Often complementing hard skills, soft skills are a set of interpersonal, social, and communication abilities that are much sought after by employers. Primarily because they are valuable in the workplace.
Unlike technical skills, which are job-specific, soft skills are more about how you interact with others, approach tasks, and navigate difficult situations.
They are highly valued by recruiters as they cannot only contribute towards building a positive work environment, but also help to improve teamwork, and lift workplace morale.
Why are soft skill important?
They can be crucial in your job-hunting efforts and career advancement. This is because they can do two important things that boost productivity, firstly help you to bond with colleagues and secondly fit in well within an existing company culture.
They are skills that employers look for when recruiting and are needed for most jobs. Potential employers see job applicants with strong soft skills as people who are more adaptable and resilient than others. Having them can help you to effectively navigate the complexities of not only a busy workplace but also your personal life.
These skills are not specific to a particular job, profession, situation, or industry and are often transferable, allowing individuals to take them wherever they go.
Having the right ones can make you more employable.
What are soft skills?
The term encompasses a wide range of interpersonal, communication, and behavioural traits not specific to one job. They are versatile attributes can help to characterize your relationships with other people and complement any existing hard skills you may have.
Most people already have a number of soft skills that they simply do not know about and so cannot use to their advantage. They’re usually self-developed, meaning you do not have to go on a course to develop them. However, like most things you must be willing to adapt them to improve them over time.
Difference between hard and soft skills
The real differences between these two sets lie in their nature, application, and teachability. Hard skills may be important in some industries, but soft skills are important in all of them. It’s as simple as that.
Hard skills tend to be industry specific, teachable abilities that are gained through formal education, training programs, or on-the-job experience. They are directly related to performing tasks within a particular field or industry.
This is the opposite of soft skills, which are more intangible, interpersonal, and behavioural attributes that are not role-specific and are harder to quantify. Soft skills are a blend of your personality and attitude, as well as social and emotional intelligence.
In conclusion it must be said that both types of skills are essential for professional success. A well-rounded individual must possess a good balance of both.
Can soft skills be taught?
Although they require no formal training, they are generally picked up through previous positions or experiences.
Soft skills examples to include in your resume
Below is a list of key sought after soft skills that are suitable for any role or industry. When crafting your resume try to include these along with your relevant competencies and experiences for each job application. Used properly they can boost your resume and enhance your job-hunting journey.
This is the ability to convey information effectively through speaking, writing, and listening. Being a good communicator enables a person to communicate effectively, whether through verbal, non-verbal, or written means. It’s crucial to be able to do this when applying for jobs and working with other people.
Apart from all the above, they are also important in personal relationships, such as when fostering understanding between friends and building connections between individuals. Here is a breakdown of the key components of communication skills:
Expressing your thoughts, ideas, and information coherently through spoken words, articulation, tone, pitch, and voice.
Means sending a message to others through your body language, gestures, facial expressions, posture, and eye contact. Combined all of these can influence how a message is perceived, received, and understood.
Related to being able to pay attention and accurately comprehend what others are saying. It involves focusing on others, showing empathy, and having the ability to understand what is being said.
Describes working collaboratively with others, being a team player, and contributing positively to group efforts. All with the aim of achieving harmony between a group of colleagues.
It helps towards reaching a shared goal, pooling resources and having group brain storming sessions to come up with ideas. Being a good team player can contribute towards building a cohesive and efficient team and creating a more enjoyable work environment.
A key part of it is understanding your role within the team, as well as the roles of other team members, to ensure coordination of work duties and efficient task allocation.
It’s also vital to be able to recognize, consider and take into account your colleagues viewpoints, needs, and feelings. All of this helps to build an atmosphere where everyone feels they’re being respected and having their view considered.
As a responsible team player, you must also be prepared to take ownership of tasks, fulfil your commitments, and be prepared to be held accountable for your actions and those of the team as a whole.
Refers to being flexible and open to change, as well as quickly adjusting to new situations and environments. It means having a flexible, resilient, and open-minded attitude when facing challenges or encountering new environments.
Show you are a flexible individual who is prepared to adjust their plans, behaviours, or approaches in response to evolving circumstances. Demonstrate that you can embrace change and are comfortable with uncertainty and proactive in embracing new ideas rather than resisting them.
All of these highlight to a Hiring Manager that you are not someone who sticks to dogmas, but are prepared to move on in a fast changing world. You are a versatile individual who has the capacity to rapidly acclimatise themselves to new situations or environments.
Modern workplaces are constantly undergoing change, job seekers must have the mindset needed to navigate them and remain productive in dynamic environments.
