Building Solid Foundations With Soft Skills

The rapid pace of modern industry is characterised by constantly emerging trends and tech advancements, any of which can instantly warp the business landscape. This can impact the value of certain skills and knowledge, making them essential or obsolete, and is why upskilling and lifelong learning are crucial to keep up. However, there are skills that can remain useful regardless of where, when or how you work.

What are soft skills?

Unlike hard skills, soft skills mainly revolve around one’s personality and ability to work with others. LinkedIn’s “The Growing Importance of ‘Soft Skills’ in the Workplace” article defines them as positive traits that improve productivity and bolster working relationships, although other useful skills, like digital literacy, are also considered soft skills.
Here are some examples of soft skills that can provide value in any career:

• Creativity
• Problem Solving
• Digital Literacy
• Interpersonal Communication
• Time Management
• Teamwork

Why are soft skills important?

Soft skills cannot be replicated by an AI or replaced by automation, meaning they are timeless skills that retain their relevancy. Writing for Training Industry, Alexandra Levit, author of “Humanity Works,” agrees, stating that these “human” skills are more important than ever in an increasingly AI-reliant world.

Also, most soft skills are general in nature, making them highly transferable to different professions. “While technical skills display your competencies in a certain field and could vary based on the role that you are in, soft skills indicate how competent you will be in any and every job,” says Mr David Blasco, Director for Accounting & Finance and Sales & Marketing at Randstad Singapore.

This interchangeability is extremely valuable as, based on LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends 2019 report, 92%% of talent professionals and hiring managers believe soft skills are more important than hard skills. By complementing your core skillsets with soft skills, you will be able to maximise your career opportunities and options in many industries and roles.

How can I sharpen my soft skills?

Learning a new skill is not a one and done deal. Practice is key to maintaining and further honing it. Though soft skills are generally acquired outside of education, there are numerous soft skill-training providers in Singapore that conduct workshops, seminars and courses for skills such as computer literacy, working in a team, leadership, innovation etc. In addition, there are ways you can sharpen your soft skills on your own.

From an interview with The Straits Times, Singapore Human Resources Institute President Low Peck Kem mentioned that volunteering for projects, collaborating cross-department and trying out other job roles can build adaptability, versatility and flexibility.

Likewise, we believe that diversifying your work experience can polish your skillsets by necessitating new forms of thinking and working with new people, and the same could be said about life experiences. Try out a new hobby, interact with people from different cultures or experience new media. By broadening your horizons, you can gain valuable experiences that will influence the development of your soft skills as well.

Whether you are a fresh graduate focusing on your ambitions or a working professional who wants to keep their skills up to date, investing in your soft skills is a surefire way to future-proof and reinforce your skillset for any career.