What Are Soft Skills And Why Do I Keep Hearing About Them?

Soft-skills are behavioral traits that you as an individual possess and in-turn, relate to work and interactions with your colleagues. Whereas knowing how to program software or drive a forklift would be technical (or hard) skills, soft skills would be communication, adaptability, and problem solving.  

During our I-90 Aerospace Conference and Expo for students this month, the one common response we heard regarding career success was developing soft skills—whether it was for the job hunt or upward mobility and promotions. The notion isn’t new and many employers stress how critical soft skills are in the workplace with some like LinkedIn CEO, Jeff Weiner, and Virgin Group founder, Richard Branson, publicly expressing their preference for soft skills over technical skills.  

Technical skills are still extremely important and will allow you to do the job you were hired to perform (without technical skills, you may not have a job), but the main point is to emphasize the value of a well-rounded individual. If you want to explore ways to build on soft skills, type “how to develop soft skills” into a search bar, and you’ll find plenty of videos, courses, and articles to point you in the right direction. It will take a sense of self-awareness, intent, and occasional feeling of awkwardness, but soft skills will go a long way in both your professional and personal interactions. Like Lane from Micron said, “engineers aren’t stereotypically known for being talkers, so I took it upon myself to work on my communication to help me stand out professionally.” 

Have questions about soft skills or how to highlight them in your manufacturing career goals? Let us know by emailing forgingfutures@idmfg.org