The importance of soft skills for career success
Soft skills are important in any profession, and IT is no exception. As IT has evolved from a back-end function to an integrated part of the business which is expected to be an active contributor to high level business aims, soft skills have risen in importance.
Also known as ‘transferrable skills’, ‘interpersonal skills’ or ‘social skills’, soft skills simply relate to how you communicate and collaborate with others – and they aren’t just important when working with external customers, but are also necessary in helping to get things done when working with internal colleagues and stakeholders too.
Why are soft skills important?
Whilst your technical skills may land you the interview, your soft skills are just as likely to help drive your career success. Although they aren’t always specified on the job description, skills such as communication and learnability are highly valued – often helping to distinguish you from other applicants, as well as helping you to become more employable in the long-term.
That’s why it’s important to spend some time considering where your soft skill strengths are, and highlighting them where possible in both your CV and interviews.
To help you to make a closer individual assessment, we have picked out a number of soft skills which are valued by employers, including:
- Communication – good verbal and written communication skills help individuals to better communicate the business value of IT projects to non-technical stakeholders, making it easier to get buy-in and support.
- Listening – when engaging with and actively listening to your peers, you can get a better understanding of their motivations. Most importantly, it can help to build trust and develop better relationships with colleagues, which you may be able to leverage for future support.
- Collaboration – the ability to work effectively within teams, across other business functions and with external stakeholders is essential to ensure a piece of work or project is carried out efficiently and completed successfully. A lack of collaboration can mean that things take longer than needed, or are not completed to a satisfactory level.
- Time Management – knowing how to manage your time is key to working productively. Being able to prioritise and schedule your work will ensure you meet your deadlines without delivering sub-standard work, as well as being recognised as an individual that can be relied upon within your business.
- Flexibility – with the rapid pace of change taking place both in technology and business environments, being prepared to adapt will help you to be better equipped to tackle challenges, handle transitions or adjust to new circumstances and business requirements.
- Learnability – having the desire and ability to continuously learn and develop yourself is essential. This will help to ensure you’re always equipped with the necessary skills for the long-term and are better positioned for career-growth.
Develop your skills for career success
Ultimately, as an IT professional who is equipped with the appropriate soft skills for your business, you will play a major role in the success of your team and organisation – and most importantly, your own career success.
However, to remain attractive to employers and keep progressing in your career, you must continue to develop your soft skills, as you would with your technical skills.
The good news is that you can learn and develop your soft skills as you progress in your career, no matter what your job is or what stage of your career you’re at. Understanding what method of learning works best for you is the key to progressing your skills and abilities.
To get an understanding of what your learning style is and recommendations on how to develop in the future, why not take the Learnability Quotient (LQ) test today?