SOFT SKILLS: Definition and Examples

soft skills
Atlantis University

Strong soft-skilled candidates are highly sought after for a wide range of skills. Why are soft skills so important? What are they? Read on to learn more and see the examples of soft skills for different careers.

What are Soft Skills?

Soft skills are the skills that help you blend in at work. Your attitude, motivation, flexibility, and manners are among them. Since soft skills are so crucial, businesses frequently base their hiring and promotion decisions on them.

Hard skills, usually referred to as technical skills, are distinct from soft skills because they are not directly related to the job for which you are applying. Compared to soft skills, hard skills are frequently easier to master and more quantifiable.

For a carpenter, for instance, using framing squares or using a power saw could be hard skills. The ability of the carpenter to interact effectively with clients and coworkers would be considered a soft talent.

What Makes Soft Skills So Important?

Soft skills are crucial because they enable you to collaborate well with others. Your capacity to interact with coworkers, convey your ideas, accept feedback, and reach consensus is facilitated by your communication skills, teamwork, and adaptability.

How Can I Improve My Soft Skills?

Through online courses, leadership development, and mentorship programs, you can pick up new soft skills or hone your current skill set. By focusing on your areas for improvement and pinpointing your growth areas, you may also develop your people skills. For instance, if you are aware that you need to improve your listening skills, you can start by paying close attention to what your coworkers are saying and seeking clarification when necessary.

Gaining Soft Skills

Soft skills, in contrast to hard skills that can be learned, are comparable to emotions or insights that enable people to “read” others. In a conventional classroom, at least, these are significantly more difficult to learn. They are also significantly more difficult to gauge and assess.

#1. Job Training Initiatives

Soft skills are a part of certain job training programs. They might talk about soft skills to help job seekers understand what they are and how crucial it is to emphasize them on their resumes. You can also enhance your soft skills by taking free online courses.

#2. Occupational Training

It’s likely that you have acquired some soft skills if you’ve been employed for some time. If you’ve worked in retail, for instance, you’ve likely done so in a team setting. You’ve used your ability to resolve conflicts and solve skills if you’ve assisted dissatisfied clients in finding a solution.

#3. Getting educated and giving back

When starting a new job, consider prior endeavors you’ve undertaken, such as volunteer work or activities related to your studies. You’ve probably had to interact with others, change with the times, and work out issues.

You can think about the soft skills you should hone. For instance, provide solutions to problems to your management rather than merely talking about them. Offer to help if you notice a coworker is having trouble. Suggest a procedure if you think it would make your workplace better.

You Need These 7 Soft Skills to Advance Your Career

#1. Emotional Intelligence

The capacity to understand, control, and regulate both your own and other people’s emotions is known as emotional intelligence. It consists of five essential components:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-regulation
  • Motivation
  • Empathy
  • Social ability

If you’re interested in learning more, you can read more about the specifics of the characteristics of emotional intelligence in this blog article, but in the context of the workplace, emotional intelligence comes down to a few important skills:

  • Are you able to detect and control your emotions and behaviors at work?
  • Can you establish rapport and a good rapport with others?
  • Do you have empathy for other people?
  • Can you provide and receive feedback that is both useful and constructive?

Although it may not seem like the most crucial talent for career advancement and success, in some circumstances it is. A study of new hires who underperformed throughout their first 18 months on the job found that 23% of them had poor emotional quotients. (Take this test to assess your emotional intelligence and pinpoint areas for development.)

#2. Team Player Mentality

Since your first day of preschool or daycare, you’ve been developing the soft skill of being able to play well with others. Without realizing it, you were training for a lifetime of teamwork in the workplace while arguing over blocks or trying to figure out the rules of a made-up game.

Whether you operate as an individual contributor or a people manager, you must collaborate with others in meetings, brainstorming sessions, and on a variety of cross-functional company projects. Team harmony depends on having a positive, can-do attitude when working with others. To do this, you must be able to lead inclusive meetings, be receptive to new ideas, and treat others with respect.

#3. Growth Mentality

You will run into obstacles, setbacks, and other events in any career, regardless of the role, that may frustrate you. Having a growth mindset, a term coined by psychologist Carol Dweck to describe a way of thinking that reflects perceiving your abilities, talents, and intelligence as skills you can grow and improve upon, is a soft skill that’s essential to your capacity to endure.

