What Are Soft Skills?

We’ve covered the difference between hard skills and soft skills, so now we can take a closer look at some examples of soft skills and how to integrate them into your job search.

Soft skills, unlike hard skills, are based more in personal experience. You’ll even find that many of these skills overlap and build upon one another. Therefore, it’s important you prepare specific examples of soft skills, especially in an interview.

If this is your first time looking for a job, you can provide examples from other areas of your life, like volunteer work or school.

Communication: Strong verbal and written skills are essential to succeeding on the job. This helps you build relationships with coworkers and lets them know where you stand.

To show it in an interview: Think of a time when you communicated something and how that helped your team.

Flexibility: Work environments can change on a whim. You might be asked to take on more responsibilities or the company might change a policy. Adapting to new situations with a positive attitude is a valuable skill. Things don’t always go as planned, but you’re in control of how you respond to change.

To show it in an interview: Think of a time when something at worked changed and how you handled it.

Leadership: You’re all working towards a common goal and leadership skills help motivate everyone to complete the required work. You don’t have to be a manager to have played a leadership role.

To show it in an interview: Think of a time when you trained another employee or were in charge of a project.

Creative Thinking: Being able to present ideas from a unique perspective counts as creative thinking. This is a valuable skill that can be applied to almost any area of work. Not everyone is creative, so if you are, be sure to highlight it.

To show it in an interview: Think of a time when you came up with a new idea at work or solved a problem with a fresh outlook.

Patience: Patience shows that you understand the complexities of a work environment. People work at difference paces and something might not happen as fast as you hope. If you feel something needs to be done different or faster, clearly communicate this. Otherwise, practice patience.

To show it in an interview: Think of a time when something at work took a little longer to complete than you thought it would. How did you handle that?

Teamwork: Almost every job requires working with other people. Listening to their ideas, incorporating them with your own, and learning how to support your coworkers is a skill you can take with you anywhere. It shows you’re on board with the company and the culture.

To show it in an interview: Think of a time when you were part of a team and the role you played. Did you work with someone else on a project?

Time Management: This means you know how best to spend your time at work and can prioritize tasks. Knowing what you need to get done and when will keep things efficient and productive.

To show it in an interview: Think of a time when you had a lot to do in one day. How did you figure out ways to get your work done?

Problem Solving: Identifying a problem and knowing how to solve it, or bringing it to your boss with some ideas for resolution, is a great skill. It helps to keep the work environment operating smoothly.

To show it in an interview: Think of a time when there was a problem at work that you helped solve.

Stress Management: This is a good self-care tool in general, but knowing how to stay calm at work helps to keep your attitude high. Identify your stress triggers and think of ways to stay calm. This might include taking a short walk or eating lunch away from your desk.

To show it in an interview: Think of a time when you were stressed out at work. What did you do to handle that stress?

Accepting and Applying Feedback: We all learn and grow at work. That’s part of what keeps jobs interesting. Accepting feedback from your boss, or even senior coworkers, with a good attitude will help you fit in well with your company.

To show it in an interview: Think of a time when someone gave you feedback at work. How did it help your performance?

This is just the tip of the iceberg for soft skills. There are so many examples, like a positive attitude, confidence, organization, delegating, attention to detail, and self-motivation. It’s good to keep in mind that soft skills might need to change depending on the company culture or your job title. For example, if you start out as an assistant and later become a boss then you’ll need to reevaluate which soft skills are most needed.

Think you have a soft skill that’s not on this list? Do you need help preparing for an interview and want to brainstorm some examples for yourself? Does your cover letter need soft skills added in? Stop by a no-cost Goodwill Career Center and ask a career advisor for help. Call 602-535-4444 to find a center near you and get started. Good luck with your job search!

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