While our CVs show our education, employment history and achievements, we’re so much more than that. Often, the way we work hinges on our problem-solving, which is just one of many soft skills. Here we explain their importance.

Ana has a job interview today. Though she’s already applied for several jobs that match her studies and experience, she’s especially keen on this position: The company is an industry leader and runs several social and environmental programmes that go beyond the call of duty.

At the interview, she talks about her studies and previous jobs. However, she also showcases her soft skills, like her ability to adapt to change, her resilience and her ambition to work in multidisciplinary teams.  

What are soft skills?

A popular term in the increasingly socially aware jobs market, “soft skills” align with the idea that jobs should bring about positive experiences that stimulate personal development, as opposed to mere financial benefits. 

When we look for jobs, we lean towards companies that promote the well-being of their employees and broader society through work-life balance, support to vulnerable groups and other initiatives. In turn, more companies are looking at how applicants tackle different situations, foster a positive work environment and add value. 

Which soft skills are the most sought-after?

While we learn hard skills (languages, computer programs, etc.) by studying and working, we acquire soft skills through healthy personal relationships, self-management and self-worth.

Given their subjective nature, they can be difficult to categorize. However, irrespective of the industry, some popular soft skills at the workplace might be: 

  • Adapting to change: Being proactive and primed to deal with unforeseen situations with conviction. 
  • Communication: Articulating thoughts, ideas and opinions clearly.
  • Creativity: Thinking outside the box and coming up with original ideas. 
  • Innovation: Bringing new solutions to common problems, with a close link to creativity.  
  • Integrity: Being honest with the people around you and making fair decisions. 
  • Critical thinking: Analysing situations objectively to get clarification and remove external bias, which leads to better decisions.  
  • Problem-solving: Coming up with the best solutions to complex situations. 
  • Teamworking: Collaborating with, and learning from, colleagues at all levels to foster a positive work environment and excel. It’s closely linked to diversity and inclusion.

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