“It is not the strongest or most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” – Charles Darwin, scientist
“Unfortunately, some people believe that soft skills aren’t that important. However, almost every employer I’ve ever talked to about this disagrees. In a world where job roles are changing rapidly, soft skills will be one of the few constants […]” – Chris Jones, Chief Executive at City & Guilds
“Take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communication skills so that when important occasions arise, you will have the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity, and the emotions to affect other people.” – Jim Rohn, entrepreneur
Soft skills are skills that we employ to deal with other people. They are behavioural skills that can be applied in different situations. Unlike hard skills, soft skills are more challenging to pin down and measure.
If you have never heard of “soft skills” before then it may be difficult for you to understand why many employers value them and prefer to hire people who possess such skills. In this article, we are going to look at ten examples of different “soft skills.”
When people say “hard skills” they usually talk about skills that can be easily measured and acquired through training. For many and many years these skills were considered the most important ones and were always prioritised by employers. However, these times are long gone now, and soft skills are increasingly considered to be more important than hard skills.
Unlike hard skills, soft skills are behavioural skills that include a person’s ability to interact with other people and deal with their own emotions. Although these skills are essential in any workplace, they are also difficult to measure and develop. The reason is simple: these skills are subjective in nature, and they are closely related to one’s personality as well as the life experiences that we go through during our life.
According to the study conducted by the Carnegie Mellon Foundation, 75% of long-term job success is closely related to the level of employees’ soft skills. Likewise, according to another study conducted by LinkedIn, 57% of employers believe that soft skills are more important than new skills.
So, what are the most important soft skills?
“Cherish your own emotions and never undervalue them.” – Robert Henri.
You’ve probably heard many times that we need to develop so-called “emotional intelligence”. But what is it? Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize your emotions and deal with them. Emotionally intelligent people are also good at managing the emotions of other people. They can listen to them and see if there is something upsetting them or preventing them from being productive at work.
“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” – Ernest Hemingway.
It is obvious that communication skills are important practically in every job. As part of your job will have to communicate with a variety of people: your clients and customers, colleagues, bosses and etc.
Apart from the importance of being clear and polite when communicating with others, you also need to be a good listener. This skill is particularly valued and sought after in customer service jobs.
“The most important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” – Albert Einstein.
This is another universal skill that is valued and wanted by employers. No matter what you do in your job, you will often need to analyse situations and make informed decisions. The benefits of critical thinking are numerous.
For example, critical thinkers are always good at making decisions. Before making one they always collect information about every aspect of the problem they are dealing with. With such an approach they can think about the consequences without basing their decisions only on their emotions. Furthermore, critical thinking skills help you understand other people better as well as their hidden motives.
“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” – Henry Ford
It is understood that when hiring managers are considering candidates for a particular job, they prefer to opt for those who work well with others. Teamwork skills include many other important subskills, such as being able to communicate with others, taking responsibility for one’s own work, and being honest and transparent with colleagues. It also includes being able to listen to others actively and show empathy.
“A problem is a chance for you to do your best.” – Duke Ellington.
All employers and hiring managers want their employees to be able to produce solutions when faced with challenging tasks and situations. They do not want you to give in the face of difficulties, instead, they want you to be creative and be able to overcome the obstacles you face. Most importantly, they want you to be creative when solving these problems.
“Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” – Jim Rohn
This is one of the most important skills that an employer may be looking for in candidates for a job position. If employees know how to manage their time, they are very productive, their work is of high quality and, most importantly, they can work to a tight deadline.
Positivity and optimism
“Optimism is a happiness magnet. If you stay positive good things and good people will be drawn to you.” – Mary Lou Retton.
Life can be difficult sometimes. It can challenge us, present us with tough situations and test the limits of our patience. People with a negative worldview are less likely to be effective decision-makers. They are also less likely to be able to be good leaders. On the contrary, those people who think positively can make positive changes in their lives and achieve success in their careers.
“Speak clearly if you speak at all. Carve every word before you let it fall.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes
This skill is a ramification of communication skills. Truth be told, many, many people are terrified of speaking in public. However, there are incredible benefits to having this skill. First, public speaking makes you more confident. Public speaking also makes you a great leader- as a person who can speak publicly, you will be able to motivate and inspire others. Thirdly, you will be able to make new connections. Finally, you will be able to derive immense satisfaction from conquering your fear of public speaking, which many people still have.
Being Able to Make Decisions
“We all make choices, but in the end, our choices make us.” – Ken Levine
People who are good at making decisions are those capable of thinking objectively and weighing different alternatives. They collect all the relevant information about the issue they are dealing with and carefully analyse it. They also carefully consider various viewpoints on it. And after that, they make the best choice. Such people are invaluable for any business and are especially good for leadership positions.
“Creativity is seeing what others see and thinking what no one else ever thought.” – Albert Einstein.
Creative people can skilfully use their imagination and original ideas to create something new. In fact, creative people are highly inventive. They have a unique ability to see the word in many new ways and discern connections between things that may seem completely unrelated at first.
Not only does creativity led us to new inventions, but it also promotes teamwork. Indeed, for creative processes to occur collaboration is often required. For example, some companies organize brainstorming sessions, during which they allow their employees to discuss the ongoing projects and offer their contributions to them. Creativity also helps us solve problems and makes us better decision-makers. Finally, creativity is beneficial for our mental health. There is extensive research showing that creative people are more likely to experience positive emotions and are less likely to suffer from anxiety and depression.
All these soft skills are important for anyone to succeed in our ever-changing, competitive, and sometimes harsh business world.
 An article by American Management Association. URL: https://www.amanet.org/articles/the-hard-truth-about-soft-skills/
 Paul Petrone, The Skills Companies Need Most in 2018 and the Course to Get Them. See: https://www.linkedin.com/business/learning/blog/top-skills-and-courses/the-skills-companies-need-most-in-2018-and-the-courses-to-get
Russ Gadzhiev obtained his PhD in history and politics from University of Melbourne. He also holds a master’s degree in International Relations from Moscow State University of International Relations, a top-ranking diplomatic school. Russ is a strong education professional with a history of working in the higher education sector of Australia and effectively communicates with learners from diverse cultural backgrounds. He is enthusiastic about teaching and mentoring, writing, curriculum development, research, information management and public speaking. He is fluent in Russian, English, Spanish and Portuguese.