Soft skills? Hard skills? How do they affect your employability? Well… if you’re not even sure what these terms mean, no worries – we’re here to sort it out for ya!
Hard skills are skills that you need in order to fulfill the requirement of performing that job in the first place. They differ according to industry and can be developed by training or education.
Soft skills are personal attributes that enable effective interaction and are self-developed or self-taught. Regardless of industry, soft skills are becoming increasing important as they help understand how to fit in and perform with their working environment.
So what hard skills are most sought after by employers? In January 2016, LinkedIn revealed the Top 25 highest in-demand skills from 2015. Unsurprisingly, the top 5 skills most hunted for by employers are tech-related skills:
Cloud and Distributed Computing
Statistical Analysis and Data Mining
Storage Systems and Management
User Interface Design
It’s pretty clear from the list above that having tech-related skills is a definite plus point for job seekers. Data management and interpretation to handle the massive amount of information out there remains one of the most sought after skill since 2014.
But for those not in the tech industry – do not despair! Non-tech related skills that made it to the Top 25 LinkedIn list include E&E Engineering, Corporate Law and Governance, Data Presentation, Social Media Marketing, Economics, Digital and Online Marketing, as well as military and defense (no idea why actually).
While hard skills get you into the company you desire, it’s the soft skills that KEEP you there.
As much as employers are looking for professionals with the desired technical skill sets, they are also looking for people who will be a good fit for the team or for the organisation too. This is where your wonderful personality should shine! This is also where all your soft skills come into play. Here is the list of the highest in demand soft skills that every employer would want in a potential employee:
Communication And Interpersonal Skills
Communication isn’t just the grasp of a language (that’s a hard skill anyway), it is also about knowing how to communicate your ideas, presenting or writing them so that your peers may understand it and you in a clear manner.
Your ability to deliver messages and information is indeed a key criterion for anyone hiring, but your interpersonal skills also play a big role. If you have a skill to deal well with people, it will ultimately determine if you are a team player, be more unlikely to have spats or misunderstandings, and ensure that work goes well!
Let’s face it – it’s a fast-paced world out there. Picking up new things and being able to multitask will help you to stay relevant in your workplace. If you have an ability to stay afloat in almost any endeavour thrown at you, you know you have what it takes to build a great career.
Project Management Skills And Prioritizing
Letting your employers know that you have project management skills will set your career path straight! The ability to prioritize and manage different tasks at hand shows that you have potential for growth. Hirers place very high criteria on the skill to carry out work in a non-chaotic manner!
Problem Solving Skills
Having creativity, reasoning and utilizing available resources to effectively address or resolve issues is what encompasses problem solving skills. The skill to be able to think on your feet and a quick, succinct manner will definitely get you real far.
Research Skills And Processing Of Information
Google is your best friend. However, discerning what is correct and what is not is highly dependent on your professional judgment. One needs to be able to assess information, interpret data and seek different perspectives to a situation by gathering more evidence, and of course presenting it as well. Having this skill will show that you are resourceful and will be able to make decisions by yourself without much supervision.
It may seem really cliché, but these soft skills are what fosters a dynamic workforce. You may even have these soft skills in your inventory but have never known that they can help you become a better contender in your job search!
Leverage both your hard and soft skills during your job interviews; make it known to your potential employers, speak about your experiences using these skills, tell them of how you view the importance of these skills and see how it will help you get hired!