Developing soft skills in the workplace can make you more employable. This top soft skills list includes the 10 types of soft skills to put on resumes when applying for a job.
Getting a job is more than just about having the perfect academic credentials, a perfect cover letter, a well-drafted resume, and the right references. Although all of these are indispensable, there’s more to professional success in terms of attitude, thoughts and behaviour.
Soft skills are important because they decide the nature of your success in the professional arena, and also whether it is going to be temporary or permanent. Most recruiters today want employees that are not only good at what they do but also have a positive influence over their environment.
Why Are Soft Skills Important?
The first test of your behavioural skills is the first face-to-face contact with the recruiter, i.e. the personal interview. The moment you enter the door for an interview, you are being judged by the experienced eyes of the recruiter.
There are a lot of subtle factors that contribute to their final perception of you. What you communicate through words is only half the information that the recruiter uses to process your application. The rest is communicated through your body language, gestures, behaviour and attitude.
According to Bibi Caspari, a soft skills curriculum instructor, “Words are only seven per cent of the message. How we use our voices to say the words creates 38% of the impact. And while it is hard to believe, a whopping 55% of the impact is the visual impression.”
But how do soft skills help? When you apply for a job, wanting it is only the first step. If through your behaviour, and attitude, you are able to convince the interviewer that this is something you are truly excited about, then you are ahead of the competition.
Learning soft skills help you develop thoughts that affect your emotions in a positive manner, which in turn, affect your behaviour and attitude and allow it to become more conducive to success.
Developing soft skills in the workplace is becoming very important for job seekers as recruiters look for a list of soft skills for resumes. Enhancing soft skills and personality development can make you more employable when applying for a job.
A person who is good at communicating with teams and can contribute to the company’s bottom line in a holistic manner is more valuable than a talented individual who just likes to do her work, keeps to herself and treats work as a daily chore.
Today soft skills are critical business skills for success because they are what make us human. While hard skills can be replaced by automation, soft skills can not only make you unable to be automated but will make you employable, no matter what the future holds.
Top 10 Soft Skills For Resumes When Applying For A Job
When applying for a job, career counsellors will ask you to list various types of soft skills on your resume in order to prove you have what it takes to succeed.
This top soft skills list for students and professionals highlight the best soft skills for resumes that recruiters and companies require when applying for a job.
Here are the top 10 soft skills to put on resumes that will improve your chances of being selected for most jobs:
1. Communication skills
One of the most important soft skills, communication skills are deemed essential for all jobs before, during, and after the selection process.
The ability to sell others your skills, thoughts, and ideas is one of the key soft skills you need to convey your message firmly and persuasively. You must also know how to be assertive and speak your mind while being polite and diplomatic.
When applying for a job on online job portals, you’ll have to first provide a creative, well-written resume as the first step. Then, in order to clear the interview, you need to make an inspiring first impression.
All of these steps require excellent verbal and non-verbal communication skills. So, you must be proficient in both verbal and written communication skills when applying for a new job if you want to have an edge over other candidates.
But communication is more than just the art of talking to anyone. Listening is another crucial factor in developing effective communication skills.
Whether in your personal relationships or in the workplace, you need to listen to what the other person is saying with genuine interest and attention. For leaders, “listening soft skills” are even more important interpersonal skills than the ability to share their own thoughts and opinions.
As a leader, you’ll be more effective in finding solutions if you have the skill of empathic listening to others’ problems and points of view, as this will let them know that you truly care about their feelings and opinions.
If you work in the field of customer service, soft skills such as empathy and listening are the top call centre soft skills you will have to possess.
These free online courses with certificates will help you learn perfectly spoken English and important communication skills on the best online learning platforms.
2. Interpersonal skills
Interpersonal skills refer to the way you interact with your clients, colleagues, or seniors. Qualities like empathy, flexibility, motivating people, and negotiation skills are essential for women who want to grow in their careers.
Negotiation skills require the ability to find a common, middle ground with your clients or colleagues. If you’re a good negotiator, you can quickly build relationships and achieve your targets faster without creating dissatisfaction.
Learning a new language can’t hurt either. You never know when it can come in handy. Enrol yourselves in online courses or watch video lessons on improving your interpersonal skills.
Networking is the ability to make new connections. It is an intensely powerful tool that can help you use the energy and resources of others to fuel your dreams. Without it, professional success will remain elusive.
Networking and social networking are now synonymous as most of our communication is happening over the web or mobile.
Digital communication skills may seem like hard skills, but many digital tasks require interpersonal interactions where soft skills are important.
