Soft Skill Education: Don’t Be so Hard-Headed and Get a Softer Brain
In this high-tech, digital-crazed culture, schools seem to be emphasizing the hard skills to the detriment of the essential basic soft skills, like time management. For example, as reported in a Toronto Star article, a 2015 study showed “a staggering 83% of educational institutions believe their grads are equipped for the workforce, whereas a mere 34% of employers agreed, and just 44% of students themselves.”
Many of the soft skills can be gained from experience, but it’s a costly way to do so. Students have to get jobs first in order to get experience while employers are looking for experience before hiring. And once employed, they get experience first and then the lesson. It makes more sense to get the lesson first.
Balance hard skills with soft skills
In the article referred to above, Harvey Weingarten, president of Ontario, Canada’s higher education think tank, was quoted as saying that employers are looking to hire people with “soft” skills, yet this is where they see students being deficient.
“Soft skills” is a term used to describe the kind of personal and social skills that are required in almost every type of position in business. They include such things as time management, communication, teamwork, writing, problem-solving, creativity, and attitude.
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“Hard skills” are those technical or functional skills that are applied directly to the job itself, such as financial planning, project management, and technology-related skills such as web design, SEO and internet marketing.
Soft skills versus hard skills
Don’t be so obsessed with becoming the best you can be at performing your chosen hard skill that you ignore the soft skills that are also essential, not only for landing a great job, but also for keeping it, and being promoted to higher levels within the organization. Being techno-savvy is not enough if you want to succeed.
How can you gain essential soft skills?
Many of the soft skills are not taught in schools. And the current craze of communicating with email and texting, in brief, incomplete sentences, does little to enhance such skills as writing, verbal communications, teambuilding or body language.
It is up to you to build upon what you have already gained through formal education and personal experience by seeking out appropriate books and articles that would help you to develop these soft skills. You might start by browsing through the business book titles and descriptions at bookboon.com. There are plenty to choose from – everything from personal confidence and motivation to communications and creative thinking.
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