Soft Skills – What are They?
You may have come across or heard the term soft skills. Whether it be on job applications, interviews or just when you were browsing. Now if you don’t know about them or have never even heard of them, then we’re here to help. We’re going to tell you all about them. During interviews and job searches, these are often mentioned. So what are soft skills?
Soft skills are non-technical skills. They relate to how you work. They could include how you work/interact with colleagues, your problem-solving skills or how you manage the workload. The skills could also be your interpersonal skills, communication skills, listening skills, time management and empathy. Soft skills are extremely important as they are some of the top skills employers seek when they interview their candidates. They are also very versatile as well, as they are needed for pretty much every job. Having a variety of these skills makes the candidate look flexible and adaptable.
Having these skills can make you more appealing to employers, as they make people more successful. Someone who has great technical job-specific skills but can’t manage their workload or time, may not be successful within the workplace. However, soft skills can be improved and learned. Whether you’re in a client-facing role or in a corporate job, you still need to have soft skills to be able to get along with coworkers, managers and other people you interact with at work.
Types of soft skills
So we’ve discussed what soft skills are, but what types of soft skills are there? So here are 16 types of soft skills.
- Creative thinking
- Listening skills
- Work ethic
- Teamwork skills
- Time management
- Problem-solving skills
- Critical thinking
- Conflict resolution
Now, these are only a few soft skills we picked! There are plenty more skills that are available! The ones we have picked enable you to become a better team member. All these soft skills are extremely beneficial to you and the company you work for. This could include, increased efficiency and productivity. Having stronger interpersonal and professional relationships. As well as better solutions to problems, also company growth. We’re going to go through a few of the soft skills and what they mean, just so you know more!
Communication is the way you express your thoughts and ideas to others. As well as how you interact with others within work. There are six types of communication skills you need to understand and can use in your everyday life. These are verbal communication, non-verbal, written, audio-visual, active and visual. Let’s take a look at these individually.
Verbal communication involves speaking to anyone you encounter in the workplace, including different authority levels. How to have effective verbal communication includes having interpersonal conversations, speaking over the phone, public speaking and appropriately communicating with clients and customers as well as peers and supervisors.
This type of communication includes you being able to understand body language, maintain eye contact, and manage your tone of voice and vocabulary. As well as use gestures to show engagmement. This can be hard for a lot of people, especially if you’re neurodivergent. But again there are different ways to communicate so something that may work for you, might not work for someone else.
There are many different types of written communication. This could include business correspondence, emails, reports, contracts and memos. Having an understanding of how to write these types of communication is important, as you can write a great email, but if it comes across as harsh or unempathetic isn’t great! You need to be able to communicate this way in a friendly and polite manner.
This skill is important when you’re using digital tools like slide shows and videos, whilst you’re giving a presentation or working in certain sectors, like design or project management to name a few. Being able to make a slide show is great but then how do you present it? You need to be able to present the slide show in an engaging way even if it’s slightly boring.
Now, this communication skill enables you to better focus on what someone is saying, it helps you retain more information and engage with follow-up questions, showing them you understand their ideas, instructions or their needs and expectations. This is extremely important if you’re engaging in a group discussion.
Digital communication can involve using a range of different tools. Including video conferencing tools (such as Zoom), Social media and instant messaging systems. With how technology is evolving and being bigger and better every day, we also need to move with it, so being able to communicate with digital tools is an essential skill.
Having teamwork as a skill allows you to work well with others. It also includes the ability to relate, communicate and collaborate with others to reach goals. Teamwork reflects your ability to, help others with their tasks, train others on tasks you excel in, participate in meetings, complete projects correctly and on time, provide constructive feedback to others and finally be respectful of everyone’s ideas and opinions. Having this as a soft skill is essential as it helps you be more efficient as a team and starts to create a better working environment.
Problem solvers are forward thinkers who try to rectify a problem in any way they can. When you have problem-solving skills you can identify any issues, research possible solutions, use trial and error and establish ways in which those problems can’t happen again. Like other soft skills gaining experience can help improve efficiency and effectiveness.
This is the ability to follow through on what is expected of you. It could include you doing high-quality work, meeting deadlines, being punctual and helping others if and when you have time. Every company needs employees that they can count on. By developing your dependability you can show your potential to employers that you are a reliable and helpful team member.
Critical thinking is the ability to analyse facts to make a decision. It can overlap with problem-solving, but the key aspects include, research and data analysis, considering all options and outcomes and mitigating risks. This is a useful skill to help make important decisions and solve more complex problems. Employers seek out candidates with this skill to promote growth within the company.
This skill refers to how effective and efficient you are at work. It could include skills and qualities like time management and punctuality. It could also include keeping a calendar at work, creating a file system for documents, prioritising tasks, managing deadlines and establishing procedures and completing tasks to a deadline. Organisation skills are extremely important because it promotes individual efficiency and productivity.
This is the ability to change the way you think and act to accommodate a new situation. You may use it to change the way you communicate with clients, instead of how you communicate with coworkers. You could be adaptable when it comes to changes in policy when you have to change with the policy and the new rules. It could be adaptability when you’re learning new skills, undertaking another course or more education and even taking the training. Employers tend to value this skill because it shows that you’re dedicated and willing to improve.
Conflict resolution is a skill that involves you being able to respectfully and effectively solve a problem between two or more individuals that have different solutions or answers. This skill could include, mediating between the parties to help them reach a compromise, helping clarify any confusion or differences in opinions, Researching side arguments, knowing when to ask a manager or senior leader for assistance with the conflict and promoting collaboration and respect during and after the medication.
This skill helps employees better understand each other, develop mutual respect and enlighten one another about their expectations and needs. Being able to effectively work through conflicts is extremely important as it can strengthen team relationships and productivity.
We hope this has helped you understand soft skills a bit more! Remember all these skills can be learnt and improved upon, it may be hard, but it’ll be worth it! As it’s something you can highlight on your CV to make yourself look like a great candidate to employers. If you have any questions or comments, then please put them in the comments!