In this era of remote communication, where most tasks are completed over email or Slack conversations, PowerPoint presentations, spreadsheets, and Zoom video calls, you also need to be technologically adept.
There are many online tutorials available on YouTube and also free or low-cost courses on many websites where you can learn digital skills.
3. Public speaking skills
If there’s one common trait among the most successful persons in the world, it’s their ability to communicate their ideas clearly. Public speaking for success is a significant plus point to have when negotiating with people.
The skill of speaking with confidence such that others are compelled to give you their attention is one of the most treasured skills you can have. However, not everyone is a gifted speaker, and that is perfectly normal.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “All the great speakers were bad speakers at first.” However, public speaking skills can be taught and you can learn presentation skills too.
So, don’t worry if you find yourself short of words, nervous while speaking to a crowd, or even with strangers. It’s only with time and practice that you’ll learn the power to influence others with your speech, dialogue, and words.
The easiest way to get going is by talking with one stranger every day. Even greeting them with a simple, “Good morning,” “Have a nice day”, with a smile, can lead to the development of confidence, which is the key to making good speeches, and persuading others.
Another way to learn public speaking skills is to join the local chapter of an organisation like Toastmasters International, which provides a “supportive learn-by-doing environment that allows you to achieve your goals at your own pace.”
4. Effective teamwork skills
No matter how good you are at what you do, you can’t succeed in your job if no one likes working with you. If you have effective teamwork soft skills on your resume, you’re likely to be more employable and successful in your job hunt.
You cannot accomplish a goal or target all by yourself, and as the saying goes, there’s no “I” in “team.” Teamwork skills are essential soft skills for managers to ensure their own success as well as achieve organizational goals.
Here are some of the qualities of a good team leader who achieves successful teamwork in the workplace:
- If you want to be a team leader, you must work on building trust with other members of your team.
- Communicate if you’re feeling neglected or are facing issues instead of holding grudges.
- Set your ego aside. At times you’ll need to replace “ME” with “WE.”
- The urge to take credit is understandable, but you can accomplish much more when you don’t care who gets the credit.
Being accepting of others differences, or being more tolerant of the points of view of others is an important skill that ensures, at the very least, that you are a good team player at work. Unless you’re accepting of others’ opinions, collaborating with others across different projects will be difficult.
Be someone who celebrates differences as the uniqueness of opinions and not as dissent. Teams that work well despite differences are the ones that succeed.
Self-acceptance will give you a solid foundation upon which to build yourself into who you want to become. Without that foundation, you may be building a house of cards. It’s your team, after all, and if your team succeeds, YOU succeed!
5. Leadership soft skills
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a manager, a regular staff member or an intern – leadership qualities are an important soft skill if you want to grow in your career.
Being a leader doesn’t mean firing orders and bossing your colleagues around. Rather, it’s about being willing to take initiative and responsibility, motivate your team and lead them towards a goal.
Constructive criticism and asking questions are essential for successful leadership but make sure you do it positively and don’t make your colleagues feel inferior.
If you’re in a senior post, make sure you help the staff working under you feel valued and respected. Host fun team-building sessions for them where they can build trust and learn each other’s personality styles.
Women can be great leaders as they have many leadership qualities that are required to succeed in the workplace. A woman’s empathy and intuition can give her a formidable edge when navigating the perils of workplace relationships.
Patience is an essential prerequisite for a good leader. Staying calm, keeping your temper in check and using positive reinforcement to get things done will work in your favour. As the saying goes, “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”
6. Effective time management skills
Effective time management is one of the essential soft skills you need to learn in the workplace. There’s a vast difference between hard work and smart work, and proper time management helps you accomplish the latter.
Prioritizing activities in your daily life, tasks at the workplace and responsibilities in your personal life will, not only save you a lot of time but also reduce the stress involved with all these activities.
Learn to outsource your work whenever necessary, delegate tasks and accept help to accomplish something when strict deadlines are involved. Effective time management requires a number of skills, including the ones below:
- Setting priorities
This will help you make the most of your work hours. If you know your priorities and deadlines, you’re less likely to waste time and let low-priority tasks eat up your time.
- Effective planning
Effectively planning your schedule according to your priorities will help you achieve your deadlines faster.
- Setting realistic goals.
Don’t overwhelm yourself by setting unrealistic goals. You’ll lose motivation and start believing that it’s impossible to achieve the goal.
- Challenging yourself.
Setting goals to stretch and challenge yourself can make the work more exciting and motivate you.
- Avoiding procrastination.
Procrastination is the enemy of time management. Don’t leave any task for tomorrow if you can help it.
