The Top 15 Soft Skills That Make You Stand Out to Employers

Soft skills are the “people skills” that you need to get along with others well. Developing core soft skills can enable your career trajectory to soar!
What comes to mind when you think about "soft skills?" Do you think of people skills, communication, teamwork, or problem-solving abilities? What about interpersonal skills, leadership, time management, or critical thinking?
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If you're like most people, you probably think of a wide range of abilities essential in the workplace. But some workplace skills matter more than others. 

This blog will delve into the top soft skills crucial in the workplace and show you how to set yourself apart from the competition!

What Are Hard Skills? Technical Skills From Your Education or Experience

Hard skills are the technical skills you learn in school or on the job. They are specific abilities that allow you to complete tasks related to your job. 

For example, if you're a digital marketing specialist, hard skills might include measurable skills such as HTML coding, social media skills, and website design.

A business analyst needs hard skills in economics. A project manager needs hard skills in time management, project management, and other skills.

Hard skills often come from education or previous jobs, or career paths. However, hard skills are usually not the transferable skills you need to make a significant shift in your career.

For example, as a waitress, your hard skills of knowing menu items and juggling plates are not transferable skills into the business realm. However, as a waitress, you might learn people skills, time management skills, problem-solving skills, and other skills. 

These popular soft skills can help you become a business insider with the professional success you seek!

A waitress can become a business person with many of the "soft skills" learned while waitressing.

Woman Serving Beer at a Bar
by ELEVATE

What are Soft Skills? Abilities that Help You Work Well With Others

Soft skills are personal attributes that affect your ability to work well with others. They are sometimes called "people skills" or "interpersonal skills."

While you may possess natural abilities with some soft skills, most people need to learn and practice these skills to truly excel in them.

Hiring managers often write job descriptions stating "soft skills required" because they know emotional intelligence matters! In a job search, you'll need to meet the requirements of a job description to get a position.

However, if you don't have all the communication skills and interpersonal skills that you need yet, don't worry. You can develop the personality traits and soft skills you need with practice!

No matter your age, you can still learn key soft skills. You can develop specific skills and engage in personal development at any age!

Interesting in finding out all of the steps to a successful career change? Check out the ultimate guide right here.

What are Soft Skills? 15 Great Examples Of Soft Skills

According to LinkedIn, the first ten soft skills listed here are the most popular with hiring managers. However, we also list 5 more crucial soft skills to focus on!

Soft Skills #1- Communication Skills

Communicating effectively includes verbal and written communication. If you want to improve your communication skills, start by paying attention to how you come across to others. Ask trusted family members or co-workers whether you are clear and concise but also friendly.

If not, consider taking a class, such as "Business and Professional Communication," or join a networking group. Get to know others and practice your communication skills.

Soft Skills #2- Organizational Abilities

Organizational skills mean you know what to work on, meet deadlines, and keep a project moving forward without supervision.

Improve your organizational skills with apps such as ClickUp, Trello, or a phone calendar to track deadlines and appointments. Declutter your workspace. A tidy desk can help you feel more focused and in control.

Break down large projects into smaller tasks that you can complete one at a time. Learn more about business organizational skills with the Unmudl online on-demand class, "Applied Business Foundations."

Soft Skills 3- Teamwork

Most jobs require us to work with others. Practice being a team player by:

  • Being cooperative and willing to lend a hand when working with others
  • Avoiding conflict by staying calm and level-headed

If you're not naturally inclined towards teamwork, consider the online class "Create and Manage Remote Teams" to get on board with how team dynamics work.

Soft Skills 4- Always Punctual

Punctuality shows you care for others and their time. Improve your punctuality by arriving a few minutes early. Use the extra time to relax or prepare for work. Set alarms or reminders on your phone so you'll be ready to leave on time.

Others see punctual individuals as more reliable, a highly valued quality in the workplace.

A Man Using a Laptop
by EKATERINA  BOLOVTSOVA

Soft Skills 5- Critical Thinking Problem-Solving Skills

Critical thinking is analyzing a situation and developing a logical solution. To create this soft skill, try to identify any biases or assumptions that you may have about a particular situation.

Then, look at it from different angles and consider all solutions. Evaluate each solution and choose the one that makes the most sense.

Soft Skills 6- Social Skills

Social skills help us interact with others. They include non-verbal communication skills, such as standing up straight and shaking hands.

To improve your social skills, try to be an active listener when someone else is speaking. Sit or stand with an open posture and make eye contact. Pay attention, and don't interrupt. Show that you care about others by asking questions and being interested in their lives.

Consider learning about the DISC assessment so that you can see what your top personality traits and social skills are!

