What are soft skills?

To find out how to make the most of them, here’s our guide on soft skills – and how they could help land your next job.

3 mins read
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5 months ago

​Worried that your lack of skills is letting you down?

Soft skills are important in a range of different roles, helping you do everything from negotiating and selling to managing your schedule. You probably have several attributes already that you’re simply not using to your advantage. You just need to learn how to back them up.

To find out how to make the most of them, here’s our guide on soft skills – and how they could help land your next job.

What are soft skills?

Soft skills are general attributes that aren’t specific to a job or industry.

They’re usually self-developed, meaning no training is needed to build them. And because they can be applied to many different roles, soft skills are always desirable – no matter what field you’re working in.

List of soft skills

Soft skills are a combination of many different things, including social skills, character traits and employment qualities.

As a result, the number of soft skills is almost endless. Some of the most common examples include:

  • Communication skills

  • Leadership

  • Problem-solving

  • Critical thinking

  • Team working

  • Flexibility

  • Resilience

  • Negotiation skills

Why are soft skills important?

Although hard skills might be important in some industries, soft skills are important in all of them.

They’re what help us bond with other people around the business and fit well within the company culture. Without them, even someone with the right qualifications could end up alienating themselves in their role, or not having the right mindset to do their job effectively.

They’re also what help distinguish us from other potential candidates when we look for a new position.

What are the advantages of soft skills?

One of the biggest advantages of soft skills is that they don’t limit you to working within one industry.

They are transferable skills, allowing you to demonstrate your personality and effectiveness to prospective employers, even if you have limited experience in their field.

For example, your excellent communication skills may have made you good at selling. But many other sectors outside of sales require people who can communicate well – whether it’s by attracting new customers, building relationships with suppliers or working effectively in a team.

Also, everyone has some form of soft skills. They require no formal training and are usually picked up through previous positions or experiences – meaning you might already have some great attributes you can use to your advantage.

What are the disadvantages of soft skills?

Although they’re valuable, soft skills won’t always be enough to get you the job.

Some industries require more formal qualifications or experience to get your foot in the door, and without these prerequisites, your soft skills may not be enough.

Soft skills are also extremely difficult to measure, meaning some employers don’t appreciate their true value until you’ve actively been able to demonstrate them.

How do I demonstrate soft skills on my CV?

It’s never enough to say you have soft skills – you need to back them up.

When it comes to writing a CV that means adding practical examples to show times when you’ve put your soft skills to good use.

For example, stating you have good problem solving skills sounds fine. But saying ‘good problem solving skills, demonstrated when I successfully overcame X’ will come across much better to employers – not to mention add value to your CV.

And the best part? A list of desirable skills will already be provided for you in the job description. All you need to do is prove them.

If you struggle to think of good examples, use the STAR technique to help get you started.

Can I learn soft skills?

Soft skills are self-developed. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t be taught.

There are a wide range of courses out there to help you improve everything from your organisation skills through to your public speaking. So, even if it’s not something you’re particularly strong on right now, there’s no reason you can’t get better.

Figure out what skills you think you need to improve, find a course and get started.

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