Soft skills: What they are and how to include them on your CV

Soft skills: What they are and how to include them on your CV

Franco Brutti

Dec 3, 2022

Dec 3, 2022

Dec 3, 2022

Soft skills: What they are and how to include them on your CV
Soft skills: What they are and how to include them on your CV
Soft skills: What they are and how to include them on your CV

It's a fact that these are innate skills of people and that, beyond factors such as your seniority, experience or the skills of your role, having soft skills will allow you to achieve goals that you may not have even considered. 

It's almost certain that in every job application you've faced, you've seen an emphasis from employers on knowing more about the softer side of your skills, even more than the hard ones.

No wonder! Thanks to these social skills, which depend on your personality and experiences, you will be able to perform and interact much better with others, achieving the goals of your company, business or enterprise as a team.

For all these reasons, you will surely be looking for your CV to see what you've included about these skills. And if you haven't included anything, don't worry, let's take it one step at a time!

Here you will find the most complete guide to develop and highlight these soft skills. We offer you concepts, which ones are most in demand and how to integrate them into your CV... If you're ready, we're ready, so let's get started!

What are soft skills?

Soft skills concern the interpersonal attributes you need to be successful in the workplace and beyond. They are the way you work and interact with other people.

They include flexibility, attitude, manners and motivation; that is, there are a lot of them, and they are certainly taken into account when making the decision to hire, retain or promote an employee.

In short, hard skills provide the technical skills, but soft skills complement the hard skills, and in this century they make the difference towards success.

What are hard skills?

Skills are like hardware and software in computer systems. That is, in order to manipulate a programme, you need an infrastructure. 

However, there are notable differences between the two, because hard skills are particularly associated with the performance of work tasks or any professional performance, and are the most easily recognised by employers or recruiters. 

That is, they are technical skills.

For example, hard skills are accredited or certified, so they are easier to quantify, such as mastering a foreign language, fast typing, operating machines... 

Now, soft skills or abilities are more difficult to perceive and even to quantify because they are subjective and interpersonal.

They are more focused on how you perform your tasks and your interaction with the work team.

Why are soft skills so important?

So far, with all that we've told you, soft skills are essential to hire anyone, starting with you, my reader friend.

You may be the best technically gifted person for an organisational role, but if your soft skills are low or underdeveloped, it's difficult for you to be taken into account. 

Soft skills give you a unique combination of empathy and commitment, and they can be passed on to others; and they should be expressed in your CV.

What's more, many people can be placed in jobs with inferior technical knowledge just because they stand out with excellent soft skills. 

Know today's most in-demand soft skills

As you've seen, soft skills are often of great importance, especially when it comes to evaluating new human talent for organisations.

A study done at Harvard University states that, in order to complete a professional career, 80% of the effort and achievement is due to soft skills, and the other 20% to hard skills.

So, based on this study, how can these skills not be important?

With these skills, you will be able to deal more effectively with the work challenges that come your way.

And the fact is that people with a greater capacity to develop these skills are noticed within companies, with roles that emphasise growth and the contribution of motivation, optimism, empathy, communication and more, leading to greater and better productivity with excellent results.  

So, for your CV to be eligible, you need to know the best summary of the most demanded soft skills in any job, and below we highlight them. 

1. Teamwork

We begin the series of soft skills with one that is entirely related not only to jobs, but also to interpersonal relationships at any stage of life. 

Getting along with other people is one of the main skills required for any organisation to increase its productivity. 

At any stage of life, especially at work, it's necessary to interact with people in different circumstances.

This can range from simple departmental meetings to team projects where there is a demand to work effectively with others, even if there are disagreements.

However, in order to work harmoniously in a team, the following skills are required:

  • Collaboration.

  • Accepting feedback.

  • Customer service.

  • Dealing with difficult situations.

  • Dealing with organisational politics when required.

  • Emotional intelligence.

  • Empathy.

  • Diversity or disability awareness.

  • Team building.

  • Intercultural competence.

  • Dealing with difficult personalities.

  • Self-awareness.

  • Influence.

  • Persuasion.

  • Social or sales skills.

  • Networking.

2. Communication

Communication is fundamental for human beings since birth. With it we can express everything we are or feel. Even more so in work relationships it is important to show excellent communication skills.

When it comes to work, we are oriented to interact with co-workers, customers, suppliers and more.

Communication skills have a double implication, because they are not only about transmitting information but also about being a good listener. 

Are you familiar with customer service jobs? Well, that's where the arrows are pointing.

So you need to be able to speak politely and clearly, as well as to listen, whether in person, on the phone or in writing, especially in these days of email and messages on networks or communication systems.

Communication skills? Many, starting with speaking well in public, without fear and continuing with:

  • Negotiation.

  • Persuasion.

  • Socialising.

  • Writing reports and proposals.

  • Presentation.

  • Listening.

  • Non-verbal communication and body language.

  • Storytelling.

  • Writing skills.

  • Visual communication.

  • Verbal communication.

Do you have any or all of these skills? Then you have good communication skills as a soft skill.

3. Critical thinking

This type of thinking is characterised by flexibility, creativity and curiosity, especially when solving problems.

The ability to analyse situations and make decisions is more than valued, it is sought after by companies. 

Therefore, critical thinking is related to formulating proposals with a higher level of complexity and solution. To this end, it is related to skills such as:

  • Critical observation.

  • Discrepancy.

  • Flexibility, creativity and ingenuity.

  • Innovation and adaptability.

  • Aptitude for design.

