Hard skills, soft skills – what exactly are they? Hard skills are the technical skills, the kinds of abilities based on objective, clear-cut, unchanging knowledge. They are the ability to manipulate the tangible world of objects. Examples of hard skills are accounting and finance, engineering, coding, construction design.
Soft skills are more amorphous and open to interpretation. They relate to personality traits and interpersonal relationships. They deal with the intangible world of human relations. These kinds of skills are things like resilience, perseverance, self-confidence, the ability to accept criticism, critical thinking and problem solving, effective communication, adaptability, negotiation skills, the ability to learn, empathy and working with others.
Why Do The Soft Skill Matter?
Why Soft Skills are Important
The importance of hard skills is obvious, and they are the ones that colleges and universities focus on when educating students. Soft skills are just as important, although in the past many companies did not value them as much as the hard skills. But because of advances in technology and the changing nature of work and the economy, soft skills have acquired much greater significance.
Interpersonal skills have become more important because people now are working collaboratively much more than in the past. To be successful, employees need to know how to work with others. Moreover, we are constantly acquiring new knowledge and making advances in technology. Hard skills can become quickly outdated. People need soft skills such as the ability to learn, adaptability, and resilience to keep up with the changes and growth in their fields.
The world has become much more complex, the economy, more service-oriented, knowledge more expansive. People need soft skills just as much as hard skills to navigate and advance in this kind of world.
Developing Soft Skills
There is no user’s manual on how to develop soft skills. Developing traits like resilience and perseverance is something we do through a conscious effort by how we approach our tasks each day. It takes ongoing effort and self-discipline.
Another way to help in developing soft skills is by seeking out a mentor, someone who has a lot of experience in your profession. This is a person you can go to for advice and counsel on how to work on soft skills.
To develop interpersonal skills, you need to get involved in activities where you engage with other people, such as volunteering, joining professional and community organizations.
Are you looking for candidates with the right combination of soft and hard skills?
At Opti, we look beyond the resume and the job description, because making a good hire is about more than just a matching skill set. It’s about personality and culture fit, business perspectives, work ethic, management style, long-term company and career goals and more. We see the big picture. If your company is looking for people, contact Opti today.