The Hard Truth About Soft Skills

LinkedIn recently published its findings for the top skills that employers are looking for in 2020. As workers interact with evolving software applications and platforms, the need for soft skills is surging.

According to many top recruiters, there is agreement about how “hard skills will get you the interview—soft skills will get you the job.” It’s what we used to call “chemistry.”

While we live in chaotic times of a pandemic, recruiting is very much alive. As of this writing, 4.2 million positions are posted on LinkedIn.

Soft skills are the essential interpersonal skills that make or break our ability to get projects completed (servant leadership, emotional intelligence). If you’re furloughed, look for soft skills learning modules; if employed, it could help to brush up on your soft skills to be current.

Hard skills are acquired through formal education, on-the-job expertise, university intensive course certifications or learning and development training programs – those professional skills which are used to perform your scope of responsibilities at your highest level.

Top Soft Skills in 2020 and beyond

Emotional intelligence – Co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Travis Bradberry explains that emotional intelligence ‘is the other kind of smart.’ It’s that intangible ‘something’ that helps us tune into the kaleidoscope of human emotions, and measures how adept we are at adjusting our behavior depending on the mood of a colleague, partner, family member, or even our own internal feelings.

Emotional intelligence literally informs every interaction we have. As Bradberry explains in an article for Forbes, “It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions that achieve positive results.”

Critical thinking – But what does critical thinking actually involve? The answer is: logic and reasoning. Critical thinking involves being able to use logic and reasoning to interrogate an issue or problem, consider various solutions to the problem, and weigh up the pros and cons of each approach.

Complex problem-solving – High on any list as the most desired skill to have by 2020 is complex problem-solving ability —the capacity to solve the “new normal” business model, ill-defined problems in complex, pandemic-influenced challenges.

And now is when strong leaders are demonstrating the mental elasticity to solve problems we’ve never seen before, and to solve them in a pandemic landscape that’s changing at breakneck speed and getting more complex by the week.

Your Take-Away

In an increasingly automated world, the essence of being human is becoming more important. Possessing and developing soft skills is valuable not only because of increased machine learning and AI, but because soft skills are transferable across industries if your career needs to pivot.

Source: Career FAQs, Forbes NYC Council, LinkedIn

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