A study by Wonderlic found that 93% of employers think soft skills are “very important” or “essential.”

But, most job applicants tend to focus on their hard skills. They emphasize their education and experience, not their soft skills. This is a mistake. Employers care about soft skills more than people think.

In this article, you’ll find the top 10 soft skills examples, why they’re important, and how to add them to your resume.

The top 10 soft skills examples:

  1. Communication 
  2. Organization
  3. Teamwork
  4. Problem-solving
  5. Critical thinking
  6. Adaptability
  7. Conflict resolution
  8. Time management
  9. Leadership
  10. Creativity
Table of Contents
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What are soft skills?

Soft skills, or people skills, are character traits. They are interpersonal abilities that affect how well you can work and interact with others.

They are often less tangible and harder to measure. Hard skills are specific, teachable abilities like coding or accounting.

an infographic showing the difference between hard skills and soft skills

Above all else, employers want to know they can rely on you to show up and work well with others. Forming interpersonal relationships, managing conflicts, having a positive attitude, and relating to customers and co-workers are crucial in any workplace. 

Read more: Hard Skills vs Soft Skills

Importance of soft skills

According to research conducted by Harvard University, 85% of job success comes from having well-developed soft and people skills, with only 15% attributed to technical skills. This underlines the substantial impact soft skills have on professional success.

Soft skills help in forming relationships. They also help manage conflicts. Really, they can help a person keep a good attitude while relating well to customers and co-workers.

The top 10 soft skills examples

The following are the soft skills examples employers value the most. This is because they can help you get along with your team and tackle work challenges more smoothly.

1. Communication

You’ve probably heard the saying communication is key—and that’s true in any career.

Communication is the ability to convey information effectively and efficiently. It’s an incredibly important skill to have because it makes sure that all processes go smoothly, work flows are transparent, and helps in building strong relationships.

Workplace communication involves articulating concepts concisely during collaborative sessions. It also includes active listening in team discussions, and writing clear emails.

To develop this skill:
  • Practice public speaking
  • Engage in active listening exercises
  • Take communication courses

Read more: The Top 5 Communication Skills To Include On Your Resume

2. Organization

Prioritizing and completing your daily tasks makes organization one of the top soft skills.

Organization involves the ability to structure and manage tasks and responsibilities effectively. It’s crucial for meeting deadlines and achieving goals.

To develop this skill:

  • Use planners and to-do lists
  • Set short and long-term goals
  • Regularly declutter your workspace

Read more: The Top 10 Organizational Skills

3. Teamwork

While being able to complete your work independently is crucial, so is working well with others.

Collaborating and brainstorming with a common goal in mind opens you up to different ideas you may have not originally considered. Teamwork is the ability to work effectively and harmoniously with others. It’s important because it promotes collaboration and innovation.

Being an active listener and having compassion are the cornerstones of being a good team player. You should also be receptive to any constructive feedback. This might involve participating in team projects, sharing ideas openly, and supporting colleagues.

To develop this skill:
  • Engage in team-building activities
  • Practice active listening
  • Be open to feedback

4. Problem solving

Not everything can run perfectly all of the time. When you hit a roadblock, having problem-solving skills helps you find a solution quickly and effectively. It’s the ability to find solutions to challenges and obstacles.

Recognizing what’s not working requires having an open mind and listening to others. You need to be able to take the time to examine and analyze current processes. Once you’ve identified the problem, approach it in a patient, analytical manner. 

For example, troubleshooting means solving technical issues. Resolving conflicts means fixing fights among team members. And, finding ways to improve efficiency.

To develop this skill:
  • Practice critical thinking
  • Engage in brainstorming sessions
  • Take courses in problem-solving strategies

Read more: The Top 5 Problem-Solving Skills

5. Critical thinking

Thinking critically means taking a look at the bigger picture. Coming up with new ideas and implementing change is part of every job, and you need to be rational when doing so. Analyze carefully, do the necessary research, and be objective in your decisions. 

Critical thinking can involve analyzing data to make decisions. It means evaluating the pros and cons of different approaches and finding risks.

To develop this skill:
  • Productively debate
  • Take courses in logic and reasoning
  • Practice problem-solving exercises

Read more: 6 Critical Thinking Skills to Supercharge Your Resume

6. Adaptibility

When things don’t go as expected, being adaptable is a crucial soft skill. If you’re suddenly given a new responsibility or there’s a change in management, this makes it possible to adjust and learn with ease. This doesn’t mean you should hesitate to ask questions.

Adaptability includes acting with curiosity, learning from your mistakes, and quick thinking. Try to be flexible and eager to take on different tasks. It might also involve learning new software fast. You’ll need to adjust to changes in project scope and handle unexpected issues well.

