What are soft skills?

May 27, 2022

Find out which are those skills that will give you a plus at the time of competing for a job, get a promotion or grow in your professional life.

Nowadays, to get a position or be successful in the working life it is not enough to have technical knowledge, experience, and academic training. In recent years, another type of skills that are not acquired precisely by studying them at a university have gained importance: soft skills.

Also, soft skills refer to the social competencies that enable people to integrate and develop successfully in the workplace. It is true that they are not easy to quantify and are usually subjective because they are mainly related to the way in which an individual relates to others or the way in which they face the situations they are presented with.

Soft skills specifications

In short, soft skills are general characteristics that help people thrive in their work regardless of the functions they perform, the time they have in the position or the industry sector to which they belong. For the most part, they are intangible and transferable skills, as they are applicable to any job or career.

Soft skills can be innate or acquired. Some are intrinsic to the personality; others are developed from personal experiences influenced by the environment or family. It is also possible to acquire them through courses, workshops or even by creating habits.

Importance of soft skills

In a labor market as competitive as today’s, it is necessary to differentiate between an individual capable of performing certain tasks and another who can do the same, but in the best way. In addition to competing with equally or even better prepared candidates, some professionals face other challenges to stay relevant in their positions. It is indisputable that technological advances can replace a worker in many cases, however, this is where soft skills play a decisive role.

In fact, according to a study conducted by LinkedIn, 57% of senior leaders consider soft skills more important than hard skills. Likewise, 59% of these leaders believe that soft skills are hard to find, as well as believing that they are a key element in boosting the productivity of companies.

Examples of soft skills

To get a clearer idea of the subject in question, we will name some soft skills that, complemented with those acquired through academic training and work experience (hard skills), complement the ideal profile of employees.

In this sense, for inexperienced candidates, the following soft skills are highly valued:

  • Learning ability.
  • Teamwork.
  • Commitment.
  • Proactivity.
  • Flexibility (adaptability to change).

On the other hand, in the case of senior candidates, the following skills are appreciated:

  • Team management.
  • Strategic vision.
  • Results oriented.
  • Influence capacity.

Finally, there are other skills that are generally important such as: self-motivation, goal orientation, autonomy, sense of priority and urgency, planning and organization, among many others. However, today there are soft skills that are especially in demand, among which the following stand out:

  1. Emotional intelligence and stress management. To form and sustain high-performance teams, it is essential to know how to manage emotions and be able to deliver results even under pressure or in unforeseen conditions, while maintaining a calm attitude and a good disposition.
  2. Creativity and innovation. Having employees who think outside the box and contribute disruptive ideas is an important added value for companies that want to be in constant evolution.
  3. Expressing yourself clearly both in writing and verbally is essential in any job. Reporting progress, expressing opinions, or communicating ideas with criteria of assertiveness and timeliness is key.
  4. To exercise leadership, it is not necessary to hold supervisory or management positions, it is also relevant to have the ability to stimulate co-workers, identify improvements and share knowledge in order to achieve common goals.
  5. Critical thinking. The ability to form one’s own judgments through the analysis and evaluation of the circumstances and the context in which they occur is another aspect that favors the operability of the companies.
  6. Personal productivity and time management. Employees who make the most of the working day to meet the objectives set are appreciated in organizations that demand ever greater results.
  7. Cultural fit. It is important for companies that their employees feel identified with their organizational culture. Sharing values makes employees happier with what they do, more productive and loyal.

In the end, each position has an ideal profile that is built with the sum of hard and soft skills. But it is also true that the softer skills an employee has, the more successful he or she will be, which will obviously have a positive impact on the company to which he or she belongs.

And you, what do you think is the most important soft skill? Comment on our social networks.