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135. RIP Soft Skills: An Introduction

“College can train you for a career.” “You’ll always be taught the skills you need once you’re hired.” “There are so many resources available to help you learn to do a new job.” All of these statements have their truth, but the category of skill they each refer to is hard skills: those skills that can be taught by a machine or using a specific metric for success. These hard skills are not skills that are more difficult, they are the skills that have a “hard” way of measuring success or an unchanging way they are accomplished by a human or a machine. These are the things we most often understand as what is measured in a classroom and graded through assignments or standardized tests.

Soft skills are another matter entirely. These skills tend to be more situational, and they require a different way of approaching a problem. Soft skills are things like workplace communication, time management, teamwork, and adaptability. You can’t test soft skills with a Scantron and a #2 pencil. And soft skills are the most lacking of the two categories according to faculty members and hiring managers. Nearly 75% of all companies say soft skills are extremely important while bemoaning how difficult it is to find a recent graduate who excels in–or even has any–soft skills.

This week Ryan, Garreth, and Cody sit down to introduce a new series on soft skills, their place in the studio, and how we can better understand why these skills are often missing from so many realms of existence in today’s culture. While soft skills may be missing in many areas, unlike hard skills, even a few small tips can help you grow in the areas where you may be lacking. Afterall, it’s kind of hard to know each other and be known by each other if we just have a solid set of hard skills with no way to actually engage one another in a meaningful way.

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