A person with a growth mentality may view missing a quarterly target as a chance to assess their strengths and flaws in order to reach the following quarter’s objective. However, a person with a fixed mindset can tell themselves, “I’m not good at blogging,” and allow that negative attitude — without any conviction in the possibility of growth — to affect their success in the following quarter, as well.

#4. Openness to Feedback

Although it is a component of emotional intelligence, being open and willing to accept constructive criticism at work is extremely important for success in a career, especially a new one.

Consider this: Receiving constructive criticism enables you to perform at your best, but if you take it personally or defend yourself, you won’t be able to hear it and modify your approach.

The secret to offering and receiving feedback is to approach the conversation from a place of love. You aren’t getting critical feedback because someone despises you personally; rather, they’re doing it to help you become the best version of yourself. You ought to be eager to hear feedback that will enable you to achieve your objectives more successfully.

Try immersion treatment and include receiving feedback on a daily basis if you haven’t yet developed a sense of comfort with it. To gain quick assistance in polishing your skill set and to make it simpler to accept, ask for input from more people with whom you interact at work.

#5. Adaptability

The ability to adapt to change and a positive attitude toward change are crucial for developing a successful career, regardless of your function or industry.

Nobody appreciates a complainer, whether it’s a small office reshuffle or a significant business shift. It’s crucial to embrace change in the ever-changing corporate world as well as to use it as an opportunity to experiment with novel coping mechanisms (remember the growth mindset?).

If you don’t like how often things change, either at work or on your team, put your thoughts and feelings down in writing rather than expressing them right away. You’ll be able to distinguish between valid issues and complaints that might not need to be aired with your team by outlining how and why you feel the way you do.

#6. Active Listening

You can probably detect the difference between someone hearing your words and someone who is really listening to you when you speak. When you’re giving a presentation at a meeting, if someone is typing or giving you a slack-jawed expression, they probably aren’t paying attention.

In the meantime, attentive listeners pay close attention to meeting presenters, give clarifying comments or questions, and consult notes in subsequent sessions. Because they understood something the first time, they don’t need to be told it again, which makes active listeners not only respectful colleagues but also more productive workers.

If you believe that your active listening skills could use some work, set a goal for yourself to refrain from looking at any of your devices during meetings and instead give your full attention to the speakers. If necessary, take handwritten notes (which is proven to help with memory retention).

#7. Work Ethics

You can’t be successful in a career unless you’re prepared to put in the time, effort, and hard work necessary to achieve your goals, and hiring managers and corporate leaders are searching for people who will do everything it takes to succeed in their own initiative.

It’s imperative to have a strong work ethic if you want to advance your career or land a new position, so stop whining and put in the extra effort necessary to be successful. Alternately, set aside time outside of work hours to learn new skills or tools if excelling requires them so you may utilize your time in the office as efficiently as possible.

A cheerful mindset is what ties all of these soft skills together. Even though it seems corny, you can manage the day-to-day operations of your profession and inspire others to want to work with you by holding on to the belief that there is a positive ending in every difficult circumstance. Make sure you’re devoting time and effort into evaluating and enhancing your soft skill set because these skills are softer to teach but the rewards could be even greater.

Examples of Soft Skills for 10 Careers

Are you certain which soft skills to list for your profession?

The top 90+ soft skills for 10 various professional paths are listed here. Simply choose the one that applies to you and add the appropriate skills to your resume.

#1. Consumer Service

Soft skills are crucial in customer service, especially given that it includes interacting with people. If you want to work with picky customers, whether in person, on the phone, or online, your “people skills” need to be on point.

The most common soft skills in customer service include the following:

  • Client-Serving Soft Skills
  • Communication
  • Listening skills.
  • Self-control
  • positive outlook
  • Assertiveness
  • Settling disputes
  • Empathy
  • Depersonalization
  • Accepting accountability
  • Positivity

#2. Healthcare

Years of education, extensive training, and a wide range of hard skills are required for a career in healthcare. Healthcare professionals must also be able to perform efficiently under pressure or pay special attention to detail.

