letter; employers are always interested in one thing - what facts confirm your skills?
You can't just write, "I have communication skills," and not confirm this fact everywhere - even at the first conversation with HR.
Therefore, write only about the skills you have or are learning; any interview is an excellent opportunity to practice applying some soft skills.
A sample plan for describing your soft skills might look like this:
Select skills that will be useful in a new place.
There is no need to list everything in the world; it is enough to indicate 3-4 strong skills necessary for this profession and that you possess. If you are applying for a manager position, focus on management and leadership, a developer position on problem-solving and learning, a business analyst position on communication and customer focus, etc.
Present the facts.
Even in a relatively short CV, you can neatly list a few examples of tasks you have solved using soft skills. For more meaningful summaries, the facts should be given under every mention of any soft skill. Tell us exactly how you communicated with the client, looked for a way out of non-standard situations, built relationships with a "difficult" colleague, and so on. These facts can be evenly distributed throughout the document to support the impression. And the same image should be made in the interview; behave according to the skills you indicated.
Add transferable skills.
There is no need to be ashamed of your current profession; you have spent time learning and gaining experience that can be useful anywhere, and it is essential to present it correctly. A good selection of transferable skills shows the employer that you don't feel like you've wasted your time elsewhere. It will therefore feel the same way about working in a new location significantly if you change your profession or even the direction of activity within the same company.
Remember, communication is an essential skill to make or break your career.
What soft skills to develop, where to use and how to upgrade?
Below is the list of the most essential 14 soft skills examples that you need to develop for career success:
- Critical thinking
- Service/Customer focus
- The project, people, and self-management
- Teaching and mentoring
- Decision making
- Emotional intelligence
- Nonverbal communication
- Knowledge management
Soft skills are the future of the labor market
Because educational institutions emphasize technical or hard skills, many workers enter the labor market unprepared. They are not equipped with the soft skills that will drive their careers in the future. Businesses need to shift their focus away from learning hard skills and invest in the future by giving employees opportunities to learn and develop soft skills.
So what will help people work with technology, not against it? Let's look at the five most important soft skills of the future.
1. Empathy and communication skills
Building trust and relationships between companies and consumers are essential in almost every industry. As much as we try to optimize sales and service by replacing people with technology, human participation is still paramount in these areas. Without a genuine human connection or communication with a sensitive person, there will be no trust.
According to Google researchers, 60% of consumers still prefer talking to someone. And CGS's Learning And Outsource study showed that almost 50% of consumers in chats would also like to communicate with a real person rather than with a robot. Therefore, some companies are already beginning to develop the necessary soft skills by training employees in empathy and communication skills.
2. Critical thinking
No matter how advanced our technologies become, it will be people who will make important decisions and think about innovative approaches. Critical thinking skills, including creative problem-solving and adaptability, will be essential in the job market. Therefore, businesses should invest in the development of soft skills now.
Many law firms today use artificial intelligence to find and identify documents in court cases, but judges and juries still make the final decisions. Companies are beginning to recognize the importance of soft skills: for example, hiring managers are now more likely to evaluate candidates' problem-solving skills than technical skills.
3. Creative approach
In the future, creativity will become the third most important work skill. This means that creative roles will not only be protected from automation, but creative skills such as discipline, curiosity, and an open mind will grow in importance and demand over time. Therefore, businesses should invest equally in developing the creative skills of their employees.
4. Strategic thinking
Many companies automate specific tasks and use algorithms based on big data. Although these tools can help save time, they cannot solve strategic problems. Our assistants only provide numbers and statistics.
People with strong strategic thinking skills can make sense of this information and make critical business decisions based on it. Investing in the development of strategic thinking of employees will allow companies to implement successful business strategies in the future.
5. Imagination, innovation, and vision
We forget that there are people with a unique vision behind innovation and progress. They dream of the future and know what it should be. Computers lack the imagination for this. Companies in every industry will benefit from encouraging inspiration and innovation by allowing employees to develop their skills and grow inside or outside their roles.
How to develop soft skills on your own?
Information about soft skills development is abundant: books on self-development, courses on teamwork, and podcasts on how to build a career and develop in life and the profession. Studying all the lectures and attending all the training does not mean soft mastering skills.
For those who are seriously thinking about the formation of soft skills but do not know where to start, we have collected five recommendations from the expert:
1. Do not learn theory to show
The theory is easy to find on the Internet in a couple of minutes, but it will only be information, not active knowledge or skill that can be applied.
For example, when asked about his reaction to feedback, a candidate found advice on what to say in interviews on the Internet. And now he will answer recruiters: "How do I react? Of course, I accept and immediately correct everything." But in reality, he is angry and begins to argue with his colleagues. It turns out only a memorized answer instead of mastering the skill.
2. Improve not a list of skills, but the ability to analyze situations
Learning soft skills should be approached based on what "hurts," which interferes with work or life.
For example, it is unpleasant for a designer when his creative work is criticized. He struggles to listen to feedback, passive-aggressively responds to client questions and argues with the art director.
In this case, the growth zone for soft skills is the development of emotional intelligence and critical thinking. The specialist allows emotions to overwhelm him and cannot analyze the situation. Therefore he forgets that feedback is a review of the work done and not a person's characteristics.
To develop skills means to try and explore everything in practice. This is where contact with other people is essential. For example, it is helpful for a data scientist to participate in hackathons, where you can try your hand at solving problems and get feedback from the victims.
4. Practice with a mentor
Find a mentor you want to look up to and start learning from him. For example, agree to review specific projects once a month: what has been done, what would you like to improve, and what skills could help with this. Or take the advice of a career coach and develop a personal strategy for developing soft skills.
5. Master the concept of continuous learning
This concept helps develop soft skills, flexibility of thinking, and constant expansion of horizons for professional growth.
No need to try to fight with yourself and force yourself to pump soft skills. New knowledge cannot be acquired from constant resistance and tension, so developing soft skills should be perceived as a lifelong journey.
Soft Skills- Conclusion
Developing the soft skills of tomorrow in the workplace enables employees to realize the abilities that make them human. We all need this to work together with artificial intelligence and not fight with it for work.
Also, narrow expertise and experience are no longer as valuable in the eyes of employers as they used to be if soft skills do not back them up.
Sharpen your soft skills, and...