The Journey To Authentic Self
Social Presence is about putting your best foot forward… but you need to know which foot that is. Only when you are clear on what skills you possess can you really paint a good picture of yourself online.
Today we are going to talk about the two types of skills that are critical to your success in business, your HARD and SOFT skills. Your Attitude Adjustment Homework will help you hone in on both so that you will be able to highlight them in your online profiles.
I find that people tend to define themselves more by the technical and business hard skills that they have, rather than the strengths of their personality that are defined by the soft skills. They lead with their business titles, not with their strengths.
Human Resource people say “it may be your hard skills that get you the interview, but it is your soft skills that get you the job.” (SearchCIO). So let’s start with the easy stuff and look at your hard skills.
Hard skills are learned. You are taught them in school or from books. They are a way of doing something; a procedure, a best practice. They usually refer to training and knowledge that a person has in a specific skill set. Hard skills are usually what you spend hours and hours learning in school. First you take the basic courses, then you move on to the more advanced.
Using me as an example, I am a project manager. Project management is my hard skill. I took many IBM courses in project management, earned Masters certificates from both George Washington and Stanford Universities, passed my Project Management Institute (PMI) Exam to become a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), and also passed the internal IBM certification process. Though life experience was important in completing these milestones, it was the hard skills, that were being assessed.
Hard skills take smarts, they are about using your brain (in particular the left side of your brain). They are about your ability to perform a certain task. Careers that rely heavily on hard skills are Physicists, Mathematicians, Computer Programmers, Statisticians, etc. What are your hard skills?
Take out your notebook and write down all the skills you can think of that relate to you.
I am an expert in (specialty): _____________.
People come to me (I am the ‘go-to’ person) for: _______________.
I am known for the following skills: ___________________________________________________
Soft skills are more difficult to quantify. These skills are personality qualities, habits, attitudes, and even social graces. Unlike hard skills, which can be evaluated by a logic intelligence test (IQ), soft skills tend to use your heart, and conversely would be evaluated by an emotional intelligence test (EQ). This is ‘right brain’ stuff. Some examples of soft skills would be: anticipating risk, motivating others, teamwork, innovating, listening, communicating. They are things that you learn, hone, and improve over a life time of trial and error.
People skills, management skills, communications, leadership, politics, are all soft skills. You can take classes in how to develop these skills, but it is your innate personality that will ultimately determine which ones you excel in and your ability to apply what you have learned to different situations over time. Unlike hard skills where the rules pretty much are static (for example, the Waterfall Application Development Method), soft skills are dynamic and change based on the situation to which they need to be applied. For example, you could do a great job communicating technical status to your team, but a poor job communicating project progress to your executive management. When the audience changes, your must change how you are communicating accordingly.
What are your soft skills?
Look at the list of 28 soft skills below and pick out 5 or 10 that you feel are your top soft skills. Put them in an order from strongest to weakest.
(The list is adapted from: List of 28 Soft Skills – Business Professionals, June 2, 2011, Career Success – Ask A Wharton MBA)
Keep up the good attitude. See you next blog.
(All the Social Butterfly’s views are her own)
© Lorian Lipton and The Digital Attitude, LLC 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lorian Lipton and The Digital Attitude with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.