Greatest Factor in Job Success: Soft Skills


Academic knowledge, solid test scores, good grades – yes, they’re often stamped as a student’s golden ticket for life beyond high school. But let’s not forget a huge puzzle piece that we not only need to help students cultivate, but that we also must encourage them to focus upon: interpersonal and employability skills.

In a research study conducted by Harvard University in conjunction with the Carnegie Foundation and Stanford Research Center, it was found that 85% of job success comes from having well‐developed soft and people skills, and only 15% of job success comes from technical skills and knowledge (hard skills). That seems like quite the break down – this essentially tells us that we are doing our students a disservice if we’re not putting enough focus on these soft skills and people skills. But how do we teach these skills and how can we help ensure students know how to use these skills after high school? Let’s find out.


1.      Identify These Skills

Seems simple, right? Maybe… maybe not. These skills are very much all encompassing. The key to teaching them is understanding what they involve. States often have standards that dictate various employability skills, although resources are few and far between to interject these skills into curriculum. It’s critical, therefore, to make sure that the curriculum you choose has done this for you. That’s why, at eDynamic Learning, we’ve identified six key categories of interpersonal and employability skills that we believe are important for students to learn and practice:



2.    Understand Their Importance

For educators, understanding the gravity of these skills is imperative so that instead of having them fall by the wayside, they’re prioritized. It’s necessary for educators and students to realize that these skills are not just buzzwords or a trend. Rather, they’ll create lifelong benefits, involve concepts and behaviors that students begin to use and refine in school, and continue to improve upon throughout their academic, professional, and personal lives. These skills also promote positive developmentstudents who are taught and learn these skills are happier, more resilient, and better able to manage various issues that arise.


3.    Start Early

Sure, these skills may come more naturally to some people, but assuming students innately know these skills and can appropriately utilize them can be rather risky. As educators, we often focus on the early foundations of these skills in younger, elementary-aged children and by the time our students reach middle school,  this focus may lose priority to other subject matter content. It’s far more effective, however, to make these skills a priority in both middle and high school – this is why eDynamic Learning has carefully included these skills in all of our courses.


4.    Teach in Context

It’s obviously helpful when schools develop or make use of programs that target interpersonal and employability skills. However, taking this a step further and integrating these skills into the context of the subject being taught allows for a deeper understanding and additional practice opportunities. And a bonus – studies have shown that by teaching students these skills, their general academic performance improves across other subject areas. At eDynamic Learning, these skills are laced through all our courses, encouraging students to communicate, think critically, and develop a stronger understanding of self and the world around them in the context of the career or subject they’re learning about.


5.    Make the Connection

We know that employers look for these crucial soft skills so incorporating this type of learning will allow students to be more successful no matter what type of job they’re seeking across every industry.  And now more than ever companies need leaders who are good with people. So, helping students to understand that interpersonal and employability skills are essential for workplace success will help them both now and in the future.

While hard skills are absolutely important to truly prepare your students for success in life beyond high school, interpersonal and employability skills need to be placed front and center. And in doing so as an educator, you can be confident you’re preparing the next generation for anything – personally, professional, and emotionally. And perhaps that is the true golden ticket.

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