Studies demonstrating the value of soft skills in creating a patient-centered approach, such as those emphasizing the role of empathy in providing effective treatment, are numerous.

Other illustrations of soft skills in the healthcare industry include:

  • Nursing Soft Skills
  • Work ethics
  • Reduction of stress
  • Teamwork
  • Positive outlook
  • Flexibility
  • Time management
  • Confidence
  • Receptive mindset
  • Empathy
  • Observation of details

#3. Online Marketing

Marketing is undoubtedly one of the most popular job choices, but with the rapid advancement of new technology and the move to online employment, digital marketing has also gained attention.

However, a career in digital marketing still requires a specific set of soft skills, even though the sector uses digital technologies to advertise goods and services.

Ten crucial soft skills for a job in digital marketing are listed below:

  • Curiosity
  • Tenacity
  • The capacity to learn
  • Adaptability
  • Multitasking
  • Teamwork
  • Creativity
  • Work ethic
  • Honesty
  • Accepting feedback

#4. Management

Coordinating and managing human resources is crucial to a manager’s success. Soft skills are now even more crucial for any form of managerial function due to this.

Here are some examples of the soft skills that managers must possess:

  • Administration Soft Skills
  • Emotional quotient
  • Stress reduction
  • Motivation
  • Work delegation
  • Negotiation
  • Planning
  • Problem-solving
  • Innovation
  • Charisma
  • Leadership

#5. Education

A profession in education requires keeping up with the trends because you work primarily with younger people. This entails regularly updating your hard skills, particularly in relation to new teaching techniques and online education.

On the other hand, the soft skills needed from a teacher haven’t evolved significantly over time. Here are a few of the more well-liked ones:

Knowledge Soft Skills

  • Both oral and written communication
  • Public speaking
  • Stress reduction
  • Patience
  • Critical thinking
  • Enthusiasm
  • Motivation
  • Work ethic
  • Settling disputes
  • Assertiveness

#6. Sales

If you want to be successful in sales, you must have soft skills. Since sales require a variety of soft skills, including negotiation, persuasion, and empathy. Your soft skills must always be strong if you want to succeed in sales, whether you work online or over the phone.

Ten soft skills that a sales professional must possess are as follows:

  • Public speaking
  • Negotiation
  • Persuasion
  • Communication
  • Sociability
  • Empathy
  • Teamwork
  • Time management
  • critically analyzing
  • Problem-solving

#7. Design

More than just doing remote design work in front of your computer screen is required to be a good designer. To realize the client’s vision, a designer needs to be creative, pay close attention to detail, be a good listener, and be receptive to criticism.

The top soft skills for any designer are as follows:

  • Visual communication
  • Talking out loud
  • Creativity
  • Observation of details
  • Active hearing
  • Patience
  • Aesthetics
  • Time management
  • Motivation
  • Accepting feedback

#8. Accounting

Perhaps the words “soft skills” and “accounting” don’t seem to go together well, but a job in accounting also calls for a certain set of soft skills.

They basically come down to this:

  • Effective verbal and textual communication
  • Organization
  • Observation of details
  • Problem-solving
  • management of time
  • system evaluation
  • Inductive thinking
  • critically analyzing
  • Active education
  • Accuracy

#9. Enterprise Analytics

Business analysts are tasked with balancing and merging business knowledge with developing technologies, making them another in-demand job in today’s digital age.

The following are the soft skills needed of a business analyst:

  • Negotiation
  • Active hearing
  • Settling disputes
  • Excellent customer service
  • Making choices
  • Problem-solving
  • Strategically minded
  • Specialized writing
  • Forming a team
  • Presenting and engaging the public

#10. Internet Development

It requires more than just being proficient in C++ or Java to pursue a career in web development. Additionally, soft skills like creativity and problem-solving are expected of developers.

Other times, engineers and designers must work together to make a concept a reality; this is where active listening comes in.

The following are the top soft skills for web developers:

  • Active listening
  • Patience
  • Open-mindedness
  • Adaptability
  • Problem-solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Creativity
  • Accountability
  • Confidence
  • Project and time management

Highlighting Your Soft Skills

When looking for a job and applying for one, at an interview, or in your regular work, it might be helpful to demonstrate your soft skills. If you’re seeking for a job, you can emphasize your soft skills in both your cover letter and resume.