- Doing the most demanding job first.
As Brian Tracy says, “Eat that frog.” It will give you a feeling of accomplishment, boost your confidence, and motivate you to complete the rest of your tasks efficiently.
7. Adaptability skills
In this ever-changing world, change is the only constant. Adaptability skills will help you respond well to new challenges and circumstances. Being a woman, this may come naturally to you, but some may have to work at it.
Organizations regularly change their methods of working, protocols, schedules, and personnel. Being rigid and uncooperative is not going to help you get things done.
When things don’t go the way you want them to, learn to react in a balanced and emotionally intelligent manner so you can handle challenges with grace. The ability to take negative feedback and failure in your stride will help you go a long way.
Those who do not allow setbacks to slow them down and remain happy and buoyant, in spite of all the negativity surrounding them, are a special breed of humans and any employer would treasure such employees.
If through an example, you could suggest situations where you showed resilience, it would help you create a far better impression with your interviewer. Setbacks are a part and parcel of this life. What’s important is how you respond to them.
Hope and despair go hand in hand, and we all have the power to not let the latter overcome us. Being honest with yourself, identifying the problem, and working steadily towards creating a solution is the best recourse.
8. Emotional self-regulation skills
Emotional self-regulation, also called emotional management, is a broad concept that involves managing your emotions in a way that will benefit you and the people you work with.
Learning emotional self-regulation is essential for women in the workforce, as they’re expected to effortlessly juggle both their professional and personal lives.
Some important aspects of emotional management skills are:
- Stress management: Deadlines, workloads, work-life balance – all these aspects can stress you out. It’s essential to learn how to remain calm in the midst of chaos. No matter how much work is piled up, allowing stress to overwhelm you isn’t helpful and will hamper your cognitive processes and decision-making ability.
- Self-confidence: Perhaps your colleagues are better-informed and better skilled than you. So what? You can be your own Champion. Have confidence in yourself and your abilities. Never criticise yourself. Be your own best friend.
- Positive attitude: Always look for a silver lining. No matter how dark things may seem, look on the bright side. Positive thinking and learning how to always be happy will bring you peace of mind, help you build resilience in the face of adversity and help you succeed in the long run.
- Self-awareness: Only you know what your strengths and weaknesses are. You can’t achieve your goals by staying in your comfort zone. Don’t underestimate or overestimate yourself. Take on new challenges and focus on your strengths.
- Mindfulness: This is a very useful skill to help manage one’s emotions, and practising mindfulness meditation can help you learn better emotional self-regulation in your personal and professional life.
9. Life-long learning
As the American writer and futurist, Alvin Toffler wrote:
The desire and willingness to learn new skills – also called life-long learning – is very important to expand your cognitive abilities and your skillset.
You can read blogs or eBooks, watch videos, and do courses to learn new skills, keep yourself updated and keep challenging yourself.
There are so many free and low-cost ways to learn new skills nowadays that there’s no excuse not to upskill and reskill yourself.
10. Organizational skills
Organizational skills are another broad concept that involves both physical as well as mental skills.
Physical organization skills refer to maintaining a neat, clean, and functional workplace. A cluttered workspace will hinder your thinking and productivity and create stress.
If you cannot effectively organise your workspace or home office, you could end up losing or misplacing important files or documents, leading to a waste of time or worse.
Taking responsibility for office resources and returning items or tools you might have borrowed is also an important part of physical organizational skills.
Mental organizational skills – or problem-solving soft skills – refer to how well you can process information or real problems and find a creative solution for them.
Mental exercises like puzzles or games can enhance your problem-solving soft skills. You can maintain a personal diary to write down all the spontaneous information, ideas, inspirations, deadlines, and schedules you need to maintain.
Focus, attention to detail and a strategic and analytical approach to solving problems at work are essential mental organizational skills.
What Soft Skills Can’t Teach You
While having these top soft skills will help you get the job you desire, you can also work on your soft skill development by doing soft skills courses online to help you perfect the skills mentioned above.
While many organisations conduct online soft skills training for employees nowadays, what most soft skills training courses can’t teach you is how to respond to sexist jokes and remarks, sexual harassment, or gender inequality prevalent in the workplace.
These are workplace issues that many women face on a regular basis and how you handle them depends entirely on you. If you don’t let it negatively affect you, and don’t lose your temper, you can shut down misogyny in a healthy way.
Personality development and soft skills go hand in hand. So, work to improve, not to prove! Follow this simple motto and learn the most important soft skills needed to be successful in life so you can enjoy a long and influential career.