What are soft skills and how do I use them effectively in IT - Tek Ladder

What the Heck are Soft Skills and Why Do I Need Them for IT?

If you’re job hunting amongst other worthy competitors, soft skills can be the difference between landing that dream job and waiting for an offer that never comes. In the workplace, soft skills illustrate just how valuable a team member you are. But if you’re wondering, what the heck are soft skills, why are they so important for a job in IT, and how can I learn them, you’re in the right place.

 

 

What are soft skills?

Soft skills are the interpersonal attributes you need to succeed in the workplace. They are personal, non-technical skills that demonstrate to leadership and other coworkers that you are a responsible, competent, and emotionally intelligent member of the team.  They set you apart from competition by showing you are willing and ready to work well with othersAn employee with well-developed soft skills takes pride in their work and holds themselves accountable for their actions.  

Examples of soft skills include:

  • Reliability 
  • Flexibility/adaptability 
  • Customer service
  • Time management 
  • Communication 
  • Critical thinking 
  • Problem solving 

Soft skills — plus a strong work ethic and willingness to learn — are just as important as technical skills. Anyone can be taught technical skills, but not everyone has a flexible, cool, and approachable workplace attitude. These skills illustrate just how much care you put into your work. Mastering and then effectively practicing this set of special skills is invaluable in the modern workplace. 

 

What do soft skills have to do with IT?

 

If you’re thinking, That’s great and all, but what do soft skills have to do with working with computers? — stay put. A job in the IT field requires exceptional soft skills, especially if you are hoping to be promoted to a management position someday. According to a survey from CompTIA, business and tech executives are looking mostly for flexibility and adaptability among new hires, along with problem solving and and a strong work ethic. Most IT roles, including Help Desk TechniciansService Desk Analysts, and IT Support Specialistsspend a lot of time troubleshooting and communicating with end users, whether those end users are customers or coworkers. To show how capable and comfortable you are listening to an end user’s technical issues, working through their problems, and talking them through a solution, be ready to demonstrate your communication, flexibility, critical thinking, and other soft skills. 

 

How can I demonstrate soft skills?

 

It’s a good idea to research the role you are interviewing for and add any applicable soft skills you have to your resume. For example, if you are applying for a Desktop Support Technician role, then it would be smart to list “Problem Solving” or “Communication” on your resume (if these qualities apply). But how do you demonstrate these skills in a short interview? 

There are a few things you can do to show that you are serious candidate, you care about this role, and you would be more than willing to apply yourself in the workplace: 

  • Make sure your resume and cover letter are tailored to the role you are applying for and free of spelling or grammatical errors 
  • Research the company and role before you interview 
  • Show up to your interview on time 
  • Be polite, interested, and a good listener during the interview 
  • Bring a copy of your resume and cover letter 
  • Prepare a few anecdotes to demonstrate your soft skills 

Your interviewer may ask you a few personality questions to gauge just how well you work with others, adapt to a new role, and use critical thinking if a problem arises. Come prepared to your interview with a few stories from a previous work or school experience that establish your exemplary soft skillsInstead of saying I’m a good communicatortell a story about how you effectively used your communication skills in the workplace. It’s about showing not telling.  

For example, if your interviewer asks: 

Describe a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer and how you were able to solve their problem. 

You may respond: 

When I was an Assistant Manager at a sporting goods storeinteracted with customers on a daily basis. One day, a customer came in extremely flustered because we charged her twice for a pair of soccer cleats she bought for her son. I listened to her story, calmly explained what happened, and quickly refunded her money. She was impressed with how efficiently I was able to solve her problem. I asked her about her son’s soccer league and eventually persuaded her to buy him a new soccer bag. We developed a working relationship and she always came to me for advice about sporting goods and apparel.  

Be genuine, but keep it positive and not too personal. Describe the issue, how you solved it, and the outcome of the situationWith one or two really strong anecdotes, you can effectively show that you can problem-solve, communicate, adapt to unfamiliar situations, and work well with others.  

 

How do I learn soft skills?

 

While soft skills are important to learn and practice, chances are you have probably already used these soft skills in your personal or professional life. The most important thing you can learn is how to present these soft skills during the interview process and continue to practice them after you’ve gotten the job. Tek Ladder teaches you the “hard” technical IT skills along with the soft skillsWe’re a complete career training program; we work hard to shapyou into an IT professional and prepare you for getting that job. If you don’t have much professional experience, little IT experience, or don’t even know where to start, then you are our ideal candidate. We love helping IT hopefuls develop into IT professionals. Talk to an Admissions Advisor today for more information on how we get you there. 

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