Are you concerned that you don’t have the right skills for a job? You may not be able to check all of the boxes of the technical skills that a job requires, but that doesn’t mean that you are unqualified.
Soft skills are the personality traits you have such as the ability to communicate well or work on a team. People who have good soft skills are more likely to be good at working with others, reliable, and effective contributors.
In this guide, we’re going to discuss what soft skills are and why they are important. We’ll then walk through a few example soft skills that you can mention on your resume to set yourself apart from the crowd.
What Are Soft Skills?
Soft skills are any character trait that you have in social situations. There are a wide range of soft skills from being creative to being dependable.
Soft skills in a workplace are best described as the skills you have which relate to how you work with others and how you apply yourself to the job.
Unlike technical skills, which are often referred to as hard skills, soft skills are not learned in a classroom as they are acquired through experience. To develop a hard skill, you may participate in a training program, a college course, or learn on the job. Soft skills are developed on the job as you work. Examples of hard skills include: being able to use spreadsheets, being able to code, and being able to write contracts.
Why Should I Care About Soft Skills?
There are a few reasons why soft skills are important. The first reason is soft skills are transferable to different jobs and industries. This means that if you have developed a soft skill on one job, it is likely that you will be able to apply that same skill to another job. For instance, once you’ve learned to be a good communicator, you can use that skill on future colleagues.
Soft skills are also important because employers are not just focused on evaluating your technical knowledge. While having some prior experience in a job can be important, especially for more senior positions, you also need to have the necessary skills to work with others.
On your job search, you may see that a job listing asks for “strong communication skills” or “good leadership skills”. Employers ask for these traits specifically because the employee who holds the position will need them to be successful.
Because employers are looking for employees with soft skills, you should be aware of the soft skills you have and how they can be used in the positions you are applying for.
Soft skills are acquired over time, so there is no easy shortcut around building them. You need to practice at building these skills. As you develop more experience in the workforce, you will start to see that you acquire a wide range of soft skills, even without knowing that you are actually building new ones.
What Soft Skills Are Valued by Employers?
So, you’re thinking to yourself: “These skills sound interesting, but what ones should I be highlighting when speaking with employers?” The correct answer to this question is you should highlight any applicable soft skills you already have for a job.
The soft skills that you’ll want to highlight on a resume or in a job interview will depend on job requirements. If you are applying for a customer service role, for instance, the soft skills you will need will be different than if you were applying for a marketing role.
To help you figure out what soft skills you can showcase to an employer, we have prepared a list of examples of soft skills. These are:
Hiring managers look out for candidates able to work well on a team. No matter what job you have, there will likely be some degree of team work involved. You may have to work on projects together, attend team meetings, or ask others for help.
As a result, you need to work well with others. You should also be good at conflict resolution while working on a team because there will be disagreements among coworkers. In those situations you should be able to gracefully accept feedback and resolve the conflict.
#2: Problem Solving
Businesses solve problems. The purpose of a business is to provide a valuable product or service that solves problems. It’s no wonder that businesses value workers who are capable of solving problems.
You should be able to use your knowledge of a particular subject and experience to come up with creative solutions. You should also be able to consider different solutions to problems and decide which one is best.
#3: Work Ethic
Employees with a strong work ethic are those who complete quality work on time. If you arrive to work on time, are focused at work, and complete your tasks before a deadline is reached, then you are likely to have a strong work ethic.
Employers value people who have a strong work ethic because they are more likely to have a growth mindset. People who work hard are typically willing to go above-and-beyond to get their work done and want to spend time in environments where they can learn as much as possible.
Leadership is a valuable skill in the workforce. While the two terms are often used interchangeably, leadership is not the same as management. You don’t need any professional management experience to be a good leader.
Good leaders are those who can make decisions when they are asked to and manage different situations and people. A good leader may step up and take on additional responsibilities on a team project if they feel it is necessary to ensure success.
Work environments change all the time. Offices are redecorated. Employees are reassigned. New projects are started and existing ones change over time.
Employers value workers who can adapt to new changes at work and suit their habits to a new environment. Flexible people are more likely to be forward-thinking. So rather than complaining about problems, they will implement new processes to help them adapt to the changes that have been made.
How to List Soft Skills on Your Resume
A good place to highlight your soft skills is on your resume. But how do you go about listing soft skills on a resume? That’s a great question.
The first step is to make a list of all the soft skills you have. Then, once you have this list, you should think about how those skills relate to the positions for which you are applying. This will give you a better sense of how your skills will add value to a particular position if you are hired.
Once you know what skills you want to highlight, you are ready to add them to your resume. The best place to list soft skills is to add them to the “skills” section, which is where you outline all of your technical and interpersonal skills. Here’s how you could list your soft skills on your resume:
"Career Karma entered my life when I needed it most and quickly helped me match with a bootcamp. Two months after graduating, I found my dream job that aligned with my values and goals in life!"
Venus, Software Engineer at Rockbot
Office clerk skills: Attention to detail, ability to communicate, ability to solve problems, ability to work on a team, strong organizational skills.
You can also highlight your soft skills in the “work history” section of your resume. In this section, use bullet points to highlight your accomplishments. This is a good opportunity to mention how some of your soft skills have led to tangible results in your previous jobs.
Here is an example of soft skills being listed in the work history section of a resume:
J&F Paper Company
- Managed monitoring inventory levels of office supplies and ordering new ones.
- Worked on a team to reorganize our filing system for accounting department memos.
- Led initiative to create digital copies of physical company records.
As you can see, this candidate has written a list of their accomplishments and highlighted two core soft skills: their ability to work on a team and their ability to lead.
Employers often look for people who have both hard and soft skills.
Soft skills revolve around how well you work with others. These skills are learned over time and can be carried over to most jobs in any industry. Hard skills, on the other hand, are the technical skills that are specific to a particular role or industry.
On your job search, you should make sure that you highlight any relevant soft skills for the job you’re applying for. This will help you position yourself as a stand-out candidate, especially if you are applying for a job where everyone has similar educational or professional backgrounds.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.