To develop this skill:
  • Embrace change
  • Seek out new experiences
  • Practice flexibility in daily tasks

7. Conflict resolution

Conflict resolution is the ability to resolve disputes and disagreements constructively. To become a skilled conflict resolver, you must be willing to get to the bottom of the issue. Listen to all sides, ask questions, and act with empathy toward the situation.

Making others feel heard helps lead to satisfaction from all parties. You should also focus on compromising and communicating in a calm manner. It’s important for maintaining a positive and productive work environment.

At work, conflict resolution means mediating disputes. It also means negotiating solutions and keeping professionalism during disagreements.

To develop this skill:
  • Practice active listening
  • Learn negotiation techniques
  • Take conflict resolution courses

8. Time management

This soft skill goes hand in hand with organization. Obviously showing up to any job on time is important, but it’s more than that. Time management is the ability to use one’s time effectively and productively.

Planning, preparation, and prioritization allow you to make the most of your time and not waste anyone else’s. It also involves scheduling meetings in a way that works for everyone. It’s important for ensuring timely completion of tasks and projects.

Time management might involve meeting deadlines, prioritizing tasks, and avoiding procrastination. To develop this skill:

To develop this skill:
  • Use time-tracking tools
  • Set clear priorities
  • Break tasks into manageable steps

Read more: 7 Time Management Skills You Should Include on Your Resume

9. Leadership

Being a leader doesn’t come naturally to everyone, but you can work up to it through experience. Share your ideas, collaborate, and go above and beyond when you can. Leadership is the ability to guide, inspire, and influence others.

Strong leaders also know when to step back and listen. Leading with compassion raises morale and encourages others to reach common goals and meet deadlines. It’s essential for motivating teams.

Leadership might involve leading project teams. It might involve mentoring junior employees. It also involves setting and sharing vision and goals.

To develop this skill:

  • Take on leadership roles
  • Seek feedback from peers
  • Attend leadership training programs

Read more: Leadership Skills You Need to Include On Your Resume

10. Creativity

Creativity is the ability to think outside the box and generate innovative ideas. It’s important because it drives innovation and engagement. While those with more technical jobs may not place as much value on creativity, it’s a productive soft skill to have in any field.

Coming up with original concepts and ideas requires imagination and curiosity. Being innovative leads to more engagement and excitement, whether it’s among customers or co-workers. It might involve developing new product ideas, finding creative solutions to problems, and improving existing processes.

To develop this skill:
  • Start creative hobbies
  • Brainstorm regularly
  • Challenge yourself to think differently
A section of Jobscan's match report showing the resume score and missing hard skills.
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Which soft skills should you add to your resume?

If you’re unsure which soft skills you should put on your resume, read the description of the job you’re applying to. It should mention the hard and soft soft skills that are most important for that role.

Here’s a sample job description with the soft skills the employer is looking for highlighted. Try to include these skills on your resume:

A job description with soft skills highlighted.

You can also use an online tool like Jobscan’s resume scanner to identify the most important soft skills to add to your resume.

The scanner compares your resume against the job listing and provides you with a report showing you the hard and soft skills your resume is missing.

Here’s what the soft skills section of the report looks like:

Jobscan's Match Report shows missing soft skills.

By adding the highlighted soft skills to your resume, you increase the chances that a hiring manager will find your resume and offer you a job interview. Try Jobscan’s resume scanner for free here.

How to improve soft skills

You can enhance each soft skill by joining activities. These include public speaking, team sports, and problem-solving games. If you’re looking for more, taking relevant courses or workshops can be a huge help as well.

Continuous learning and development highlight the importance of lifelong learning and continuous improvement. Regularly seeking feedback and reflecting on your progress is the best way to understand your personal progress.

How to highlight soft skills on your resume

List your soft skills on your resume well. Show how they apply to the job.

Here’s a guide on how to list soft skills on your resume:

1. Identify relevant soft skills

Start by identifying the soft skills that are most relevant to the job you are applying for. Note skills like communication, teamwork, work ethic, problem-solving, or active listening.

2. Integrate soft skills with your experience

Instead of just listing soft skills, integrate them into the descriptions of your previous job experiences. For example, under a previous job title, you might include a bullet point like, “Led a team of 12. I fostered clear communication and problem-solving. This increased project efficiency by 15%.”

3. Use specific examples

Provide specific soft skills examples. For instance, “Improved customer satisfaction by 20% through effective communication and active listening.”

4. Include soft skills in your summary

Your resume’s summary or objective is a good place to highlight key soft skills. For example, “XX is a dedicated and empathetic customer service professional”, “XX has strong communication and interpersonal skills”, or “XX looks to improve client relations at A1Media Company.”