  • Research.

  • Original thinking.

  • Problem solving.

  • Logical thinking.

  • Tolerance for change and uncertainty.

Do you solve problems with outstanding innovation? Do you approach them from different points of view to propose the quickest way? Then you can put this star on your CV that will brighten your chances of being hired.

4. Leadership and strategic thinking

We have arrived at the holy grail of any job recruitment, the ability to lead and think strategically. They are two of the most in-demand skills globally.

Leadership and critical thinking are two of the most in-demand soft skills and no matter what job you hold, you will have moments or situations where you have to make decisions or even manage other people's work.

However, in the case of strategic thinking, you will have to assess and respond to changing circumstances, and it is closely linked to planning and detecting future threats.

By combining these two skills into one, you as an employee will be the one who knows when and how to come up with innovative and forward-looking ideas. In other words, you will be of great value.

In addition, in interpersonal relations, you need to know how to motivate those around you in order to make the best use of all their skills and abilities. 

In short, you will have to solve conflicts between people, foresee opportunities and threats, and make executive decisions.

Related skills include:

  • Conflict management.

  • Negotiation and decision-making.

  • Delegation.

  • Problem solving.

  • Giving clear feedback.

  • Being a source of inspiration.

  • Managing meetings and projects.

  • Remote/virtual team management.

  • Mentoring.

  • Planning.

  • Talent management, supervising and coaching.

If you have any of these skills, you have a precious gift in the workplace. No company can succeed without the management of true leaders who lead others, advance future actions and achieve the goals set.

5. Work ethic

This is one of the soft skills where you must demonstrate coherence between the ideas you express and the actions you carry out. Likewise, you must have values such as punctuality, on-time performance of tasks and acting in an organised manner, among others.

Having professional ethics will make your job performance much easier or open doors to many opportunities. Therefore, it is important that you plan how you will use your time and thoroughly complete your work.

There are many skills or competencies related to professional ethics, but here is a summary of the most important ones:

  • Attention.

  • Competitiveness.

  • Independence.

  • Motivation.

  • Dedication.

  • Perseverance.

  • Organisation.

  • Meeting deadlines.

  • Persistence.

  • Punctuality.

  • Reliability.

  • Resilience.

  • Results-orientation.

  • Scheduling.

  • Self-control.

  • Self-direction.

  • Time management.

  • Working under pressure.

  • Constant training.

If you have a work ethic, you will always seek a harmonious environment, with less conflict and more commitment, values and sincerity. In addition, you will always seek the best for yourself, but also for those around you, always thinking of the common good. 

6. Time management

This is one of the soft skills that lets you know how good of a time manager you are. If you do it well, it will translate into you being a highly productive person.

After communication and leadership, time is another factor whose management is highly valued as a soft skill. 

With it you will be able not only to do your tasks on time and with priorities, but you will be able to evaluate the tasks of others, helping them to manage their time.

What are the best attributes of time management?

  • Savings.

  • Efficiency.

  • Priority.

  • Speed.

7. Positive attitude

Having a positive attitude can help you to have more opportunities in your work environment. In addition, a positive attitude is ideal in fast-paced work environments where symptoms of stress can occur.

To develop a positive attitude, just show friendliness, a willingness to work and make others want to be with you. These little things will open up many possibilities for building a good relationship in your work environment.

Do you have any of these positive attitude attributes?

  • Confidence.

  • Cooperation.

  • Energy.

  • Politeness.

  • Enthusiasm.

  • Honesty.

  • Patience 

  • Respect.

  • Good sense of humour.

Most valuated Soft Skills

Can soft skills be learned? 

Learning soft skills may seem like a rather slow process that requires changes in habits and personality, but the good news is that yes, soft skills can be learned and even optimised over time.

If you want to lead your company or your business in an effective way, train yourself to apply soft skills in the various situations you may face in your day-to-day life, as well as when you have to make decisions. 

How to develop soft skills?

With all that we've told you, it's necessary that you stop to reflect on how you use these skills and if you are aware of all the advantages they offer you at a work and business level.

To develop these skills, here are 3 key points. 

  • Always have a learning mindset with the capacity to develop. The use of emotional intelligence, the practice of resilience and agility are considered survival skills in business. With this mindset, you will be better able to accept and adapt to change. Soft skills can be developed to help you improve your performance.

  • Start to encourage reflection, i.e. to know which skills perform best or need to be improved. If you do this exercise, you will know which soft skills stand out for you, as well as which soft skills you need to train in order to use them more effectively.

  • Feedback allows you to better develop soft skills in the workplace. Whether you are in a leadership or subordinate position, offering or receiving coaching to evaluate performance is essential. Avoid punishments in the face of difficulties as, ideally, soft skills can be developed with the feeling of being supported.

How to include soft skills in the CV: top tips

It's common to look at a CV type of document and see training, studies, qualifications and more.

And the world of work is fiercely competitive and the best way to get more than satisfactory results is to differentiate yourself from the competition.

Therefore, soft skills will be in our job cover letter, the value proposition that will highlight the difference. But it isn't just a matter of placing them on a whim, it's about demonstrating that you have them. 

Job interviews are intended to verify that you have what your CV says you have or, on the contrary, if are lying too much.

When you write a CV, aim your skills at what the job is looking for. You can do this in written form or with better innovation, through a video CV, a blog link and more. 

Moreover, you are free to include hobbies, interests and even failures. Especially the latter give feedback on how you learn and grow as a person and as a professional.

What other soft skills do you think are essential today?