Hard skills are related to specific technical knowledge and training while soft skills are personality traits such as leadership, communication or time management. Both types of skills are necessary to successfully perform and advance in most jobs. Getting hard skills usually requires education or specialized training. They include skills like knowing how to utilize a specific device, piece of software, or equipment.Soft skills are more often seen as personality traits you may have spent your whole life developing.Soft skills are also known as common skills or core skills, that are applicable to all professions. These include critical thinking, problem solving, public speaking, professional writing, teamwork, digital literacy, leadership, professional attitude, work ethic, career management and intercultural fluency.A hard skill for a carpenter, for example, might be the ability to operate a power saw or use framing squares. A soft skill would be the carpenter’s ability to communicate effectively with co-workers and clients.
Why are soft skills important?
Any organization is made of people and its success mainly depends on capabilities of the human resources and on the kind of collaboration they are able to establish (Cimatti,2016). Good hard skills alone may no longer be sufficient to make you the first choice for promotion.Good communication skills can easily be used to cover up a lack in hard skills. Nowadays in general, people who are extroverted, who are good at marketing themselves, and who are socializing easily are rated superior to others who lack those attributes. The good old technician, an ace in his field, but being introverted and saying less than ten complete sentences a day is not appreciated any longer(Schulz,2008). On the other hand, soft skills are not only necessary to work, they are essential to everyday life.
Where can soft skills be acquired?
Enrolling in formal training is one way. The advantage of this kind of training is having a certificate at the end of the course which is useful for a job application.The second way for acquiring soft skills can be self-training based on books.
Emotional intelligence is a learned ability to identify, experience, understand, and express human emotions in healthy and productive ways. Daniel Goleman is the author and psychologist who put emotional intelligence on the business map. He found that, beyond a certain point, there is little or no correlation between IQ and high levels of professional success.Soft skills are related to the way in which you interact with colleagues, solve problems, and manage your work, while emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and be aware of your emotions and those of others.Emotional intelligence skills form the base of competences that all soft skills are built upon.
Dean, S. A. (2017). Soft skills needed for the 21st century workforce (Doctoral dissertation, Walden University).
Schulz, B. (2008). The importance of soft skills: Education beyond academic knowledge.
Hirsch, B. J. (2017). Wanted: Soft skills for today’s jobs. Phi Delta Kappan, 98(5), 12-17.
Cimatti, B. (2016). Definition, development, assessment of soft skills and their role for the quality of organizations and enterprises. International Journal for quality research, 10(1), 97.
Kyllonen, P. C. (2013). Soft skills for the workplace. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 45(6), 16-23.