Soft Skills Vs. Hard Skills

Soft Skills Vs. Hard Skills

November 21, 2016

Most jobs require specific skills – operating a cash register, running an automated car washing machine, diagnosing car engine problems and fixing them, or speaking in front of a class.

These skills are known as technical skills (or hard skills) and they are very important. They are needed to be a checker in a grocery store, work at a car wash, and be an auto mechanic or teacher.

But are these technical skills the only type of skills that you need to do a job?

What about Soft Skills?

Soft skills are often described as "people skills", "social skills", or "interpersonal skills". They affect your relationships with other people, how you present yourself and how you interact with others.

Technical skills can be learned in many ways, such as taking a class, teaching yourself through information online, or learning from others.

When you have a job, having good soft skills is often just as important as technical skills. For example, maybe you know how to operate a cash register, but what if you are not kind and courteous to your customers, ignore people when they ask you questions, and complain about how much your feet hurt and how heavy the groceries are while scanning a customer's produce?

Soft skills can also be learned in a variety of ways. You can learn by observing others. Such observation often starts at home. How do people react when they are treated in different ways? How do others handle situations that may be difficult or intense? Do those around you take initiative to get things done, and if so how does that initiative impact their lives compared with others who don't take initiative?

You can also learn by doing. You could work on your self-confidence and communication skills by enrolling in a debate club or taking a public speaking course. Or perhaps volunteering for a nonprofit organization where you have to interact with the public, which can also boost your communication skills.

Want to take initiative more? Make a point to think ahead. What responsibilities do you have in the near future, and how and when will you do them? Take initiative – because there is no time like the present!

To be successful on the job, you will need both soft and technical, or hard, skills! Focus on improving these skills and you will have a happier work life.