Why Gigsters Should Hone Their Soft Skills

Hard skills are measurable proficiencies or abilities that can be learned through courses, training or on the job. In the workplace, hard skills help you perform the duties and tasks associated with your job. You can always diversify hard skills to include things like technical, language, computer, or software-specific skills such as having Microsoft Office certification or retail experience.

Soft skills, on the other hand, are characteristics or personality traits that employees use while carrying out the tasks related to their job. Soft skills may include being friendly and outgoing, listening or communicating well, being able to think on your feet and handle problems, and interacting well with people and customers.

While both are important to the job, surveys indicate that many employers value soft skills over hard skills when hiring. Here’s what some hiring managers had to say:

  • One business owner says, “Regardless of the industry, communication, empathy, and intelligence are essential.”
  • A soft skills trainer says, “Mark Zuckerberg famously said that he wanted to hire people with good soft skills because he knew he could teach technical skills. Teaching soft skills is tough — possible, yes; but tougher. It takes time, reflection and mentoring and companies are investing very little, if any, into these skills. Yet they want employees who have incredible soft skills.”
  • A manager says, “If they ask me who I will take to my team: a cool professional who is completely immersed in his business, or a person who is inferior to him in professionalism, but who knows how to communicate, sell and promote the company's solutions and technologies, then I will definitely take the second one.”

Since we know that hiring managers and business owners value soft skills, as a gig worker what are some of the soft skills you should develop to improve your chances of landing the gig? Here are three to get you started:

1. Curiosity Didn’t Kill The Cat

The fear of asking questions at work is a common one, but not asking for clarification when you need it usually ends up with poor results and lowered efficiency. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s a sign of a curious mind. It also helps avoid problems, learn new things, and resolve issues.

2. Watch and Learn

Success in the gig economy depends on your ability to learn quickly. The best way to do that is to watch what your coworkers are doing. While you might not learn to perform surgery by watching a doctor, keeping your eyes peeled as coworkers perform their jobs teaches you not only how to perform the task at hand, but where supplies are kept, the quickest way to get things done, or how to handle a grumpy customer. Sometimes coworkers can be the best teachers.

3. Believe in Yourself

As a gig worker, confidence can help you to communicate more clearly, be taken more seriously, make decisions, adapt to change and circumstances, and perform your job well.

Here are some more ideas on what makes a great gig worker. These soft skills won’t just help you achieve success as a gig worker but will help you build a better, more productive personal life as well. Don’t worry if these skills don’t come naturally to you, you can develop them over time.

Succeeding as a gig worker may be easier than you think.

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