Soft skills also known as professional skills differ from hard skills that are more tangible and technical. These skills are more rooted in a person’s identity and aligned with a person’s disposition rather than a person’s skills in a particular vocation. Some examples of important soft skills are communication, teamwork, attitude and temperament during different situations.
Hard skills can be listed on your resume. They are easily recognizable, such as language proficiency, computer programming, typing speed, etc and can be listed as tangible skills that you can be certified for, but soft skills, on the other hand, are interpersonal skills. They are subjective and can be identified through your interactions and attitudes in different circumstances that define your work ethic in the office space or working location.
Whilst applying for a job, it is important for employers that you possess the hard skills required for the job, but soft skills are equally important for any job. They become important for employers because they define how a candidate will perform in their position. Soft skills are also transferable skills, they can be used irrespective of your job and are acquired over time and experience. These skills aren’t an all or none kind of skills. One can have adequate skills in one area and could still require work in other skills. To develop these skills, the first step is to recognize these areas in which they are not adequate.
With the growing introduction of technology in the modern workplace, soft skills are becoming increasingly important. More and more jobs that were based on hard skills are being substituted with technology and AI. The jobs that are going to be required in the future there is going to be a greater proportion of jobs that are reliant on the soft skills. Soft skills are not just important for the job market but as students, academic performance is not the only measure of a student’s ability, a student’s ability to network, to interact and attitudes in relation to other students are also important to perform and deliver results.
In today’s day and age with an increasing number of students attending college, colleges could help bridge the gap in soft skills that students might have and get them ready for life after college. Colleges could introduce courses such as civil and social responsibility, ethical reasoning, critical and creative thinking, analysis and problem solving and written and professional communications. Skills such as project management, conflict management, cultural acceptance, etiquette, courtesy, negotiating skills and time management are also skills that are integral for a person and can be taught at college.
Bringing the importance of soft skills to the forefront and inculcating it in the college curriculum will surely ensure all-round development of young individuals.