As the need for new technology continues to grow, the demand for IT professionals with specialized technical skills continues to rise as well. However, IT professionals shouldn’t expect that their work history and technical skills are enough to land them the job. What else are employers looking for in their latest IT hires? A strong set of IT soft skills.
“While your technical skills might land you an interview, your soft skills could secure you the job,” says Tricia Demosthene, a Senior Technical Recruiter in The Execu|Search Group’s Information Technology division. “Employers are looking for employees who not only possess the technical skills needed to do well in the role, but also the soft skills necessary for evolving with the organization and moving the business forward.”
To put yourself on the fastest path to success, here are the IT soft skills you should emphasize:
Regardless of your area of specialization, your ability to interact with non-IT employees will be a key factor in whether you’re who a hiring manager is looking for. However, it’s important to remember that strong communication skills go beyond the ability to convey a particular issue at hand. “As the workplace becomes increasingly reliant on technology, it’s becoming more important for IT professionals to articulate technical processes, issues, and solutions in a way non-technical staff can understand,” says Tricia.
In your career as an IT professional, have you ever spearheaded a project or taken it upon yourself to formulate new Standard Operating Procedures? If so, don’t forget to mention it when you apply for jobs! Since critical needs and changes can come up at any time, employers want to see someone who regularly demonstrates initiative by staying on top of current trends and innovations in the industry. By showing this is among your IT soft skills, you’ll become one of the first people management turns to when seeking guidance on how to keep the business up-to-date with evolving trends.
Teamwork / Interpersonal Skills
Long gone are the days where most of your responsibilities can be handled behind a computer, especially if you want to move into a management role. As a result, it’s important to show a hiring manager that you’re able to work well with others. “Today, it’s rare to find a position that doesn’t require you to collaborate with multiple teams,” Tricia says. “While being able to work independently is a valuable skill, you also want to make it clear that you’re capable of contributing to a team in order to achieve the best possible outcome.” After all, collaboration is often required for innovation!
Presentation / Leadership Skills
With executives turning to IT leaders for advice on critical business decisions, your presentation and leadership skills are key. “You must be able to do more than walk staff and business leaders through a PowerPoint presentation,” says Tricia. “You need to confidently make your case about why the company should be investing in certain hardware and software, especially in regards to how it will be beneficial in the long run.”