Raising Hard and Soft Personal or Professional Skills
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Making decisions in your career and professional development can be challenging. Exploring the potential of your capabilities will help you find a more fulfilling job or start a new career. We hope that this information will help on your way to perfection.
The piece explains the importance of hard and soft skills for all aspects of your life. It shows the correlation between personal and professional development and gives a bit of valuable advice on boosting your professional skills.
The article gives the cue how to stand out in today’s overflowing job market. Apply the information below and try smart tricks to go through interviews smoothly. Learn crucial steps to combine your personal and professional skills to find the best match for your career path.
- Do you know that you don’t have to wait for a New Year or even a new job offer to start your new career? You can make this step today, so go ahead!
- Besides the hard skills (a strong part of any resume), we have soft skills. Qualifications such as strong communication skills, learnability resilience, problem-solving, agility, collaboration, innovation, creativity, negotiation are in high demand in the global market;
- Learn crucial steps to combine your personal and professional skills. Find the best match for your career path in the evolving job marketplace.
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Defining Hard and Soft Skills
The distinction between hard and soft skills lies in how you acquire and use them in the workplace. Hard skills are associated with specific technical education and training, whereas soft skills relate to your personality traits. Among these traits are leadership, communication, or time management abilities. Anyway, both hard and soft skills are necessary to enjoy career success.
Hard skills are specific vocational skills you get through education and training. They typically represent specific technical expertise that employers expect from their employees. Hard skills can be quantified, measured, defined, or evaluated. Any job requires industry-specific hard skills that are the basis of workplace requirements. Thus recruiters will look for them in a CV to gauge how well a candidate will fit in for the job.
Soft skills are personal skills related to the way people interact with each other. These characteristics determine the way a person works alone or with others. Soft skills are highly demanded, applicable, and transferable between jobs and industries, but they are harder to quantify than hard skills. It can also be challenging to prove your soft skills, but this expertise is vital for creating a positive and functional work environment.
Hard Skill and Soft Skills: Understanding the Benefits of Both
You acquire hard skills through education or specific training, including particular machines, software, or other tools. Meanwhile, soft skills are considered personality traits that can develop over a lifetime.
Such skills come into place when managing your time, communicating with other people, or coping with stressful situations. In other words, hard skills are defined as your technical knowledge, whereas soft skills are your peculiarities manifested in the workplace.
Hard Skills versus Soft Skills: Differences
The Difference Between Personal and Professional Development
Professional development involves developing your ability to understand your work specifics fully and using opportunities to improve performance. It means enhancing the necessary skills to carry out your task as effectively as possible and continues throughout your working life. It also involves how you can showcase your abilities to stand out among others.
Active professional development requires that you always maintain your knowledge and expertise in your professional field at the highest possible level. The point is that the job marketplace requires your professional development. It is as important as the economy, legislation, or technology advancement. Emphasis on personal growth and active professional development will undoubtedly foster your successful career advancement.
Professional development can generally include formal types of vocational training or study that leads to a career-related qualification. It may also include informal training and development programs in the workplace to develop and improve your skills. Employers implement training as part of a vocational development program alternative to professional practice.
- Personal Development
When you think of personal development, consider a set of skills you need to achieve the required results in your professional role and life. There are numerous ways to improve your talent and potential both in and out of the workplace. If you understand what you are striving to achieve and how to make it happen, you can develop the necessary skills. You may explore various options and brainstorm your ideas to find the best match for your expectations.
Suppose there are two people in your team, both of whom are great at managing budgets. They are accurate, detail-oriented, and deliver the needed results. One of them has an easier time interacting with people and building valuable connections. His interpersonal and communication skills are high, so he quickly gets the necessary information from any colleague or client. The other person lacks this skill and often encounters conflicts with their peers.
Who needs additional personal development training? Both individuals can do their jobs on time. Both have the required professional skills to deliver results. However, having the bonus of excellent relationship building skills, one of the employees will always be a step ahead of his counterpart.
To improve your personal development, establish which skills you need to succeed in your role. These may be influencing skills, team management, or the ability to inspire people. Some other examples are leadership, time management or conflict resolution, excellent delegation skills, or people management talent.
Top 7 Professional Skills
If you’re looking to foster your professional development, there are several categories of skills you might want to boost. Some of them are crucial for management roles. Top 7 professional skills include communication, public speaking, teamwork, time management, leadership, flexibility, and personal skills. Basic understanding of these skills can provide a starting point for improving your career choices and successful personal development.
