Soft Skills vs. Technical Skills: What’s the Difference?

The job market is strong right now with low unemployment, but that doesn’t mean you can lounge around in your home, waiting for jobs to come to you. If you want to impress hiring managers and get that promotion you’ve been eyeing, you need to up your game.

What do we mean, exactly?

Whether you’re aiming for a promotion, a new position, or even applying for a job, you need to develop soft skills.

But what are soft skills vs technical skills, and how do they differ from each other? Keep reading to find out.

Soft Skills vs Technical Skills: What are the Key Differences?

There are a lot of soft skills that are required for every job. For customer service jobs, for instance, skills such as active listening, empathy, and the ability to resolve conflict are essential.

Technical skills, on the other hand, are the skills and knowledge that are specific to a particular job or trade. For a mechanic, for example, technical skills would include knowledge of how to use tools, diagnose car problems, and make repairs.

The key difference between technical skills and soft skills is that soft skills are general skills that are required for any job, while technical skills are specific to a particular job or trade.

What Employers are Looking for?

Technical skills or hard skills are specific abilities or knowledge needed to perform a certain job. Examples of technical skills include:

  • Programming languages
  • CAD software
  • Machinery operation

Soft skills, on the other hand, are generally personal attributes that can help you succeed in any job. Examples of soft skills include:

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Problem-solving

So, what do employers want? Both! While technical skills are important for performing the job, employers also want to see soft skills because they are indicative of how well you will work with others and how you will handle challenges.

Why Do You Need Both?

While it is important to have both skills, they are not the same. That said, both types of skills are important. Technical skills are essential for performing the tasks of a particular job.

But if you don’t have the soft skills to communicate and work effectively with others, you won’t be able to fully utilize your technical skills. In other words, you need both types of skills to be successful in the modern workplace.

Why Technical Skills are Not Enough?

In today’s job market, employers are increasingly looking for workers with so-called “soft skills.” These are the personal attributes and abilities that enable you to interact effectively with others and get the job done, regardless of the task at hand. 

While technical skills are important, they are not enough to guarantee success in the workplace.  And that’s where soft skills come in.

Soft skills are the key to building strong working relationships. They’re also essential for managing stress, handling conflict, and adapting to change. Technical skills may get you in the door, but it’s soft skills that will help you succeed in the long run.

So, if you’re looking for a better opportunity for your career development, start investing in soft skills training.

Best of Both Worlds

With all factors considered, it’s not soft skills vs technical skills but rather soft skills AND technical skills. While both types are important, employers often value soft skills more. That’s because they are harder to teach and learn.

Masters in both technical and soft skills are rare, but they are the most successful and in-demand employees.

For more articles on learning new skills, check our other articles about career development on this site.

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