Top 5 Life Skills for Resumes, Cover Letters, and Interviews

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Life skills are abilities and behaviors that help you effectively deal with the events and challenges of everyday life. They are the skills that allow you to handle everything from interactions with others to identifying and processing your emotions.

“Life skills” is a broad category, because any skill that is useful in your life can be considered a life skill. Necessary life skills also vary by culture and by a person's age.

However, there are certain life skills that almost every employer looks for in his or her employees. After all, employers want job candidates to be able to handle common challenges that might come up at work, and life skills help employers do just that.

Read below for a list of life skills that employers seek in job candidates. Included is a detailed list of the five most important life skills, as well as a longer list of even more life skills.

How to Use Skills Lists

You can use skills lists throughout your job search process. Firstly, you can use these skill words in your resume. In the description of your work history, you might want to use some of these keywords.

Secondly, you can use these in your cover letter. In the body of your letter, you can mention one or two of these skills, and give a specific example of a time when you demonstrated each of those skills at work.

Finally, you can use these skill words in an interview.

Make sure you have at least one example for a time you demonstrated each of the top five skills listed here.

Of course, each job will require different skills and experiences, so make sure you read the job description carefully, and focus on the skills listed by the employer.

Also review our other lists of skills listed by job and by type of skill.

Top Five Life Skills

Communication
Communication skills are critical for life and work. Communication refers to one’s ability to convey information to others, either verbally, in writing, and through body language. These are important abilities in the workplace, no matter what your job. You need to be able to communicate with your employer, your colleagues, and your customers and clients.

Cooperation
In life, you need to be able to get along with others. Cooperation is especially important at work. You need to be able to work well and get along with others in meetings, on team projects, and in other collaborative settings. 

Decision Making
There are countless times in your life that you will have to make important decisions. This is true in the workplace as well. Employers want job candidates who can analyze situations, weigh options, and then make decisions on important matters. They do not want candidates who waffle and can’t make clear choices.

Handling Criticism
In work, you will have to receive lots of feedback from your employer. It is important that a job candidate thoughtfully and professionally receives feedback, and grows from it. Being able to handle criticism well takes a number of other life skills, including self awareness, thoughtfulness professionalism.

Information Technology
In this day and age, information technology (IT) is definitely an important life skill. People need to know how to use smart phones and the Internet in countless situations. IT skills are also critical for almost every job. You should be able to use common computer programs like Microsoft Word and Excel. Any additional IT experience typically makes you an even stronger candidate.

Life Skills List

Below is a detailed list of life skills, including the ones described above.

A – D

  • Adaptability
  • Analytical
  • Apologizing
  • Asking for help
  • Assertiveness
  • Body language
  • Communication
  • Confidence building
  • Conflict management
  • Cooperation
  • Coping
  • Creative thinking
  • Critical thinking
  • Decision making

E – O

  • Influence
  • Information technology
  • Interpersonal
  • Leadership
  • Listening
  • Literacy
  • Mindfulness
  • Negotiating
  • Networking
  • Numeracy
  • Organization

P – Z

  • Presentation skills
  • Prioritization
  • Problem solving
  • Professionalism
  • Public speaking
  • Recognizing diversity
  • Resilience
  • Respect
  • Self-awareness
  • Teamwork
  • Time management
  • Timeliness
  • Verbal communication
  • Willingness to learn

Skills Lists: Employment Skills Listed by Job | Lists of Skills for Resumes

Related Articles: Soft vs. Hard Skills | How to Include Keywords in Your Resume | List of Keywords for Resumes and Cover Letters