Communication skills, including written, verbal, and nonverbal communication, are essential for any professional. In particular, one type of communication skill stands above the rest – it is working with email. Nearly every profession requires some email correspondence, and professionals need to craft explicit, concise emails using the appropriate format and tone.
In addition to email, other essential communication skills include:
- Advocating for yourself and your causes;
- Asking for help or advice;
- Promoting an idea;
- Business writing;
- Dealing with difficult people;
- Handling office politics;
- Information and Communications Technology (ICT);
- Managing positive relations;
- Resume writing;
- Small talk;
- Public Speaking.
Similar to communication skills, just about any job requires some public speaking experience. Though many people associate public speaking abilities with lengthy speeches or presentations in front of a broad audience, you will likely have to speak up in a small group during meetings or provide information to your colleagues. Professionals need to speak to others clearly and present information effectively to their subordinates, colleagues, or management.
Moreover, some essential aspects of excellent public speaking skills include clear articulation and projection, confidence in yourself, and the ideas you express. Furthermore, you need to demonstrate an exceptional ability to use non-verbal cues to support your confident poise and positive social environment. The other vital thing in making a good impression is a reserved and respectful perception of criticism.
When you have a meeting or a presentation, you may need to create presentation slides to provide visuals to your audience and add clarity to your topic. You design these pieces in programs like Microsoft PowerPoint, Google Slides, or Prezi. To create useful, visually appealing slides, avoid putting all information on the slides, but just the key ideas in bullet points. It will help the audience focus on your speech instead of examining the slides.
All professionals need to work in a group, whether performing on team projects or trying to help a company achieve its goals. Being a professional, you have to possess interpersonal skills and be able to get along with others. You need to share responsibility with others, communicate effectively, and achieve common goals. Some common aspects of effective teamwork include conflict resolution, relationship and team building, and team management skills.
- Time Management
As a professional, you are responsible for completing a variety of tasks. If you want to make all your assignments on time without feeling overwhelmed, you need organizational skills to budget your time wisely. Timeliness is one of the essential qualities of a professional in any area. Employees who show up on time seem more hardworking than their colleagues.
Further on, you could boost your professional reputation by giving attention to detail and improving your management skills, such as intrinsic motivation, meeting deadlines, project management, and punctuality. Your time management skills result in higher productivity and efficiency. Along the business process, leave room for exploring opportunities for growth and advancements. Last but not least: proper time management skills will lead to less stress and yield you a better professional reputation.
No matter what role you play at an organization, leadership skills are the most important among the necessary professional skills. Whether you’re working in a team or hold a management position, knowing how to lead a group is vital for success. Some skills that show your leadership abilities include:
- Stay calm under pressure;
- Coordinating resources;
- Decision making;
- Goal setting;
- Growth mindset;
- Information gathering;
- Meeting management;
Most jobs require flexibility and the ability to change. It’s essential to learn how to understand various perspectives and adjust your workflow and tools as changes arise. Flexibility includes the ability to change and adapt your mind, analyze the situation, manage anger or anxiety, keep patience, and solve problems. That’s what they call problem-solving skills.
Interpersonal skills enable employees to work well with other workers, managers, clients, customers, vendors, and other people they meet at work. These professional attributes are also crucial for successful networking and managing your career growth.
Soft skills are crucial in a variety of settings, such as:
- Career management;
- Career planning;
- Creative thinking;
- Critical thinking;
- Dressing professionally;
- Emotional intelligence;
- Enforcing boundaries, both personal and professional;
- Stress management.
Standing Out in a Crowded Job Market
Getting noticed can be crucial to success, but figuring out how to stand out can be challenging in a crowded job market. Whether on paper resumes or in interviews, there are many ways to show employers what you can. Here are the main points to consider:
- Find your unique selling point
When applying for a job, your unique selling point is what makes you the best person for the job among dozens of other candidates. Recruitment expert Jason Walker recommends highlighting one or two unique selling points. For example, pay attention to your professional photo or customize your CV to impact your prospective job interviewers positively.
To do that, Walker suggests reflecting on your skills and experience as a guideline to develop your unique selling point. For example, you may be a top graduate of a high school with a track record in your diploma or have successfully managed projects with improved customer loyalty and increased productivity.
- Highlight leadership
Your leadership skills often impress recruiters and employers. You probably had some leadership experiences through something like running a team project. Ensure you mention these instances in your applications as leadership skills are in high demand in the global job marketplace.
- Have relevant examples
Having an example that underpins your skills or experience will take you much further. For instance, you may note that you have used your leadership skills to lead a team of five people on a project for six months. But that is not enough to demonstrate your strong leadership qualities. Emphasize your achievements, such as completing the project on time or budget, or give some examples where you used your problem-solving skills.