Soft Skills 7- Creativity

Creativity is the ability to come up with new and innovative ideas. If you want to be more creative, try to look at problems from different angles. Brainstorming with others can help you see new perspectives! So can reading books or articles from different viewpoints than your own.

Soft Skills 8- Interpersonal Communication

Interpersonal communication is communicating effectively with others. If you want to improve your interpersonal communication skills, try to lower your expectations of what others need to do. Instead, focus on what you can do to make a relationship better.

Soft Skills 9- Adaptability

Adaptability is the ability to change and adjust to new situations. To develop this soft skill, try to stay open-minded and flexible. Be willing to experiment and take risks! Step out of your comfort zone more often to develop this top soft skill!

Soft Skills 10- Friendly Personality

People often see those with friendly personalities as more approachable, outgoing, and likable.

If you want to be friendlier, try to smile more often. When someone comes into your space, look up and show interest.

Soft Skills 11- Empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. Grow empathy by putting yourself in another person's shoes. Imagine how those around you might feel.

Soft Skills 12- Time Management

Time management is the ability to use your time efficiently. To improve time management skills, make schedules and stick to them. Set priorities and learn to say "no" when appropriate.

Soft Skills 13- Active Listening

Active listening skills involve paying attention to understand and care about what others are saying. To improve active listening skills, don't think about what you will say next or interrupt someone with your thoughts. Seek more to understand than to be understood.

If you're a human resources manager or in project management and want to learn this important soft skill, consider the online class "Employee Engagement Online."

Soft Skills 14- Conflict Resolution

Conflict resolution is the ability to resolve conflicts peacefully and effectively. To develop this particular skill, try to see both sides of an issue. Be willing to help others talk about how they might compromise.

Consider our Unmudl online class, "Conflict Resolution Strategies," to continue growing!

Soft Skills 15- Collaboration

Collaboration is the ability to work with others towards a common goal. Begin building this skill by involving others in some of your decisions. Be willing to take others' ideas seriously and be tolerant, especially if they give you ideas or feedback you don't appreciate.

Check out our Unmudl course, "Essential Employee Skills for the Workplace: Career Preparedness." to "become more aware of your strengths and weaknesses and the skills and knowledge that are required to achieve your goals in the future."

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Photo by fauxels

Growing Your Emotional Intelligence

What makes someone stand out to a potential employer? What can you do to ensure that your resume gets attention and that hiring managers invite you for an interview? Soft skills.

Employers are looking for individuals with the soft skills necessary to interact with others and handle difficult situations.

Soft skills may not be in textbooks, but they can be learned by interacting with people and learning from your mistakes. If you want to make sure you stand out from the crowd, focus on developing your soft skills!

Growing your emotional intelligence by developing these important soft skills means growing as a person.

The Snowball Effect

The soft skills you learn complement the soft skills you're still working on. Learning soft skills is like rolling a snowball. It becomes easier and gets exponentially bigger with every roll forward!

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For example, while you're developing social skills and effective communication soft skills, you are also learning other soft skills such as:

  • Leadership skills: Project management or other general management skills.
  • Personal skills: Developing positive personal habits.
  • Self-awareness: Understanding which soft skills you should include in an interview process or resume.
  • Self-motivation skills: How to talk kindly and respectfully to yourself.
  • Job interview soft skills: Understanding what a hiring manager may look for in a job candidate and what interview questions they may spring on you!
  • Work ethic soft skills: Business communication skills grow your professional experience level!
  • Conflict management soft skills: Active listening during social interactions helps you develop empathy also!
  • Friendliness: Making a positive impression becomes easier when you practice your positive attitude with others!

The best soft skills come from working with others over time. The key skills hiring managers look for include the personality traits you develop in working relationships.

Non-technical skills are the key to getting a hiring manager's attention! With practice, you'll look back and wonder how you accomplished your past job duties without soft skills!

And, next time you look at job posts, you'll have the self-awareness to know which of your strong soft skills you'll highlight in an interview!

Find Your Next Career Step

Unmudl your future with our network of community colleges, businesses, and learners! At Unmudl, we bring worker learners together with our network of community colleges and companies who hire directly from our courses!

See what's possible with no testing, entrance exams, or application fees and access to in-person or online classes, instructors, and campus facilities, you can take courses for:

  • Degrees: Take these for credit toward an associate's or bachelor's degree.
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  • Continuing Education Credits: These don't apply towards a degree or diploma, but you can level up your knowledge and skills within your field!
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With flexible schedules, online on-demand courses, reimbursement for Skills to Jobs™ courses, low-priced options, WIOA tuition assistance, and military tuition assistance, you can get started on your future today!

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