What separates two technically proficient employees? Imagine there are two accountants vying for a managerial position. Both have a firm grasp of accounting and an ability to use the latest software tools even in their sleep. Who would be promoted to the managerial role? What extra skills would the accountants need to have to prove themselves worthy of the new role?
The answer? SOFT SKILLS.
Hard skills are job specific skills like networking, database management, forensic accounting, systems administration and supply chain management. Hard skills can help you get the job. After all, they show your expertise and your ability to do the needed job.
However, today’s world is ultra-competitive and you need soft skills to differentiate from the crowd.
Soft skills are skills that you can utilize in any job functions. They are intangible personality traits that are not job specific. Some people call such skills emotional intelligence. Skills such as flexibility, confidence, communication and diplomacy are examples of soft skills. Soft skills are life skills that would help you even outside work.
In order to develop your soft skills, you must improve your personality. Many people restrict themselves to just gaining technical skills. However, technical skills alone would not make you succeed in your job. You should interact with people and make a more conscious effort to develop these soft skills. For example, if your communication skills are sub-par, take speaking classes and business writing classes.
You may not be able to evaluate your level of competence in terms of soft skills. Discuss with your supervisors, co-workers and friends. With the feedback you get from them, you would be able to make improvement plans.
Having soft skills enable you to enjoy your job more because you have a better relationship with your co-workers.
Soft skills separate you from other equally technically proficient employees.
Soft skills position you for leadership opportunities.
In order to get the benefits above, you should improve your soft skills. Improve your communication -written and verbal. Be diplomatic. Project a positive attitude at work. Be trustworthy. Show confidence. Develop a strong work ethic.
If you have not thought much about cultivating the intangible skills above, then you should because without these soft skills above, it would be difficult to climb the ladder of success in your career.