The Importance of Soft Skills

January 30, 2018

Not only are hiring managers looking for candidates possessing job-specific hard skills, but they’re also seeking candidates who demonstrate the soft skills necessary for success.

Hard skills vs. soft skills:

Hard skills are acquired through education, training, certifications and on-the-job training and are easily defined and assessed. Conversely, soft skills are the personality traits, social skills and communication abilities that individuals exhibit when interacting with others. These may include leadership, creative thinking, teamwork, work ethic, problem solving, decision making, flexibility, time management, motivation and so on.

For example, when hiring an accountant, an employer needs an individual who is able analyze mathematical data (hard skill) and communicate the findings effectively (soft skill). Both skills are essential to succeed as an accountant.

Why are soft skills so important to employers?

According to the Society for Human Resource Management’s research findings, employers are actually more concerned with what soft skills a candidate brings to the table. Why? Because a candidate’s job-specific skills are unimportant if he/she does not work well with others. Even if you pass your certification exam with flying colors, you won’t get very far in your career without communication skills.

Standout with soft skills:

Soft skills are what make you stand out to employers and hiring managers. They are what separate top talent from merely qualified candidates. Check out these tips for making your soft skills shine in your job search:

  1. List the soft skills you have that are relevant to the job that you want.
  2. Compare your list of soft skills to the job description.
  3. Highlight the soft skills applicable to the job on your resume.
  4. Provide evidence that you possess these skills in your cover letter.
  5. Demonstrate your soft skills throughout the interview process.

Though soft skills are not taught in a classroom or training session, they are vital for advancing your career and engaging with colleagues, clients and customers. Let your soft skills shine throughout your job search and employers will take notice.

ITAC Solutions is a recruiting firm headquartered in Birmingham with additional offices in Atlanta, Huntsville, Mobile and Nashville.  ITAC specializes in the temporary, contract, and direct placement of accounting, information technology, corporate and administrative professionals.