June 19, 2019
The United States is in a gig economy, meaning that it’s easier to make a living from freelance work than it is to obtain full-time employment. The internet has transformed the way we consume and share information. It has likewise transformed how we obtain college degrees and get jobs. It’s entirely possible that a person graduates from an online university and begins working remotely. If everything we do is now virtual, is emotional intelligence (or “soft-skills”) still an important skill for day-to-day life?
Communication, leadership, decision-making, empathy, and teamwork are all examples of soft-skills. All of these are just as relevant in remote work as they are in an office setting. Looking someone in the eye is just as, if not more, important during virtual communication, when body language is secondary and communicating clearly is critical to successful interactions.
Texts, emails, and Slack messages (all critical for digital communications) are easily misinterpreted. The tone of someone’s text is difficult to dissect when body language and the overall human element are removed from a conversation. Relaying intent via video chat is the next generation of soft skills. Expertise in written, spoken, and nonverbal communication is crucial when you may be hundreds or thousands of miles away from your nearest colleague. A firm handshake may slowly lose relevance during a business deal and be replaced with not texting during a video conference.
Even if these skills are mastered, the world of work is going to require that someone prove they’re good at these skills, especially if an interview and offer are made without a face-to-face meeting. Digital credentials, especially those shared on LinkedIn and through a professional profile, are validated proof that goes beyond technical competency. Digital credentials for soft skills exist in a variety of forms, allowing earners to prove mastery in empathy, communication skills, leadership, and management.