Mentioning numbers can also be an excellent way to support your skills and experience. They can make a difference no matter what the work is. For example, your merit sales increased by 5% or saved $10,000 from a budget by doing things differently. It could also be something like running a monthly 90-minute planning meeting for a team of 15 people. Include examples of your achievements and previous professional and management roles in your resume.
- Summarize your experience
Add your summary at the top of your resume. Ideally, it’s a short three to four-sentence statement that sums up who you are, why you’re the perfect fit for the role, and what you’re aiming for in your career. The best way to do that is to incorporate your specific experience relevant to your application. According to Walker, consider using words from the job description so that applicant tracking systems could recognize them and match your resume against successful applicant requirements.
An excellent way to learn how to summarize your story is through the elevator pitch. Imagine you bump into a recruiter in an elevator, and they ask you who you are. Your job is to effectively deliver your ball to the recruiter in the amount of time you are there, typically 30-60 seconds.
- Update your networking sites
Recruiters and employers often look at the online profiles of job seekers. The more you put into your LinkedIn, Handshake, or SEEK, etc., profile, the sooner you’ll get noticed by the right employers. Make sure to update your career profile against the future job application offers as they emerge. Examine the profiles of other potential candidates to sense the market trends and new opportunities.
- Answer the questions directly
When you are at the interview, try to pinpoint situations that relate to the question at hand and explain its outcome, rather than generalize your answers. For example, instead of talking about your organizational skills in general, talk about how you used them in your previous job to introduce a new system or approach that saved time for your team. Answer questions directly and thoroughly, joke, and relate these experiences to the job description.
- Ask insightful questions
Interviews are also a valuable opportunity to ask your questions. Questions can help you stand out from the crowd by showing that you are genuinely interested and have done some background research on the role. If you need a starting point, try asking, “What skills and attributes do successful people at your company usually have?” According to Walker, a useful tactic is to ask at the end of an interview, “How do you think I match up with this position?”
Hays recruitment consultancy group asked more than 100 employers to list what catches their attention in a job interview. Some of the key traits that they mentioned are:
- Showing confidence and a positive attitude
- Having excellent communication and presentation skills
- Using real-life examples to demonstrate answers
- Being enthusiastic about the role
- Communicating the benefits you can bring to the business
- Preparing questions in advance to ask the interviewer
- Displaying a good understanding of the role
- Being an active listener
Highlighting Your Skills Throughout the Interview Process
Once you have reached the interview phase, you’ll have the opportunity to demonstrate your soft skills and elaborate on your hard skills. The employer may also support your skills with a test or a portfolio. Make sure to get ready in advance, be confident and optimistic about your experience, and try to stand out among other candidates by demonstrating your achievements and capabilities.
You can highlight your soft skills by showing up on time or in advance, maintaining eye contact, speaking clearly when asked, answering questions about your resume and experience honestly, and asking follow-up questions as required. Show your readiness to take on the new roles and challenges associated with the latest job.
The most effective way to demonstrate your hard and soft skills is to relate to the prospective job with specific stories from your previous experience.
Find Ways to Showcase Your Skills to Stand Out Among other Candidates
Personal development is a critical part of a person’s growth and progress. By allowing yourself to improve your essential skills, you’re more likely to feel fulfilled in your life. Managing soft and hard skills will surely benefit you both from your personal and professional perspective. Achieving success in your career requires continuous training and education, and this is precisely where professional development comes into play.
To develop the necessary skills for personal and professional lives, you should strive to achieve and know how to make it happen. You should explore different ideas to find the best option for your expectations. First of all, establish what skills you need to succeed in your field. There can be various options, for example, team management or the ability to motivate and inspire people (you can find more in the article above).
Some other examples are leadership, time management or conflict resolution, excellent delegation skills, or people management talent. Significant development always requires maintaining your knowledge and expertise in your professional field at the highest possible level. Dedication to your personal growth and professional development will indeed foster your successful career advancement.
Что вы думаете о hard и soft skills и их значении для вашей текущей или желаемой должности? Есть ли какие-нибудь истории или события, которые повлияли на вашу карьеру и профессиональное развитие? Есть ли у вас какие-либо предложения для других во время интервью?
Пожалуйста, поделитесь своим собственным опытом, и мы надеемся, что эта статья окажется для вас информативной! Поделитесь этой статьей с людьми, которым она может понадобиться для карьерного роста. Не забывайте оставлять свои комментарии под статьей!