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What are Soft Skills?
Soft skills refer to how you achieve work goals and include attributes that range from leadership to work ethics to attitude.
Soft skills are sometimes referred to as: interpersonal skills, social skills, communication skills, people skills or life skills.
They’re necessary for career success. So, when you’re applying for a job, you need to specify which soft skills are your strongest.
However, what makes them “soft” skills is that they’re not always easy to prove, demonstrate or quantify with hard numbers. Soft skills tend to be supported by anecdotal evidence.
IIt’snecessary to understand this soft skills definition because you also need to feature them on your resume balanced with hard skills!
Soft skills versus hard skills
Hard skills, by contrast, refer to what you do to achieve a work goal. Hard skills are much easier to prove, demonstrate. or quantify than soft skills.
To make this distinction crystal clear, here are some examples of both.
- Soft skills list:
- Hard skills list:
130+ Top Soft Skills
Let’s take a closer look at the top 10 types of soft skills: Time management, decision-making, work ethic, teamwork, creativity, conflict resolution, emotional intelligence, critical thinking, interpersonal skills and empathy.
Then, we’ll break each of these main abilities into additional related soft skill examples.
Time management is how we organize and balance our time between activities to achieve goals. Good time management maximizes productivity and reduces stress.
Related time management skills:
- Meeting deadlines
- Calendar management
- On-time delivery
- Project length estimation
- Goal setting
- Short-term goals
- Long-term goals
We all face situations in life that require us to make choices. To reach a wise decision, you must gather information, identify your goals and weigh the consequences. Decision-making in the workplace helps determine what can make or break a business opportunity.
Related decision-making skills:
- Emotional intelligence
- Weighing calculated risks
- Business forecasting
- Alternative considerations
- Predictive modeling
- Data-driven decisions
Employers look for candidates with a strong work ethic because they are trustworthy and reliable. Employees with excellent work ethic stay focused on tasks for as long as necessary to get them done. They also bring honesty and integrity to the workplace.
Related work ethic skills:
- On time
- Positive attitude
- Task completion
- Exceeding expectations
- Quality craftsmanship
Teamwork divides big tasks into smaller pieces; people work together to meet deadlines and reach goals. Team spirit is beneficial to efficiency, morale and motivates your team to share ideas and responsibilities.
Related teamwork skills:
- Team mentality
- Cross functional
- Following instructions
- Collective attitude
- Goal oriented
- Meeting productivity
- Rapport building
- Shared responsibility
- Group motivation
- Diplomatic feedback
Creativity is essential in the workplace because it brings innovation. Boosting creativity in the workplace helps drive business forward. It means taking you and your team out of your comfort zone and unlocking fresh ideas.
Related creativity skills:
- Creative solutions
- Outside-the-box thinking
- Creative problem-solving
- Unique approaches
- Lateral thinking
- Idea generation
- Creative collaborations
- Meeting contribution
Having good conflict resolution skills improves work harmony and productivity. This skill cultivates stronger work relationships, makes teams function better and improves work happiness.
Related conflict resolution skills:
- Constructive solutions
- Interpersonal communication
- De-escalation strategies
- Dispute mitigation
- Two-sided solutions
- Stress reduction
- Emotional awareness
- Cross-functional improvement
Emotional intelligence is the ability to manage your emotions to relieve stress, communicate effectively and defuse conflict. Empathy helps you understand different perspectives to be more patient, predictive and pleasant to the people with whom you work!
Related emotional intelligence skills:
- Social awareness
- Social justice
- Reading clients
- Customer service
- Interpersonal skills
- Deep listening
- Identifying tension
- Emotional support
This skill refers to analyzing difficult situations and being strategic at assembling information. Critical thinking saves companies money, can improve workflow and solve problems.
Related critical thinking skills:
- Data selection
- Multi-prong solutions
- Bias identification
- Trend recognition
- Data forecasting
- Clear presentation
Interpersonal skills cultivate effective communication with individuals and groups. They help us interact and work better with others. Whether you use them in the workplace or your personal life, these skills are key for success and human connection.
