Soft skills are the human side of the workplace — or pretty much anyplace. They include things like good communication, an awareness of how their interactions impact others, ability to fit in with company culture and values, basic aptitude for teamwork, resilience, adaptability, problem solving, and emotional intelligence.
While not the primary thing employers looked for in the past (or sadly some in the present), more and more employers realize the importance of soft skills to employee satisfaction, turnover, and the bottom line.
Some soft skill examples
- Strategic planning.
- Solution-oriented thinking.
- Critical thinking.
- Communication skills.
- Positive attitude.
- Interpersonal skills.
- Time management.
- Awareness of others needs / motivators.
- Conflict resolution.
- Ability to speak up when needed.
- Sensing where a solution might be found.
- Ability to persuade when needed.
- Follow-through / seeing a project to the end.
- Recovering / refocusing when things go wrong.
- Basic social skills.
Why soft skills matter so much
If your job requires strong technical skills, soft skills alone won’t get you very far. But even the techiest tech needs to be able to work with others to get things done. And to maybe help aim a project in a direction they think is better. Even just the resilience to come back after failure and not carry it around as a wound going forward.
And for people who interact regularly with others, soft skills can make or break their ability to succeed in the job. They still have to do the work, but soft skills are the backbone of any successful company — even though it’s taken a while for them to admit it. And to seek it out.
One more thing about soft skills. They can be transferable — something you take from job to job. And in interviews they can help you bridge the gap if your technical skills need extra help. Just show examples such as how they helped you bring a project in on time, save the company money, etc.
Check out more career definitions!