Soft Skills on Resume

There should be a section on your resume devoted to outlining your pertinent hard and soft skills. Consider both the skills listed in the job posting and those that may be attested to by your references when choosing which skills to list on a resume.

Keep in mind that since soft skills are often assessed during the interview stage of the process, you should put the hard skills required for the position ahead of your soft skills. On your resume, you should aim to list 10 to 30 skills; soft skills should make up no more than half of those skills.

Here is an illustration of how your resume’s skills section may appear:

  • Technical expertise: Mac, Windows, and Blackboard for education
  • Strong communication skills; high levels of empathy; and a passion for learning are other skills.

For employers looking for people with your skill sets, include skills on your Indeed resume.

Soft Skills for Cover Letter

At least one well-developed and applicable soft skill that explains why you’re a good fit for the job should be mentioned in your cover letter. You can achieve this by describing how your soft talent fits with the objectives, principles, and/or mission of the business.

Your cover letter’s application of soft skills might resemble the one below:

In my prior position, I demonstrated passion and originality that impressed my coworkers and bosses. For instance, I organized a team to work on a marketing campaign that targeted a younger population for our product and successfully proposed it. My team members and supervisors complimented me on how well I worked with them to generate interest in our firm from the beginning to the end.

While technical activities require hard skills, having great soft skills will make you the kind of worker that businesses want to hire, maintain, and promote. At every stage of your job hunt, it’s crucial to emphasize your soft skills. Once you land the position you want, you should keep working on those skills.

Assessing Soft Skills In The Workplace

It can be difficult to recognize and evaluate soft skills in applicants because these traits are frequently immeasurable and cannot be determined by merely glancing at the soft skills listed on each applicant’s resume. It’s also your responsibility to delve deeper to learn more about a candidate’s true soft skills because candidates will work hard to put themselves in the best light possible during interviews.

How Do You Evaluate a Candidate’s Soft Skills?

#1. Ask all applicants the same questions and be aware of the qualities you’re searching for in potential employment.

Consider what soft skills are crucial for this position before beginning your interview process, and prepare specific questions to gauge those skills. It’s crucial that you complete this stage so that you can fairly assess each candidate. For instance, effective communication is crucial in a sales position. You’re more likely to identify someone who can truly speak with clients by drafting specific questions that assess how candidates use their communication skills on the job, as opposed to hiring someone who can only appear to do so (for example, because they’re extroverted).

#2. Find out how they employed soft skills in previous jobs, ask them behavioral questions.

Past behaviors can also be used as a soft skill assessment because they show how candidates behave in professional contexts. For instance, you can use targeted questions to find out how applicants handle pressure or how they handle time-sensitive assignments or collaborative projects.

Here are a few concepts:

  • When several projects are in the works at once, how do you prioritize your work?
  • What transpired when you and a coworker differed on the best course of action for a project or solution to a problem at work?

#3. Use fictitious situations, contests, and other activities that measure particular skills.

It’s often helpful to replicate job responsibilities to see how applicants might tackle common tasks and obstacles. This is so that you can identify a candidate who matches your particular environment because every position, team, and business is distinct. You can determine whether salespeople have the exact negotiation skills you’re seeking, for instance, by doing a role-playing exercise. Alternatively, you may employ a game-based activity to find individuals that have innovative problem-solving skills.

Here are a few instances:

  • How would you order your tasks if you were approaching two crucial deadlines?
  • How would you criticize a team member who wasn’t performing up to par?

#4. During interviews, pay attention to the candidates’ responses and body language.

Through job-specific questions and exercises, you can discover a lot about candidates’ soft skills. You can still identify candidates’ strong and weak points in soft skills even if your main goal is to test their knowledge and hard skills. For instance, a candidate may assert that they pay close attention to detail, but if their written work has several mistakes and errors, that raises questions. Likewise, it’s a sign of being a skilled communicator when a candidate provides you with concise, well-organized answers.

Make sure you consider everything, from how candidates interact with you during interviews to how they perform on tasks linked to the position, in order to establish an objective assessment of the soft skills and talents of candidates. By doing this, you can be sure that you are choosing workers who are both highly qualified and compatible with your workplace.


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