Why Are Soft Skills Important?
An Unexpected Journey
Apprentice University | 8.30.2021

In today’s workplace, you’ll need more than just technical and academic skills to succeed in your profession. Applying for a job is all about marketing yourself to potential employers and exhibiting the different skills they might be looking for. So what skills are employers looking for in the modern workplace?

Employers are looking for memorable applicants. Extraordinary people who stand out from the crowd. Technical knowledge, otherwise known as hard skills, will only get you so far. Looking good on paper is only one step you need to take in starting your career. But what about the next step? What is it that’s missing? What are the most marketable skills that potential employers seek in new applicants?

Soft skills, also known as people skills or interpersonal skills, are personal attributes that are crucial for success when applying for and working a job. Think back to the most memorable people you’ve encountered in the workplace, be it a business you’ve personally worked for or a business you’ve visited (a restaurant or grocery store for example). The people who have good manners, clear communication, flexibility, and confidence almost always come to mind. The way they carry themselves and treat others stands out from your usual coworker or hiree. But why?

Having soft skills enables you to have meaningful interactions with people around you. The modern workplace is interpersonal. Teamwork is a fundamental part of any work environment. Skills such as listening, clear and concise writing and communication ensure the smooth flow of ideas and lower the risk of conflict. Negotiation and problem solving may help you gain an edge over other candidates. Plus, soft skills complement hard skills. All career paths require soft skills to utilize technical abilities when needed. For example, when working in IT you’ll need computer knowledge as well as communication skills to work with customers and clients. If you drop communication skills and rely solely on computer knowledge, you won’t get very far. People want to feel heard, understood, and above all else, respected. You can’t fix their problems without listening first.

All career paths require soft skills to utilize technical abilities when needed.
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What specific soft skills are potential employers looking for today? To list a few:

COMMUNICATION

Socializing with coworkers and clients, working well in a team, pitching ideas, and writing clear and concise emails.

PRODUCTIVITY

Staying focused, detail-oriented, flexible, and always aware of any deadlines or changes within projects.

Problem Solving

Objectively discussing problems, examining the effects, and brainstorming solutions.

Digital proficiency

Being comfortable using both desktop and cloud-based technology, using the internet to communicate, and choosing the best software to use for specific tasks.

Confidence, creativity, and self-awareness are a few other important soft skills to have.

The list goes on and on for soft skills that are conducive in the workplace. Research other traits you may already exhibit or possibly need to introduce into your daily routine. You can never have too many soft skills.

Most soft skills can be practiced simply by becoming more mindful about the way you communicate with others. Make eye contact. Focus on your body language and the body language of those around you. Listen intently. Respond thoughtfully. Remember, people want to feel heard, understood, and respected.

Potential employers are looking for memorable applicants. Work hard, utilize soft skills, and aim to stand out.

At Apprentice University we guide students on their journey through mastering hard skills and acquiring soft skills to complement them. Contact us today to learn more about how we can guide you along your journey.