2 Soft Skills for the Workplace Copyright Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc. Skills of a Professional Professionalism is the act of exhibiting appropriate character, judg- ment, and behavior by a person who is trained to perform a job. It is a per- son’s conduct while at work or representing an employer. Professionalism extends to every job, career, and industry. It doesn’t necessarily mean wearing a suit, but instead conducting oneself in a manner that exhibits responsibility, integrity, and excellence. A professional employee comes to work on time each day and per- forms job tasks in a productive manner. Professionals dress appropri- ately for their job, take responsibility for their behavior, and are good communicators. They also possess qualities of integrity, honesty, and a positive attitude. Someone who shows professionalism has the skills to perform spe- cific job tasks and works well with others. A skill is something an indi- vidual does well. Skills can be categorized as hard skills or soft skills. Hard Skills Hard skills are critical skills necessary to perform the required work- related tasks of a position. They are teachable, clearly defined, and can be measured. Examples of hard skills, also called job-specific skills, include the ability to perform accounting tasks, repair a computer, and change the brakes on a car. Additional examples are shown in Figure 1-1. Hard skills are acquired through work, education, training, or a combination of these experiences. The basic hard skills needed for a specific job are generally standard from business to business. For example, the hard skills required for an accounting clerk position would be very similar or the same at several different companies. Without possessing the required hard skills, an individual is unlikely to successfully perform a given job. When applying for a job, an interviewer will ask the candidate to identify and describe the hard skills that he or she possesses. The candidate may be required to demonstrate some of those skills as part of the interview process. For example, if applying for a job as an order processor, a keyboarding test may be part of the appli- cation process. The applicant’s hard skills are compared to the requirements for the job to see if that person meets the standards. Once a job is earned, acquiring new hard skills can be a way to earn promotions. Professionalism extends to every job, career, and industry. wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock.com Goodheart-Willcox Publisher Figure 1-1 Hard skills are critical skills necessary to perform the required work-related tasks of a position. Examples of Hard Skills •• accounting •• automotive repair •• barbering •• business management •• carpentry •• commercial driving computer programming •• data mining •• editing •• electrical engineering •• graphic designing •• keyboarding •• manufacturing plant operations marketing •• network security •• nursing •• pipefitting •• speaking a foreign language •• tax preparation welding
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