When thinking about careers, professional advancement, or even job hunting, we usually emphasize so-called “hard skills,” meaning skills that are directly connected to our ability to perform a particular task or do a certain job. These skills can be evaluated or measured, as they are the result of degrees, certificates, specialized knowledge, seminars, continuing education, vocational training, and so on.
“Soft skills,” on the other hand, are more difficult to measure or quantify, as they usually do not come from a degree or specialized training, but from life experience, personality, and attitude. They are often called “people skills,” as they typically relate, in some form, to how we deal or interact with other people. For example: Are we able to motivate and lead people? Can we communicate well with others?
Some commonly mentioned soft skills would include, among others: creativity, team work, written and verbal communication, management and leadership, flexibility, and organization. These types of skills are important, as they help to form a well-rounded person and employee. They can provide a competitive edge in a job search. Soft skills are relevant to just about every industry or job, because people are always key, in one way or another.
For both a job-seeker and an employer, these are so-called “transferable skills,” and are highly sought after. The employee can utilize these soft skills across various jobs or settings, and this is also a plus for employers, which look favorably on adaptability and strong interpersonal skills.