Related interpersonal skills:
- Active listening
- Dispute resolution
- Written communication
- Oral communication
- Expressing appreciation
- Positive attitude
- Friendly personality
- Collaborative spirit
- Tension reduction
- Team building
- Bonding activities
Those with high levels of empathy use compassion as a tool to have a deeper understanding of a situation. It helps build meaningful relationships throughout your career and personal life. Employees value this skill because it creates genuine connections when working with clients or stakeholders.
Related empathy skills:
- Deep listening
- Colleague relationships
- Cultural sensitivity
- Respect building
- Body language interpretation
- Interpersonal relations
- Expressing gratitude
- Rapport creation
Soft skills are critical for your personal and professional growth. In the workplace, they demonstrate motivation and initiative.
Employers rely on their employees’ soft skills to develop and establish professional networks in the workplace.
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How to Showcase Soft Skills
In a competitive job market, the right soft skills can help you set yourself apart from the employer’s stack of candidates.
Follow these expert strategies to sell your soft skills for resume, cover letter and interview:
How to showcase soft skills in your resume
Use the job description to identify the specific soft skills for resume inclusion. Then, you can arrange soft skills throughout your resume.
- Summary paragraph
This section of your resume is right at the top and serves as the primary sales pitch for your resume. Mention the most important two or three skills you have that the employer seeks in this section. After all, if you don’t hook their attention here, the hiring manager may not keep reading your resume!
- Work History
You can mention examples of results you achieved where critical thinking and good decision-making skills were key. You can also provide examples of past leadership or management skills that show that you understand people and how to motivate them to perform.
- Skills section
To make your resume easy to scan, include a skills section with six to eight of your top qualities. Bullet points help to make it easier to read. Make sure you have a balance of both hard and soft skills!
How to showcase soft skills in your cover letter
Showcase your employer-sought soft skills in a cover letter using them to describe examples of result-driven accomplishments.
To impress recruiters, highlight moments from previous roles where you demonstrated proven dependability, time management and strong work ethic. These particular skills help show that you are reliable and trustworthy.
Here is an example of what you can include in your cover letter:
Be sure to check out our Cover Letter Builder if you want additional help writing your cover letter. It makes crafting a cover letter quick and easy and will guide you through the process in minutes!
How to showcase soft skills during your interview
In a competitive job market, demonstrating soft skills will set you apart from other candidates. Here are the top three soft skills that will lead to a meaningful interview:
Prepare in advance by researching the company’s culture. What qualities does their business value, creativity and innovation or dependability and quality? The information you find will define the proper way to present yourself to the organization. Adapt your responses according to the goals and values of the company.
Strong communication is essential in any role. Recruiters value candidates who can get their points across clearly and concisely. This paves the way to building successful relationships with stakeholders and senior leaders. So, communicate well and let employers know it’s something you value, too.
Interviewers will ask for examples of when you’ve been able to work independently or with the team to solve challenging situations. Before your interview, prepare several examples of your best problem-solving experiences. This could include scenarios when you used critical thinking to find a solution. Whatever anecdote you give, frame it in a problem-action-solution way to provide a clearer narrative.
Get prepped with JobHero’s most commonly asked interview questions to further prepare for your interview.
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How to Improve Soft Skills
Soft skills impact your success: they boost your productivity, help manage your reputation and create a path toward career advancement.
Here are simple life practices that will help sharpen your soft skills:
Learn to manage your stress. Try meditation or exercise as strategies! Take a deep breath and avoid panic, distemper or rude remarks. Channeling your energy in a positive direction will allow you to communicate in times of need, be strategic and keep a professional demeanor.
You will develop a strong work ethic if you practice mindfulness in all things you do and focus on quality. Your soft skills will blossom if you perform every task with attention, intention and clear focus!
Employers want to hire positive people with upbeat attitudes. They make better employees because they’re more agreeable and likely to have warm relations with clients and co-workers. If positivity doesn’t come naturally to you, try practicing gratitude––reminding yourself to be thankful can lead to a more optimistic view of the world.
Organization demonstrates your attention to detail. It also cultivates time management and shows that you are a reliable resource. Avoid clutter and stick to deadlines and timelines. Start using a calendar and set up a daily routine. These habits will lead to stronger soft skills overall!
Soft skills build your confidence and help you integrate into a new role and establish yourself as a valuable team member. Improving your soft skills before you get a new job will also make beginning that new role easier!