Soft Skills Designer Needs to Be Successful

Job success isn’t just about technical skills

BY MIU YOKOYAMA

According to a study by Carnegie Foundation, only 15% of a person’s job success is determined by hard skills. This means that 85% of your job success is determined by soft skills—even for designers! Here are four soft skills designers need to be successful:

1. Communication

Whether it’s writing emails or talking to clients and co-workers, effective communication can make or break your project. Especially in the current climate where remote work is becoming more common, consistent communication is essential for productivity. Even when presenting your work to clients, you have to articulate how your design brings value to their business.

2. Adaptability

For any occupation, being adaptable is an important skill to have. It shows employers and clients that you can manage change without negatively impacting the work. Having adaptability also means you can tackle more problems by being flexible to the constraints of a project. Particularly in the design process where change is constant, being able to accommodate change displays resourcefulness and willingness to face new challenges.

3. Depersonalization

It can be hard to take feedback without it feeling like criticism to you and your abilities. However, receiving critical feedback is vital in the design process to improve the current work—no matter how negative it can be. Being able to detach yourself from your work and take criticisms like a champ is a soft skill every designer should have to continually grow and improve themselves.

4. Empathy

Design should bring value to the people. To create a design that truly brings value to the user, you need to empathize and understand experiences from the user’s point of view. This means observing the user’s behavior, asking questions that give insight into their perspective, and ultimately, immersing yourself in the user’s experience overall.

Although hard skills are crucial, it is equally essential for designers to develop soft skills to succeed in the industry. While there are many other important soft skills to have, these are the top four soft skills designers need to be successful:

  1. Communication
  2. Adaptability
  3. Depersonalization
  4. Empathy

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