To do your job well, you need technical skills – the so-called hard skills, In English. It is the technical knowledge specified for the performance of its duties.
But the professional world is no longer the same. And therefore, soft skills Social and emotional skills – may now be just as important as technical knowledge, or even greater.
These skills are more subtle and discreet. Think about the behaviors and personal characteristics that make a person a good leader or team player.
Especially now, with the normalization of remote work and changes in ways of collaboration and innovation, companies are beginning to realize the importance of these intangible capabilities to successfully build diverse teams.
The result, experts say, is that employers are increasingly taking into account soft skills Candidates, in addition to their experience and technical expertise.
For some professionals, some of these skills are innate – personality traits that make a person a good communicator or thinker by nature. But for others, it evolves and improves soft skills It could be more difficult.
However, all professionals can develop and improve these characteristics, learning to demonstrate them. Experts say we should all do it.
What are “soft skills”?
There is no definitive list of soft skillsEssentially, they are skills that transcend technology.
Dexterity with certain software, for example, is a kind of difficult skill; Knowing how to analyze different software packages to figure out which company you should use requires critical thinking, which is soft skills.
Another important area of soft skills It is communication. Effective communication with colleagues, clients, and superiors requires ingenuity and emotional intelligence. Empathy, teamwork and solidarity are also skills that are part of this group.
expression soft skills They are just terms, according to Eric Fraser, the book’s author Psychology of Top Talent (“The Psychology of Great Giftedness”, free translation) and Professor of Psychology at Yale University School of Medicine in the United States.
For him, “From the standpoint of behavioral science, it actually refers to a series of mindsets and behaviours. Some examples of mindsets that represent soft skills They can be someone who is always learning, or someone who is very resilient. And many behaviors are also soft skills – [como] Critical thinking, active listening, and creative problem solving, to name a few.”
Essentially, Fraser adds, the phrase is just another definition of “interpersonal skills.”
“It has to do with people’s sense of themselves and how they relate to others.”
different types of soft skills Highly practical, such as efficiency, prioritization, organization and time management – characteristics that are increasingly important for remote workers and hybrid workers.
“High performers have the discipline to organize their day and are very effective in a set amount of time,” Fraser says.
And the soft skills They are not only useful at work. In general, they are valuable resources. The same skills that allow professionals to operate successfully within the company hierarchy and rise to the top also generate successful personal relationships, for example.
As many high-tech parts of the job are automated or replaced by technological tools, companies are looking for professionals who can solve problems, juggle greater responsibilities, and work well with others.
The current labor shortage in some countries has also made companies focus on the long term. Employees with sufficient emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills to reach leadership positions offer much more value.
In addition to, soft skills It’s becoming even more important in the post-pandemic landscape, with largely remote work. Communication can be more subtle and complex when professionals don’t see their colleagues in person.
The ability to adapt is another type of soft skills It is badly needed, as it has shown above all in the past two years. Therefore, employers are actively looking for candidates who have these skills.
A 2021 analysis of more than 80 million job openings in 22 industries conducted by the education NGO America Succeeds found that nearly two-thirds of the jobs listed soft skills Among the qualifications required.
Among the job postings, among the ten most in-demand skills, there were seven soft skillsincluding communication, problem solving and planning.
The same report showed that certain types of jobs give more priority soft skills. These skills were the most desirable qualifications in 91% of management positions, 86% of business operations jobs, and 81% of engineering jobs—which may be surprising given that this is a high-tech field.
“When you look at the job market today, obviously there has been a shift, and it is no longer enough to have what I call ‘tacit knowledge’ and ‘tacit skills’… that is, you are good at what you do. If you are an engineer, you are good. in programming or design. If you’re in finance, you’re good at analyzing numerical data,” explains Fraser.
Companies have changed to the point where, he says, “there is a deeper understanding of the need for people to come first before performing.”
This does not mean that technical skills are no longer required, Fraser adds, but companies are increasingly recognizing that emphasizing the soft skills that bring them together is what “gets great results.”
the report The future of work 2021: global employment outlook (“The Future of Work 2021: Global Hiring Outlook”, in free translation), from global job site Monster, showed that soft skills How collaboration, reliability and flexibility are some of the skills that employers value most in professionals.
However, executives say they struggled for years to find candidates with a pool of soft skills Well developed.
Part of that, Fraser says, is that it’s hard to identify skills like imagination and flexibility.
“Surveys and questionnaires don’t really capture these traits with great accuracy,” he says.
And candidates don’t necessarily feature these skills on their resume or LinkedIn pages — as they should, according to Frazer.
Crafting your ‘innovative mindset’
This more focus on soft skills It can discourage some professionals, especially those who are not inherently good communicators or “born leaders,” as Fraser puts it.
But he points out that these are skills that can be learned, even by people who may need to work a little harder.
“People who want to improve their job performance, be a better professional, or have more work-life balance understand and appreciate the value of continuous improvement of these mindsets and behaviors,” Fraser says.
We tend to know our strengths, but improving our interpersonal skills begins with asking for feedback to identify our weaknesses and weaknesses. Getting better may require making an effort to get out of our comfort zone.
If you want to improve your creative thinking or problem-solving skills, for example, try participating in it Brainstorming With the creators in your company.
Emotional intelligence can also be enhanced by developing social awareness and learning to control your emotions and respond to others with empathy.
In addition to improving career prospects, there are other benefits: Research indicates that people with higher emotional intelligence are less likely to be stressed and anxious.
As hiring managers increasingly look for people with these intangible skills, they can direct their questions during job interviews to try to figure it out. soft skills of the candidates.
“When you ask someone to ‘give an example of a time when you were quite resilient in your work life’ or ‘tell a story that highlights your innovative mindset,’ you ask the candidate to demonstrate these ideas,” Fraser explains.
As for the interviewee, “let’s say the interviewer asks ‘What do you think of lifelong learning?'” This is the time to show the interviewer that you are willing and motivated to learn – and have the skills to do so.
“The best answer is to say, ‘Well, I went to this conference last year; I participate in this webinar once a month; I just read this book; And I subscribed to this industry publication,” according to Fraser’s guidelines.
To better prepare for such situations, candidates must first identify their key soft skills And be prepared to prove it, he said.
Technical knowledge and experience on your resume will always be important.
But in the new job market, it’s not enough for them on their own – you still need to convince recruiters that you have the skills. soft skills Essential for professional success.
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