Soft skills determine how well we interact with others. When it comes to landing a job they are very important. Not only do they complement your education, learning or work experience (hard skills), but they help you to connect with your interviewer, and prove that you will interact well with colleagues if you secure the role you’re interviewing for.
What are soft skills?
Soft skills incorporate your personality traits, social graces, communication, language, personal habits, friendliness, and optimism. All of these factors work together to characterise your relationships with other people.
Why are they important?
Despite the challenges of finding good technical skills, in today’s modern market, its the candidate’s soft skills which usually win over an employer – sometimes even at the expense of technically better candidates.
This applies to junior and entry-level positions, and your soft skills will continue to be scrutinised more and more as you move into senior roles.
As the IT sector grows, evolves and infiltrates more industries, companies are making hiring decisions with an increasing focus placed on soft skills – a collaborative team working environment is a core element of many successful tech companies, and soft skills are fundamental to this.
Why do companies think they are important?
There is a direct relationship between soft skills and workers’ effectiveness, and of course greater effectiveness on the job translates to better overall business results.
“A higher degree of soft-skills competency brings improved effectiveness and improved organisational results, and that in turn drives greater employee engagement and retention” – Kevin King, founder and CEO of management consulting and assessment firm, Transformation Point.
Success nowadays is about partnerships and collaboration, with other businesses and with customers. The days in which an IT professional can hide behind a computer screen are over, and whether in person or through a social network every member of a company is likely to be responsible for building important relationships.
What can you do to help improve your soft skills?
- Be prepared to learn and change- There are plenty of tools on the internet to help motivate you to learn and grow. TED videos are a brilliant resource – they have great speakers and cover all different types of subjects. If you enjoy reading then check out Amazon for different coaching books.
- Evaluation – If you are willing to spend a bit of money there are a number of key personality profile evaluation tools that you can chose from. More than ever, companies are relying on these kind of tools to assist with the hiring process. They are helpful and very accurate. Your results will give you a clear idea about your personality, and what you can do to engage with people more effectively.
- Self-reflection – Let’s be honest, we all have a perception in our minds about what we are like, but this can differ from reality. It’s important to be honest with yourself, so write a list of your strengths and weaknesses and get your friends to write one about you as well. Compare the similarities and differences to determine how accurate your perception is, you might be surprised!
- Set goals – Where do you want your career to take you? Without this clarity it is hard to get where you want to go. Successful people set goals to test themselves and to make sure they keep learning and developing.
- Practice – Your soft skills are behaviours, and in order to grow or change them you will have to focus and practice in real time. Use your friends and family to help track the changes you are making.
At Just IT, soft skills training comes as part of the course. We know the importance of equipping IT professionals with both the skills to do, and to find their job. To find out how we can help you, visit our Individual Training page, or give us a call on 020 7426 9835.