What makes a great employee? Is it the ability to fit in with company culture, connect with a customer, or communicate efficiently? What about if they exhibit great leadership qualities or creative-problem solving techniques? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then what makes a great employee is their soft skills.
Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills
When identifying the right candidate, employers will be looking for someone with a mixture of hard and soft skills. According to Indeed, hard skills are “often gained through education or specific training,” and can include the following:
- Data analysis
- Certifications or trainings
- Computer knowledge
- Writing ability
In addition to the what’s listed above, hard skills will include your specific experience from previous jobs. For example, if you worked as a chef, the ability to cook and follow a recipe would be a hard skill. In comparison, soft skills are “more often seen as personality traits you may have spent your whole life developing,” such as:
- Time management
While there are ways to grow soft skills, they can’t be attained through specific training or experience because they’re traits that are developed based on who you are as a person –– and they’re just as valuable as hard skills.
What are the benefits of soft skills?
Great time management, ability to communicate well, and team collaboration are all highly valuable traits in the workplace (especially for leaders). In most cases, these traits cannot be taught, whereas hard skills can. It’s must easier to train a new employee on a system or process, like a software your company uses, than it is to help develop someone’s soft skills.
Not only that, but during the recruiting process if you’re placing a higher value on soft skills and have a willingness to train, your candidate pool will open up. You might be connected with someone who’s the perfect fit for your organization because you are willing to help them develop their hard skills. It can also aid in employee retention because you’ve found someone whose personality blends well with your company’s values and goals.
For job seekers
According to a recent survey, the most requested skill for entry level workers is communication, with customer service coming up second. Having impressive soft skills is a great way to get your foot in the door of an industry that you may be lacking experience in. By highlighting these personality traits, prospective employers will get a good idea of if you’ll fit in well with their team and if they need to develop your hard skills.
Having the right soft skills can also open up what positions you’re eligible for. Maybe a business is looking for an entry-level employee, but your leadership qualities and confidence make you the perfect candidate for a management position. Or perhaps your desire to learn makes you the right fit to cross-train. On your resume and during your interview, don’t forget to highlight these traits so they stand out.