Inspiring Success

A blog from Creating IT Futures

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January 6, 2020

What ARE Soft Skills? And Are They Really That Important?

In today’s competitive climate for landing a job working with technology, successful candidates bring their A-games to the table every day. These are people who possess not only hard skills — technical skills they’ve learned in order to do their jobs, such as proficiency with software, machinery or handling business processes— but also soft skills, which include behaviors and personality traits that often aren’t taught. These are the skills that enable people to navigate their business environment, work well with others and achieve their goals.

 

Are soft skills really that important?

 

Yes, according to Indeed.com, a leading online jobsite. In fact, according to an article on the company’s website: “Some employers say they would prefer to hire someone with well-developed soft skills and then teach them the technical skills required for their jobs, as soft skills are at times more difficult to develop.”

 

Some of the soft skills most valued by employers are:

  • Effective communication skills
  • Organization
  • Teamwork
  • Dependability
  • Adaptability
  • Conflict resolution
  • Flexibility
  • Leadership
  • Problem-solving
  • Creativity
  • Work ethic
  • Integrity

 

CompTIA, the leading tech association, also reports that soft skills matter more in IT jobs than many people think. (Creating IT Futures is CompTIA’s tech workforce charity.) They allow you to communicate well, stay organized or stay calm under pressure.

 

According to a CompTIA career success article, a variety of soft skills are paramount to job success.

 

For example, employees must be able to effectively communicate with supervisors, colleagues, customers and others to solve technology problems, work well on teams, and lead themselves and others. Organizational skills help employees be efficient and productive. Project management skills allow employees to coordinate multiple projects, meet deadlines and set and reach goals.

 

Another term sometimes used interchangeably with “soft skills” is “emotional intelligence or emotional quotient (EQ).” This term was coined by researchers Peter Salavoy and John Mayer and popularized by Dan Goleman in his 1996 book Emotional Intelligence. A common definition found on Wikipedia is: “The capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.”

 

EQ enables people to recognize their own emotions and those of others, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and manage or adjust emotions to adapt to environments or achieve one's goal.

 

Whether you call them soft skills or emotional intelligence, they’re necessary for success when seeking a position working with technology in today’s job market. When paired with solid technical skills, they make a highly valued and much sought-after combination in the eyes of employers.

 

Related Posts from CompTIA and Creating IT Futures