School, more often than not, puts emphasis on hard skills — writing, reading, science, technology, math, and so on and so forth. Of course, they’re all invaluable knowledge to have. But what about soft skills?
As we move on to join the rat race, we find out very quickly that employers value something more than being able to use the Oxford comma properly or knowing that “the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell.” They appreciate employees who have interpersonal traits that contribute to the success of the organization as a whole. In other words, they prefer people who can work as a team.
So what’s the big deal with these skills? Here’s what you need to know:
- What Are Soft Skills?
- Why Are Soft Skills Important?
- 7 Top Soft Skills & Examples
- How to Improve Your Soft Skills
- Should You Add Soft Skills to Your Resume?
While technical skills may get you the job, soft skills can make you or break you as a member of your organization. So dive in and discover how you can level up so you can have a chance to supercharge your career.
What Are Soft Skills?
Soft skills are all about how effectively you work and how harmoniously you interact with others. It involves your ability to:
- Problem-solving creatively
- Have a positive outlook and attitude
- Learn from criticism
- Work under pressure
- Manage your time
While it’s commonly known as “soft skills,” there’s the argument that the term “soft” can be misconstrued as easily yielding to pressure (which it’s anything but) and this devalues these skill sets. So, it’s been suggested that a more accurate description of soft skills could include: essential skills, emotional intelligence, or people skills.
These are very desirable qualities for the workplace. Why? Simply because they make people more pleasant to work with, contributing to a happier workplace.
And as we all know, a happy environment is a healthy environment.
Hard skills vs. soft skills
Hard and soft skills are like night and day — they both have their own unique qualities. Here’s how they differ:
- Hard skills are related to technical knowledge and training. They’re teachable and measurable qualities. An example would be Dr. Gregory House from the series House, who is brilliant at what he does, but his bedside manner leaves much to be desired.
- Soft skills are more personal qualities that help a person thrive. One example would be Huck Dembo from the movie Me Time, who is someone everyone loves but isn’t exactly “book smart.”
And like night and day, one cannot exist without the other in this life. Here is a soft skill list to show how it can go hand-in-hand with hard skills:
|Hard Skill||Soft Skill|
|Social media marketing||Creative thinking|
|Spoken languages||Effective communication|
Learning hard skills is absolutely important for your job role, but developing soft skills can help you shine.
Why Are Soft Skills Important?
The ability to interact well with others is an important aspect of any relationship, be it in your professional or personal life. Soft skills make it easier to form a connection with others, create trust and dependability, and lead.
Here are three reasons why these skills are essential:
- They improve your employability. Oftentimes, they’re associated with your professional life. So hiring managers will typically look for candidates who are able to use assertive communication, work within a team, and manage their time.
- They predict your long-term performance. A study done by Google found that soft skills went a long way in predicting their employees’ success. So much so that among the top eight most important qualities of Google’s top employees, soft skills ranked the top seven characteristics of success at the tech company, while hard skill expertise came in dead last.
- They help you adapt to the evolving career landscape. Jobs are continuously changing; what was once a revered professional (like a court jester) has now evolved to something completely different (like a social media influencer). Using your soft skill of adaptability can help integrate your hard skills into a new environment.
By improving your soft skills, there is great potential for success both in your professional and personal relationships.
7 Top Soft Skills & Examples
While you may be a genius like House’s Dr. Gregory House, navigating through your professional life can be difficult without a little Me Time’s Huck Dembo personality. So based on the qualities of Google’s top employees, here’s a look at some key soft skills with examples of how they can you with your job:
Companies want someone who can step up and take the lead. It’s not about being authoritative but understanding how to influence people and accommodate their needs. And a leader has the responsibility to be a good coach — assess, motivate, and encourage the team.
Soft skills example: Spotting a problem at work and finding a solution for it. For instance, if you’re a content writer and you notice there’s a step missing in the process from ideation to publication, then you find a way to rectify it.
2. Interpersonal skills
Essentially, this skill makes you a “people person.” You’re able to build rapport, create meaningful connections, and maintain relationships.
Soft skills example: If you’re a leader with this skill, you don’t micromanage your team. Rather, you empower them through constructive feedback, being tolerant and respectful of their opinions, and empathizing with them.
As the saying goes, teamwork makes the dream work. And with good reason.
When you’re able to work effectively and harmoniously with others, it makes projects run more efficiently and reinforces a healthy working environment for all.
Soft skills example: As part of the team, you do your part to make sure everyone feels included. For instance, if your department is striving to hit a goal, holding a brainstorming session to listen to everyone’s ideas creates an inclusive team environment and shows that you care.
4. Analytical thinking
No job comes without its challenges. Analytical skills help you identify those problems and find a solution for them.
It’s your ability to use logical reasoning and make informed decisions. That, in turn, reflects how productive and results-oriented you can be.
Soft skills example: A highly sought-after analytical skill is being able to research and gather data effectively. If you’re on the social media team, this skill can help you learn more about your audience, like what they’re interested in or when they’re more likely to see your posts.
5. Communication skills
Communication encompasses five components — verbal, body language, written, visual, and active listening. If done correctly, it helps minimize misunderstandings and miscommunication.
Soft skills example: Being a good communicator, you’re able to effectively convey or share information and feelings effectively. So if someone is talking to you, make sure you’re facing them, listen to understand, nod to signal you’re listening, respond when needed, and be aware of your body language.
