What are soft skills and why do they matter?

Updated: Feb 20, 2019

When you think about professional skills what comes to mind? Is it knowledge and proficiency in technology and software? Maybe it's being able to perform a trade? Or having a degree or accreditation? Other skills that might come to mind could be office-based, such as typing, filing, purchasing or budgeting. While these skills will make your résumé shine, there are skills that may boost your career even farther than the hard skills mentioned above.

Soft skills are the skills that sell who you are to an employee. Once you've acquired an impressive list of hard skills, what else do you bring to the table? Are you a competent communicator? Do you work well with others? Can you listen and receive information? Do you have a pleasant disposition that draws others toward you? Do you demonstrate the ability to problem solve? What about flexibility or staying calm under pressure? In many cases, these soft skills come into play more often in our daily lives and our ability to possess them may influence our professional fate more than we realize.

Soft skills are moving up the ladder of desirable skills employees possess. Studies and articles are being published showing strong links to soft skills and profitability. Forbes’ 2017 article even breaks down the return on investments that companies get when investing in soft skill development (hint: it's a big return). A University of Michigan study shows a link between workers with strong soft skills and productivity. It appears that what the research is showing is that an employee who is well versed in soft skills may more beneficial than an employee who is only flush with hard skills.

This is great news for those who possess a natural propensity for problem solving, communication, time management, leadership and teamwork. However, others who struggle with these skills should not feel hopeless. The good news is that soft skills are learned behaviors and can be acquired. Enrolling in soft skills training, such as the services All Hands In offers, can be just the boost your career needs to move you forward. And if you're a company looking to expand profitability, proficiency and professionalism, it may be time to start investing in soft skill training. Luckily, All Hands In is here to help you!


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