The world of work is in a state of flux. The pandemic and ongoing digitalization has also taken a firm grip on our working lives and is bringing a breath of fresh air. Soft skills are becoming increasingly important and are almost more important than hard skills. But what are the qualities that really matter in this day and age?
What are soft skills?
Unlike hard skills (technical abilities), soft skills are not so easy to determine. Because these go into your personality and (interpersonal) behavior. So they are the cognitive skills, behavioral skills and emotional intelligence is also part of it. Unlike hard skills, we learn soft skills through life experience and not through training.
Why are soft skills important in working life?
Companies usually receive many applications for the open positions. The applicants often have the same skills that are needed for the job. In order to find the right employee, soft skills come to the fore. After all, the interaction is just as important as the work itself. It is therefore important to convince with personality.
According to Oxbridge Academy, soft skills are more important than ever for these 5 reasons:
- Hard skills are useless without soft skills. In the majority of jobs, knowledge alone is often not enough - interpersonal skills matter.
- Soft skills are more difficult to learn. Learning new skills is more challenging because it is directly linked to the character.
- The modern workplace is interpersonal. Qualities such as listening, team spirit and strong communication skills make for a productive, collaborative and healthy work environment.
- Customers demand soft skills. A company's customer service is one of the main reasons customers make decisions.
- The workplace of the future will rely on soft skills. Artificial intelligence can take away many jobs that require hard skills. This does not work for soft skills. That is precisely why they are becoming an essential feature.
The most important soft skills
In the next sections, we'll introduce you to the top 10 soft skills that are so important to our working world.
Think outside the Box
Innovations move us forward. But for that, you would have to dare to look for creative solutions, to try out new things and not take the standard route from A to B. Because the existing solutions are not necessarily the best ones.
Critical thinking helps you to question things and leave your comfort zone. These are the foundations for you to develop and grow.
With an independent way of working, you simply always score points. Employees who complete their tasks independently and contribute proactively are an asset to any company. Because your superiors don't always have to look over your shoulder, but can rely on you. This makes their working day much easier.
How do you communicate with customers, work colleagues and superiors? Especially in the age of digitalization, communication skills are more important than ever. Because nowadays, the majority of all agreements take place online - via e-mails, chats, video and telephone conferences. As an employee, you need to be able to get your point across in this way as well. No matter what industry or job you work in, communication skills are among the most important skills everywhere. This starts with your application.
Time management and productivity
Especially in the home office, time management is an essential skill, as the natural structure of the regular workday is lost. As an employee, you should know how to structure, prioritize and efficiently complete your tasks in order to deliver projects on time. Time management is a skill you can easily learn on your own. Use to-do lists, calendars, and goal setting.
We are all familiar with the term IQ, but can you also correctly classify EQ? EQ, or emotional quotient, is the ability to perceive, interpret, and respond to emotions - both your own and those of others. Empathy is not only important in your private life, but also helps you in interpersonal relationships at work.
Ability to work in a team
Companies act as one big team in which every single employee plays a role. In order for this to work, the ability to work in a team is a prerequisite. Time and again, you will encounter projects and assignments that you are expected to master together with your work colleagues. Even if the cooperation does not always run smoothly, it promotes overall efficiency. That's why teamwork - learning together, respecting and accepting each other - is an indispensable skill that must cut across all levels of business.
Cooperative action and conflict management
Disagreements can always arise. The main thing is that you resolve them effectively. The necessary skill in conflict management is a prerequisite for this. In conflict situations, be sure to remain calm, reasonable and leave your emotions out of it. This is the only way to resolve problems objectively.
Assertiveness is particularly required of managers. Because if you don't manage to assert yourself, you often lose out. In the worst case, you will be taken advantage of, not respected or not taken seriously. In addition, your assertiveness helps you when it comes to achieving goals or completing projects. Like all other skills, assertiveness is something that can be learned.
Employers want loyal employees. On the one hand, they provide positive publicity among acquaintances. On the other hand, they feel close to the company and work longer for a company. If you can identify with the values and goals of the company and feel loyalty, this has a positive effect on your performance.
Flexibility and dynamics
The importance of flexibility in the workplace has been made clear to us once again by the past year and by digitization. Rigid work structures cannot survive for long in today's world, just like the popular "garden-variety" thinking. Job sharing, home office and teamwork in general will get you to your goal faster.
Do you possess some of these soft skills and are you interested in new challenges? Then take your career one step further and get in touch with us. As headhunter specialists in the fields of construction and real estate, engineering and manufacturing, and digitalization, we can help you find your dream job.