There are two kinds of skills that employees typically look for: soft skills and hard skills.

Hard skills are specific concrete professional abilities you can either perform or you can’t. They are techniques or knowledge you usually learn at school or through on-the-job training. They’re usually quantifiable and teachable such as accounting strategies, computer programming, or plumbing techniques. Once you acquire a hard skill, it usually stays with you throughout your entire career.

Soft skills are usually related to your personality and your people skills. They are more subjective and emotion-based than hard skills. Most of the ones you possess were not taught to you but are the natural result of your emotional intelligence and experience.

Unlike hard skills, which can be proven and measured, soft skills are intangible and difficult to quantify. Some examples of soft skills include analytical thinking, verbal and written communication, and leadership.

 

An Increasing Importance for Soft Skills

Between both soft and hard skills, research from the Society for Human Resource Management has found that employers actually care more about soft skills than they do technical abilities.

One reason soft skills are so revered is that they help facilitate human connections. “Soft skills are key to building relationships, gaining visibility, and creating opportunities for advancement,” says Kathy Robinson, founder of Boston career-coaching firm TurningPoint.

And that’s why we need to begin calling soft skills what they really are: Essential Skills. They are skills that are absolutely necessary to thrive in the modern world. This is backed up by the trend provided by World Economic Forum (WEF), that the skills needed to stay relevant in Industry 4.0 are more skewed towards being equipped with the relevant soft skills (Complex Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, Creativity and etc).

 

Essential Soft Skills For Your Career

1. Communication

Why you need it:

Both written and verbal communication skills are of utmost importance in the workplace because they set the tone for how people perceive you. They also improve your chances of building relationships with co-workers. Communication skills boost your performance because they help you to extract clear expectations from your manager so that you can deliver excellent work.

Why employers look for it:

Workers are more productive when they know how to communicate with their peers. If you can clearly express the who, what, when, where, why, and how of a project, you’ll be a hot ticket.

How to gain it:

 

2. Problem Solving

Why you need it:

When something goes wrong, you can either complain or take action. But it’s the latter that will get you noticed. Knowing how to think on your feet can make you indispensable to an employer.

Why employers look for it:

Nothing is a given. Companies rely on problem solvers—a.k.a. their top performers—to navigate unexpected challenges.

How to gain it:

 

3. Critical Observation

Why you need it:

Data doesn’t mean much if you don’t know how to interpret it. Is there a pattern emerging? What else should you be looking for? Being a critical observer can help make you a better worker all around.

Why employers look for it:

Companies need critical thinkers—people who bring a fresh perspective and offer intuitive solutions and ideas to help the company get a leg up on the competition or improve internal processes.

How to gain it:

 

4. Conflict Resolution

Why you need it:

“Any time you put more than one person into an organization, there is going to be conflict… It’s human nature.” Therefore, being able to resolve issues with co-workers will help you maintain relationships with peers and work more effectively.

Why employers want it:

Being able to constructively work through disagreements with people is a sure indicator of maturity—as well as leadership potential. Someone like this helps to promote a healthy, collaborative workplace.

How to gain it:

 

5. Leadership

Why you need it:

Having confidence and a clear vision can help influence your co-workers and get them on board with your ideas now and in the future. Displaying such leadership skills helps you gain visibility within an organization, which can lead to more opportunities for promotions or salary bumps.

Why employers want it:

Bosses and managers are always looking for employees with leadership potential because those workers will one day be taking over the reins and building on the company’s legacy.

How to gain it:

 

Sources:

https://resumegenius.com/blog/resume-help/hard-skills-vs-soft-skills

https://trevormuir.com/2019/02/07/soft-skills/

https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/soft-skills-you-need