It’s vital you show you can evolve with a role.
EI means being able to correctly understand and manage emotions. It refers to being able to recognize, understand, manage, and effectively express not only your own emotions but also those of other people.
It’s distinct from intellectual intelligence (IQ) and plays a critical role in helping people to successfully in managing stress and conflicts. Individuals with high emotional intelligence can navigate social complexities, show empathy, make sound decisions, and build strong relationships.
One of its traits is emotional self-regulation, which means being able to manage and control one’s emotions, impulses, and reactions. This involves staying calm under pressure, being adaptable, and handling stressful situations effectively. Another is recognizing and understanding your own strengths, weaknesses, values, and knowing how they may impact your thoughts, mood, and behaviour.
A good example of emotional intelligence in action is being able to handle criticism. For instance, positively receiving constructive criticism from a supervisor and rather than being upset, instead using it as an opportunity for self-improvement. This shows that you have managed to control your ego.
Another example is conflict resolution. This is where you will defuse situations in a constructive manner, where everyone gives and takes a little. It’s where you help to find mutually acceptable solutions while maintaining relationships through keeping your emotions in check and approaching the situation with a calm and composed demeanour. For instance, avoid taking sides with a friend by realising this could inflame the situation and instead act as an impartial mediator who will ensure fairness and objectivity in the resolution process.
Don’t forget empathy, which is the ability to understand and share the feelings, emotions, perspectives, and experiences of another person. This involves walking in someone else’s shoes and seeing things from their viewpoint. This will lead you to having a non-judgmental attitude and approaching situations without bias or judgment.
A vital skill that is essential in both a personal and professional context. It involves being able to analyse issues, find solutions, and make decisions. The key components of problem solving are:
Being able to clearly and accurately recognize and define core issues, problems or challenges.
Using your analytical thinking skills to break down a complex problems into smaller components and understand the links between different factors.
Thinking outside the box to generate new solutions and explore unconventional ideas to resolve problems.
Finally, developing a step-by-step plan or approach to solve the problem, as well as outlining the goals and actions along the way required for implementation and success.
All in all, successful problem solving required a willingness to approach challenges with a systematic and open-minded mindset. The hard work involved in developing this skills is worth it as employers really like staff who have a track record of resolving issues.
Having the ability to guide, inspire, and motivate individuals to achieve a common goal is gold dust to a recruiter. That’s because people who can do are able to take the strain off existing supervisors or managers. In essence they will stand in for them in their absence.
Central to this is not only being able to communicate vision, goals, and expectations clearly and effectively to team members, but also then motivating people to achieve them. This is done through fostering enthusiasm and encouraging high levels of performance and commitment.
Developing your leadership skills involves self-awareness, continuous learning, practice, and a willingness to adapt and improve one’s abilities over time. Company’s value it because they know it can yield substantial benefits, not just for the leader but also for the team, and organization as a whole.
A much sought after competency that enables individuals to organize, prioritize tasks, and effectively utilize their time to achieve goals and maximize productivity. It’s central to being able to prioritize tasks based on their importance and urgency.
Here’s a breakdown of what is required for effective time management;
- Clearly define the precise short-term and long-term goals you want to achieve.
- Plan and schedule tasks by putting together schedules, to-do lists through calendars and planners to allocate time for specific tasks or activities that must be done.
- Break down larger tasks into more manageable smaller parts, and again organize them based on deadlines and importance. This makes them less overwhelming and easier to start.
- Delegate tasks to people who you know can do them.
- Avoid procrastination and postponing tasks by planning each day in detail and staying focused on what must be done. A good tip it to identify and minimize distractions, whether it’s social media, notifications, or environmental factors that hinder productivity.
- Allocate specific blocks of time for certain tasks or activities and then rigidly stick to ensuring they are done in that time period.
Effective time management involves organization, self-discipline and most importantly finding techniques that work best for your individual preferences and work styles.
People with good decision-making skills can analyse situations, weigh options, and make informed and timely decisions. Effective decision-making involves learning from experiences, watching what others do in similar situations and continuously improving one’s ability to assess situations and make sound judgments. Although they are particularly sough after for leadership or managerial positions, every job seeker who has this skill should show it off.
Skills to include in your resume
Adaptable skills to include in a CV
Decision making skills to include in a CV
Delegating skills to include in a CV
How to show you are a determined person in a CV
How to show your efficiency at work
Hard working examples to include in a CV
Initiative skills to include in a CV
Leadership skills to include in a CV
Problem solving skills to include in a CV
Professionalism skills to include in a CV
Sociable skills to include in a CV
Team player skills to include in a CV