In today’s competitive, global market environment, your success is a combination of your technical skills or “hard” skills, and of your “soft” skills. Your level of accomplishment and advancement hinges upon the educated blending of both of these skills sets.
Soft skills, also known as Emotional Intelligence, are nontechnical skills such as: leadership, verbal and written communication skills, interpersonal skills, active listening, and motivation. They are simple, yet complex areas of expertise that help people to survive and to succeed both socially and professionally. Soft skills are transferable to any position; they do not rely on technical abilities.
Since soft skills are a part of everyday business and personal relationships, they are often taken for granted and/or overlooked. Frequently, they are not acknowledged as areas that may require improvement, until it is too late. Today’s employers are actively seeking those individuals that they feel will help to improve their organizations’ culture and profitability. More and more corporations around the world recognize that, in order to gain a competitive advantage, they need to make sure their people know how to handle themselves at work and how to relate with their customers and peers.
As an IT support pro, you not only need to be able to diagnose computer problems, you also must be able to effectively communicate the problem to the user. In their continual struggle to align IT with the business, IT executives say they’re increasingly looking for staffers who have, in addition to technical credentials, strong soft skills. Clear communication with nontechnical people can help eliminate inter-departmental communication barriers, and increase your productivity.
In addition, the shifting economy and ever-evolving industry have expanded job roles, making it essential for the IT pro to wear many different hats. Aside from simply providing technical assistance, support pros may find themselves taking on the job of salesperson, manager, or public speaker.
Experts agree that communication is the most important nontechnical skill for IT pros to master. Whether it’s speaking with a customer, interacting with coworkers, or drawing a diagram, you must use clear, understandable language.
Some recruiters believe that soft skills make the difference between the candidate who is hired and the second choice applicant. Employers today seek flexibility, teamwork and integrity. They realize that someone who communicates well and has a strong work ethic makes a good employee. As a result, incorporating these skills on your resume may make the difference between getting an interview and getting passed over.