There is nothing soft about soft skills. They are the most powerful skills you can master.
Soft skills can be learned but they’re difficult to measure and they usually aren’t found on a resume. They include traits like good listener, polite or good communicator.
Hard skills are also teachable but they can be measured. Things such as writing, math, etc. are hard skills and are typically taught in school. They appear on job postings as required skills. You either have them or you don’t.
We tend to forget about our soft skills and focus on stacking our resume with diplomas, certifications and degrees. The challenge is that hard skills look great on a resume and can get you an interview but it’s your soft skills that will get you the job.
David Deming has conducted many studies on the differences between soft and hard skills and one such study found the following:
- 15% of technical skills (another name for hard skills) will get you a job, help you keep your job, and advance you in a job.
- 85% of job success is connected to your personal or soft skills
They found that the jobs in the future paying the big bucks will require good soft skills and the jobs requiring these same soft skills are increasing in numbers.
They don’t say why they are increasing but my guess is that mobile devices and technology are challenging our soft skills. The importance of our manners, face to face conversations and social skills are not being learned and practiced like before. Why talk to someone when you can text them? Isn’t this what most of us do now?
Why focus your time, attention and money on only 15% of your job or career success? It doesn’t make sense to disregard 85% of what matters to your future and career. Prepare yourself with the skills you need and differentiate yourself from the crowd.
That’s why I refer to soft skills as life skills.
They not only improve your chances of getting and keeping a job but they are also required to run a successful business, lead a team and much more.
Remember “Image is Everything”.