Soft Skills: Why It’s Not Just What You Know That Counts

In the IT world things are always changing, and it’s important to stay up to date with the proper knowledge and skills needed to keep up with the changes in technology. Having the technical skills needed to properly assess a situation and provide a solution are key to success for anyone who has a supporting role in IT. But just as important are the things that are far less technical, and that’s having the proper attitude and the interpersonal skills needed to communicate with and interact with others, especially with those who you are trying to help.

It is often said that, “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” and that is especially true when it comes to computer support. The IT world is full of very smart people, but the really successful computer support technicians are those who not only know what the problem is and how to fix it, but who can also effectively manage the human aspect of computers as well. Technical skills are required for the job, but people skills are often what determines success in the workplace. It is important to learn how to look and act professional, including how to deal with difficult situations while maintaining a professional attitude. Many IT workers have overlooked the importance of their “soft skills,” leading to their own downfall. Don’t let others’ impressions of you overshadow your technical skills.

The key word in all of this is “professional.” It is important to maintain a professional appearance, in both dress and personal appearance. Dressing professionally inspires confidence. It shows you are in a professional state of mind and reassures others who might otherwise be worried about finding solutions to their problems. You must be honest in your work. Experience teaches that the perceived benefits of dishonesty can never outweigh the consequences. There will be times when you are unsure what is causing a problem or what to do about it. Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know.” A great technician can admit when solutions are unclear but will also commit to finding the right solutions.

Remember, you are a service professional. IT professionals often have a lot of freedom in their work out of necessity. You need to be dependable in performing your job duties. The number one thing you must do is be on time. Be on time to work. Be on time for your appointments. Do not make commitments you will be unlikely to keep. Failure to show up on time is not just annoying, it can cost customers and employers a lot of money in lost time and lost productivity.

By keeping all of these things in mind and applying them in your daily work, you will be better prepared to face the variety of challenges that come your way. As you do so, you will find your technical skills will be even more appreciated as you are able to earn the trust and respect of others around you. By combining your technical knowledge with these soft skills, you will become successful and find greater satisfaction in the quality of work that you are able to accomplish.

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