What really marks the path for success is a mixture of several factors; no doubt about it. Experts say that it’s not professional skills that are essential to achieving this goal, but but those known as “soft skills.”
For example, when you arrive at a job interview: “hard” skills are the ones that get you that first encounter, but “soft” skills have the potential to determine whether you get hired.
What’s the difference between soft and hard skills?
When discussing this in terms of a professional environment, “hard” skills are all the competencies that are linked to the career or industry itself, and allow you to have success in a particular task.
If we take the computer industry, for example, it would be knowing programming languages and how to implement them. If we take writing, it would be knowledge about the language, and the ability to convey feelings and thoughts.
Now it’s possible that you may be asking yourself: why haven’t thousands of programmers and writers reached the peak of the careers, and why have other, less talented people, achieved success and received recognition?
The answer is in their “soft” skills. Meaning, the abilities or characteristics ranging from work habits to social performance
, as well as self-knowledge, leadership and emotional management.
These are skills that complement the “hard” ones, but make a difference when achieving long-awaited and sought- after success. They can be present in all people, though there aren’t many who still know how to take full advantage of them.
How to take advantage of soft skills
Soft skills are skills, behaviors and habits that differentiate you from others. That’s to say, they’re what distinguish you from your peers, colleagues and competitors.
You can use them when you’re getting a job, trying to get a raise or a promotion, resolving conflict, undertaking a project or interacting with others.
Currently, large companies around the world don’t just want to hire competent professionals. They want to hire people that also demonstrate their values, energy, commitment and efficiency in any field.
You can have dozens of diplomas, degrees or certificates, and never succeed or achieve the position you so badly desire. Why? Because you still need to work on and study about your soft skills.
What are the best skills for promoting success?
- Social skills: as mentioned above, a person may be very competent when it comes to theory, but if they don’t transmit this to others, it is difficult to get very far. Successful professionals are those who understand what motivates a group, and in turn, can connect with people from the emotional aspect of things. That is, they add value to their peers, not just knowledge. Think about the best teacher you ever had in college or high school. Did they stand out because of the amount of information they taught you, or because of the quality of their persona?
- Openness to criticism: it’s true that no one likes to be criticized, especially when we think we’re perfect or highly competent in what we do. Even more so when it comes to work. Being open to different opinions and perspectives is essential to achieving professional success. Keep in mind that the best advice could come from the least expected source. Such as a person who isn’t an expert in the same area, and doesn’t have a dozen graduate degrees and certificates hanging on their walls, but who can give you a fresh and objective perspective about what you do. Don’t get defensive when you receive criticism, because that will condemn you to failure. Learn to listen and silently value criticism, and if at all possible, change course.
- Productive habits: there are a variety of habits that support productivity, such as putting together a routine or carrying an agenda. The majority of the most successful professionals never leave their agendas behind, whether rain or shine. They also set alarms to remind themselves for their next meetings, are punctual and have adopted a daily work routine that leaves no room for distractions. For relaxing, having fun and other personal activities, we have the hours after we’ve left the office or business. Don’t forget to get enough sleep, eat well, relax, and forget about work-related problems when you are at home. Take breaks along the way as necessary. When you’re tired, you don’t perform as well. These are all part of having productive habits.
- Integrity: first and foremost, it’s important that you be honest with yourself and recognize your mistakes in time (which is not synonymous with digging your own grave or getting fired.) Many businesses prioritize these types of values over skills or abilities. They prefer those who accept when they’re wrong, and don’t make the same mistake again, or simply those who have the courage to say “I don’t know” or “I don’t understand.” Humility is another feature that’s highly valued by multinationals today. So to succeed, we must be honest, objective and responsible, and we must trust in the project.