Hard Skills vs Soft Skills

sarah23
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In a world full of different skills that can be unique to a range of job aspects, we have come a long way from simply hiring someone because they have hard skills. 

Hard Skills: e.g., Technical skills, Computer Skills, Microsoft Office skills, Analytical skills, Marketing skills, Presentation skills, Management skills, and Project Management skills.

     Yes, it is impertinent that one hires knowing the employee has job-related knowledge, but it is not as straightforward as that anymore. As a 21-year-old who has jumped from job to job since age 17, I can tell you now that any workplace will look at your soft skills over your hard skills. 

Soft Skills: e.g., Communication, Problem Solving, Data Analysis, Productivity, Digital Proficiency, Creativity, Agility, and Confidence

     Anyone can learn job-related knowledge; if it is taught, it can be learnt. But not everyone can hold soft skill attributes that make your workability better. 

     Since September 2021, I have repeatedly been applying to different graduate jobs because that is what you are told to do in your last year of university. As someone coming from a ‘Creative Writing’ degree, looking at Copy-WRITING jobs, you would think employers would be looking at the standard of my writing.

     Nope, employers were more interested in my CV’s versatility, character, and all the bits and bobs of experience I have had in different areas. 

For example:

Call centre Sales worker, Ambassador Representative, Teaching Assistant, Student Mentor, Outreach Ambassador, and so on…

     The key to job interviews that I have personally found is that employers like someone sociable.

     Someone who will speak up and ask questions, put in their opinion for improvement, but not be shy enough to concern with criticism. A sociable employer is productive and works well in a team. They are confident and creative, which makes more effective production.

   In 2019  a talent statistic stated ‘92% rated soft skills as more important than technical ones’, and ‘89% said bad hires typically lack them’. 

Now let's think about this, what is unique about 2019? 

     December 2019 was the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic; what is unique about COVID-19 regarding society and employability?

COVID-19 seriously disrupted everyone’s social skills! 

     As a collective, COVID-19 affected people’s social skills, anxiety, mental health, and so much more, which are just dragged under the carpet. Now it is 2022, and soft skills have become even more critical. We have had two years of talking through a screen, and employers are pushing a shift in routine. 

     Even I can admit that working through a ‘screen experience’ was not all bad, don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed staying in my pyjamas some days. But I truly missed and constantly craved social experiences. 

     But when we were told we could socialise, it didn’t operate in my head the same way.

     Anyone can admit that adapting to Lockdown, then suddenly coming out of it, and going back to ‘normality’ felt utterly strange.

     We went from ‘You’ll get fined and arrested for seeing someone outside of your home’ to ‘Go out and socialise with anyone and everyone.’ 

     With routine, everything is done naturally; you have muscle memory, which means you do not have to think about how you are doing anything. COVID flipped that entirely upside down.

     And now, there is a push for social ‘soft skills’ that is even more hyperbolic than before.

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