Unlike technical skills, soft skills are not generally learned through formal education or job training. Think of soft skills as the makeup of your personality, and you’ll understand that you build on these throughout your entire life.

Today’s employers place a lot of value in employees’ soft skills. Many hiring managers say that soft skills account for 50% of their candidate assessment. This is extremely important to IT professionals. IT is the one department that has deep interactions with every other department in a company. Therefore, skills, like effective communication, teamwork, reliability and empathy are as crucial for your career as your technical skills.

One reason so much weight is placed on soft skills is that they are very difficult for an employer to teach. Assuming an employee has the aptitude to learn a technical skill, an employer can simply teach them the skill. With time and practice the employee will become more and more proficient with the task. Teaching skills like communication, teamwork, integrity, etc. takes much more time, and is difficult to achieve via on-the-job training.

Soft skills encompass many things from communication to problem solving and beyond. In the table below, I’ve broken out several skills employers may be looking for in a candidate. Of course, job and manager will require different skillsets. It’s up to you to assess what they are looking for and adapt your soft skills to their needs.

Communication
Written Communication
Verbal Communications
Public Speaking
Negotiating
Visual Design
Active Listening

Leadership
Conflict Resolution
Management
Decision Making
Coaching
Mentoring

Teamwork
Team Building
Collaboration
Empathy
Influence

Critical Thinking
Aptitude
Troubleshooting
Problem Solving
Creativity

Attitude
Dependability
Dedication
Honesty
Respectful

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it gives you an idea of what skills are considered soft. Once you’ve taken inventory of the skills you need for a given job, you can begin to master them. Identify where you have gaps and need to improve. Improvement will take time and effort, but it is important, and you can do it. Enroll in classes, join professional organizations, or seek out the help of a mentor. Above all, enjoy the journey.

Danielle Foppe is a Recruitment Manager at Business Centric Technology. If you are interested in learning more about how to get the best IT talent in the Dallas metroplex, contact Danielle specializes in recruiting IT talent in Dallas, Ft. Worth and North Texas. If you are looking for a rewarding career contact us today.