What Are Soft Skills?

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Employer requirements typically include both hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills include the knowledge you need to do the job. Soft skills include your interpersonal (people) skills.

What Are Soft Skills?

Soft skills are the personal attributes, personality traits, inherent social cues, or communication abilities needed for success on the job, and are less quantifiable than hard skills that include specific knowledge and abilities.

Soft skills characterize how a person interacts in his or her relationships with others.

Unlike hard skills that are learned, soft skills are similar to emotions or insights that allow people to “read” others. Soft skills are important to the success of almost all businesses, but especially customer-focused organizations. 

Hiring managers and employers look for applicants with soft skills because of their adaptability and transferable skills that can be used regardless of the job at which the person is working.

Because they are acquired over time as opposed to during a training program, soft skills are correlated to applicants with more unique and broad backgrounds that can diversify a company and cause it to run more efficiently.

Types of Soft Skills

Soft skills include attitude, communication, creative thinking, work ethic, teamwork, networking, decision making, positivity, time management, motivation, flexibility, problem-solving, critical thinking and conflict resolution.

Here's more information on the difference between hard skills and soft skills, and a list of soft skills.

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