5. Quantify your skills where possible

Whenever you can, quantify your achievements related to soft skills. For example, “XX managed a diverse team” and “XX increased their productivity by 30% with good motivational strategies.”

6. Balance soft skills with hard skills

Ensure there’s a good balance between soft and hard skills on your resume. While soft skills are important, employers also look for technical or job-specific skills.

7. Customize for each application

Tailor your soft skills examples for each job application. Different roles might require different soft skills, so it’s important to adapt accordingly.

8. Avoid overused buzzwords

Try to avoid the use of overused buzzwords like “team player” or “hard worker.” Instead, demonstrate these qualities through specific examples.

9. Use action words

Start your bullet points with action verbs that convey the application of your soft skills, such as “collaborated,” “facilitated,” or “negotiated.”

10. Use an online tool to optimize your resume

When listing your soft skills on your resume, you’ll face a couple of challenges. One is knowing which soft skills you should focus on. The other is the amount of time and effort it takes to tailor each resume to the job you’re applying to.

To overcome these challenges, use an online tool like Jobscan’s resume scanner. Paste in your resume and the job’s description. Then, click scan. You will get a report on how to improve your resume for that job.

How employers assess and evaluate soft skills

Employers use different ways to check soft skills during hiring. Soft skills like communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and adaptability are very important for success. Here’s a detailed look at how to evaluate these skills:

1. Behavioral interview questions

These questions help employers understand how candidates have used soft skills before. Questions like “Tell me about a time you overcame an obstacle” or “Describe a situation where you had to work with a difficult team member” show how candidates handle real-life situations. Candidates should use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) for detailed answers.

Read more: How to Answer Common Interview Questions

2. Hypothetical scenarios and role-playing

Using pretend scenarios and role-playing lets employers see how candidates might handle work situations. For example, asking, “How would you handle a project deadline that your team is struggling to meet?” shows problem-solving and time management skills. Role-playing can show how candidates handle conflict, show empathy, and communicate well.

3. Job simulations and situational exercises

Job simulations involve candidates doing tasks they would do in the job. These exercises can check many soft skills, like decision-making, leadership, and teamwork. For example, candidates might lead a team project or resolve a customer complaint to show their abilities.

4. Personality and soft skills tests

Tests like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or the Caliper Profile can show a candidate’s personality traits and soft skills. These tests help find strengths and areas to improve, making sure they fit the company culture and job needs.

5. Reference checks

Employee references can certainly paint a picture for a how client’s soft skills stack up. It’s worth noting that if anything is in question, there are other references to provide as well.

Checking references from non-work contexts, like a sports team or volunteer group, can give a full view of a candidate’s soft skills. Talking to someone who knows the candidate outside of work can show their leadership, communication style, and teamwork abilities.

6. Post-Interview activities

Activities after the interview, like a casual lunch or team meeting, can help assess a candidate’s manners and social skills. Watching how they interact in a relaxed setting gives more information on their people skills and self-awareness.

7. Self-Assessment and 360-Degree feedback

Self-assessments let candidates think about their own soft skills. Feedback from colleagues, managers, and direct reports gives a full view of their abilities. This method is useful for checking current employees’ development needs.

FAQs

What are some examples of soft skills?

Soft skills examples include effective communication, teamwork skills, problem-solving, adaptability, time management, conflict management, leadership skills, strategic thinking, and interpersonal skills. The right soft skills are essential for career success as they help individuals interact effectively with colleagues, clients, and customers.

How can you develop soft skills?

Because soft skills pertain mainly to personal attributes, you can’t really learn them by studying or taking classes. Develop soft skills through working on yourself, focusing on improving areas that will help your professional development and job performance.
For example, develop time management skills by making a daily schedule, actively keeping track of how much time you spend on a task, and avoiding multitasking. Taking a public speaking course can help you develop good communication skills. Learn about your top soft skills and yourself through self-reflection, journaling, and reading self-help books.

What are the 5 top soft skills?

The top 5 soft skills examples are communication, organizational skills, teamwork, problem-solving, and critical thinking. Having these skills can contribute to your professional success.

What’s the difference between soft skills and hard skills?

Hard skills are definable, technical skills that can be taught through education and job experience. Soft skills pertain to personal characteristics, social skills, and emotional intelligence. They help you thrive in a professional setting.

Why are soft skills important?

Soft skills are important because they enhance your ability to work effectively with others, adapt to change, solve problems, and manage your time efficiently. These skills are essential for building professional relationships, fostering a positive work environment, and achieving career success.

What is soft skills training?

Soft skills training involves structured programs or courses designed to develop interpersonal and intrapersonal abilities. These trainings often include workshops, role-playing, activities, and self-assessment tools to help individuals enhance skills such as communication, leadership, teamwork, and problem-solving.



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Hogan Short

Content Writer at Jobscan.

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