The Importance of Soft Skills in the Workplace
Your resume is what will get you an interview. There is no doubt that a comprehensive and applicable piece of paper which chronicles your work experience is incredibly important in order to get you noticed as a potential hire.
However, once the interview begins a company is looking at an individual. They know your qualifications but now they want to see how you articulate them. They know that you are educated but now they want to see how that education translates to the person sitting in front of them. They know you are skilled but they want to make sure that you will also work well with the team that already exists.
In essence they are evaluating what soft skills you possess.
Further Reading: What Are “Soft Skills” and Why Are They Important?
So how exactly does one go about learning soft skills? When it comes to learning hard skills there are concrete ways to go about acquiring the desired results. Want to learn how to scuba dive? Sign up for a PADI open water course. Want to learn HTML coding? There are plenty of online courses that can help anyone learn the skill. Soft skills are a different story.
Soft skills are typically acquired through educational experiences that take place outside of a classroom. Sometimes skills such as teamwork and adaptability are acquired through life experiences but often times organized educational experiences can help individuals acquire and acknowledge the skills that they have gained.
A service learning course has the development of soft skills built in as a key learning objective. Not only are activities, both educational and in the field, designed around pushing soft skill development but built in reflection periods also help to build awareness surrounding the development of individual soft skills. This developmental awareness is key as it means that individuals not only possess soft skills but can also talk about them in an interview setting.
Key soft skills typically acquired or developed during a service learning course include; teamwork, empathy, communication, self-confidence, leadership, problem solving, and intercultural competence.
Further Reading: Service Learning: How to Highlight Your Skills on Your CV
In essence soft skills are harder than hard skills to find ways to develop and measuring their development is an even harder feat. Yet they are essential. They are what will ultimately land you a job.
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