What are Soft Skills?

Everything about Soft Skills

What are Soft Skills?

Soft Skills represent a range of different abilities, personality traits and attributes that are often necessary for success in a particular role. They can be best described as personal traits that shape the way you work and interact with others. 

Soft Skills play a key role in demonstrating how an individual interacts with colleagues, performs work related tasks, communicates and builds relationships.  

Why Soft Skills matter?

Soft Skills are becoming more and more important in the workplace. Candidates seeking new employment will often find that job opportunities now put more focus on soft skillsets, with many being deemed essential requirements to being successful in a particular role.

The reason soft skills are in such demand is because they are highly transferrable skills that can be applied to numerous situations in a number of different roles.

We often find candidates who have the most success in job applications (and interviews) are the ones who are able to provide previous examples of where they used their soft skills and then relate that to the question being asked by the interviewer.

A recent Linkedin survey showed that 80% of HR professionals say that soft skills are increasingly important to a company's (and a candidate's) success.

Soft Skills vs Hard Skills

Soft Skills represent a more inherent skillset that tend to be more people focused in nature. Hard skills are typically easier to define and tend to be based around technical know-how or ‘how to do something’.

An example of a hard skill could be a computer programmer developing some code for an application, using a specific piece of software or a seamstress making an item of clothing.

Unlike Hard Skills which can be learned (and measured) with relative ease, Soft Skills present more of a challenge when it comes to both learning and measurement. Generally speaking Hards Skills are easier to teach through training, education and on-the-job experience. 

Soft Skills Examples

  • Flexibility

  • Consistency 

  • Resistance/willingness to change 

  • Listening 

  • Conflict resolution 

  • Leading others

  • Empathy

  • Persuasion

  • Critical thinking 

  • Research 

  • Persistance

  • Attention to detail

  • Curiosity

  • Imagination

  • Inventiveness

  • Time management

  • Team work 

  • Organisation

  • Decisiveness 

Hard Skills Examples

  • Computer programming / coding (ruby, python, java, .php etc)

  • Microsoft Excel

  • Adobe Creative Suite

  • Web development 

  • Mobile app development

  • Blockchain development 

  • Agile methodology 

  • Waterfall methodology

  • Kanban methodology etc

  • Speaking multiple languages

  • Copywriting 

  • Writing press releases

  • SEO marketing 

  • Google adwords etc

  • Graphic design

  • Data visualisation 

  • Data mining

  • Interpreting analytics

  • Data presentation / visualisation

  • Business analysis

  • Analytical reasoning

Are there any disadvantages to Soft Skills?

Despite the value of soft skills, often they wont be enough to land you a role on their own.

Some businesses (and industries) will require more hard skills or formal qualifications in order to be offered a job.

Without utilising technology (like our leading online assessments platform), soft skills can be more difficult to assess, meaning some employers don't appreciate their value as much as traditional hard skills.

Research conducted by Harvard University has concluded that 85% of job success comes from having well‐developed soft skills, and only 15% of job success comes from hard technical skills

– Interviewarea

How do you show Soft Skills on your CV?

When writing your CV it can be a good idea to create a 'skills' section at the bottom.

Pick no more than 5 of your top soft skills to show employers. It's advisable here to briefly explain each point with a relevant example of how that skill has been applied to your working life.

Alternatively you can visit our Joy at Work page, take a free personality test and then download a free report that shows your work strengths, you can then use this report to supplement any job application you submit.

Learn more about Soft Skills


Soft Skills Stats 2022


Why hire for Soft Skills?


Soft Skills vs Hard Skills


How to measure Soft Skills


Developing your Soft Skills


Identifying Soft Skills in workers