To land a great job you normally need to have hard skills, abilities, training and knowledge, in a specific discipline. While your technical skills may get your foot in the door, your people or soft skills are what open most of the doors to advancement in the future. It is not enough to know 'how to do the job'. Employers want people who know how to handle themselves at work and how to relate to customers and colleagues. These are the 'soft skill or interpersonal skills' which have been dismissed for far too long!
"Soft skills" is simply a term relating to a collection of personality traits, positive attributes, social graces, communication abilities and competencies that enhance an employee's relationship and performance on the job that lead to a "total fit".
Your work ethic, your attitude and your communication skills are some of the soft skills that are crucial for career success. You need soft skills in the technical workplace for listening, presenting and sharing ideas, showing appreciation for others, soliciting support, resolving conflict, and participating fully in team projects. Knowing how to get along with people – and displaying a positive attitude – are crucial for success and can help you along your career path - whether you want to be a programmer, business analyst, team lead or CIO.
In fact, according to Mark Murphy (author of Hire for Attitude), 46% of new hires fail in the first 18 months, and of those new hires, 89% fail for reasons associated with attitude.
More and more employers want a well rounded employee who brings not only their technical hard skills with them but also a variety of soft skills. According to a 2016 study of Canada’s largest employers, when evaluating entry level positions, employers value soft skills over technical skills! The skills desired by employers include relationship-building, communications & problem solving, analytical and leadership abilities.
Just in the area of effective communication, lack of soft skills can be costly to organizations. According to the Mitchell Communications Group, miscommunication costs businesses $37 billion (or $26K per employee) in the U.S. and U.K. every year. On the other hand, organizations that learn effective communication are nearly five times as likely to retain the best employees.
To learn more about the soft skills that technology oriented individuals should have see the attached new PowerPoint "Let's Talk Soft Skills for Tech".