6. Work ethic
Work ethic is your attitude and dedication towards your job. You value what you do and you’re determined to be successful in it. In turn, your performance and how you develop in your career directly reflect your work ethic.
Soft skills example: Your work ethic shows up in the way you dress, speak, and carry yourself. You’re focused, organized, and neat. You’re respectful, not only to others but to yourself.
7. Flexibility and adaptability
In this day and age, rapid (and drastic) changes are required in order to remain relevant. And so, having employees who are flexible and can adapt to the change in strategies is imperative.
Take a look at Amazon. It started off as an online bookstore but now has expanded to become one of the largest internet retailers.
Soft skills examples: The pandemic catapulted many companies into the unknown. As an employee, you would’ve had to learn how to adapt quickly to the new realities. For example, if your work included organizing live events, learning how to run them online in a lockdown world would put you ahead of the curve.
How to Improve Your Soft Skills
Despite being personality-based, these innate abilities are learnable and improvable. Let’s take the seven aforementioned soft skills, see how you can improve them, and pair them up with a Mindvalley Quest.
It’s all about understanding people and knowing how to develop a connection with them. As a leader, you should be objective, fair, reasonable, responsible for others, and, at the same time, accountable for your own actions.
To learn the ins and outs of this soft skill, check out Mindvalley’s Ultimate Leadership Quest with Keith Ferrazzi.
All workplace environments rely on building a rapport with another person. That’s why learning techniques to connect is really important, enabling you to have genuine, authentic conversations.
Mindvalley’s Certified Life Coaching program is an excellent place to learn interpersonal skills.
Your ability to collaborate with others shows that you’re open to learning new things from others and sharing your knowledge. Teamwork also takes patience, open communication, respect, honesty, knowing how to set boundaries, and so many traits that employers look for.
If you’re searching for your people, you can learn some great skills from Radha Agrawal in Mindvalley’s Build Your Dream Community Quest.
Since this soft skill has to do with logic, pay attention to detail. Observe the little things in your surrounding environment as well as how people around you act and react. This will also exercise your “wow” perspective.
Learn how to level up your peak focus, productivity, and creativity with Mindvalley’s The Habit of Ferocity Quest with Steve Kotler.
Miscommunication can lead to misunderstandings, and in turn, it could lead to stress and low morale. So learning how to communicate effectively benefits everyone. When you communicate, be aware of your tone, body language, how you address others, and the clarity of your message.
To improve this skill, you can learn from master orator Lisa Nichols in Mindvalley’s Speak & Inspire Quest.
A great work ethic is the result of confidence and feeling worthy. However, because no one is perfect, you may encounter setbacks. Find ways to be open to feedback and take it as an opportunity to learn.
To work on your confidence, Marisa Peer is a great person to learn from. You can find her at Mindvalley’s Rapid Transformational Hypnotherapy for Abundance Quest.
Flexibility and adaptability
It’s always advisable to step away from complacency and find ways to grow. Place yourself in unfamiliar territory and take on something new to show that you can advance into a different role if the opportunity ever arises.
If you want to aspire to greater things, look no further than Mindvalley’s The Power of Boldness Quest with Naveen Jain.
Should You Add Soft Skills to Your Resume?
Just because employers want a hire with interpersonal traits, that doesn’t translate into creating a soft skills resume.
Since these skills are personality-based, it’s assumed that they’re something you already possess. Therefore, it’s no need to point them out.
In fact, a study by the Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder found that some of the worse terms used on a resume are related to soft skills. Some of the top ones include:
- Best of breed
- Think outside of the box
- Go-to person
- Thought leadership
- Value add
- Team player
- Hard worker
- Strategic thinker
- Track record
With that said, there are ways you can be creative with presenting yourself as an asset.
3 tips for including soft skills in your resume
While soft skill terms aren’t always favorable, there are ways you can weave them into your resume. Here are three tips on how to do so:
- Show, don’t tell. Instead of spelling it out, the accomplishments you put on your resume should demonstrate that you have these skills. For example: “Successfully reached $100 million in revenue through implementing an innovative advertising strategy and leading a cross-department team.”
- Use action verbs. These words describe actions that are physical or mental. So if you’re describing the efforts you’ve made and the results you’ve achieved because of them, words like “developed” and “implemented” sound better than “responsible for.”
- Walk your talk. Hiring managers can smell a lie a mile away, so always follow through on your claims. If you say you’ve got “great attention to detail,” but your resume is filled with grammatical and punctuation errors, then…well, not so great with that attention, right?
Keep in mind that soft skills aren’t enough without hard skills, and vice versa. And learning how to demonstrate them on your resume will absolutely help you stand out like a unicorn amongst horses.
Awaken Your Unstoppable
Soft skills may not get as much attention as hard skills, but by golly, they make an impact on the way people interact with you! It’s tried and true. And you can see how important it is on your career path through the success of people like Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey, Shaquille O’Neal, Arianna Huffington, as well as Vishen and Kristina Mänd-Lakhiani, founders of Mindvalley.
If you want to follow their lead, then let your change do the talking. As a Mindvalley Member, you have full access to an incredible library of transformational programs that can help you level up your soft skills. Additionally, you can be part of the interactive audience on the Mindvalley Talks and find your people within the global Mindvalley community.
If you’re not yet ready to go full in, you can access our platform for free. You can sample classes from the programs as well as access the full collection of meditations on all aspects of mindfulness.
Now is the time for you to be who you’re destined to be. Welcome in.