Top 50 Soft Skills for Job Seekers

By Jeff Gillis

When you fill out a job application or write your resume, odds are you’re usually focusing on the hard skills you possess, but in many instances, employers are also looking for candidates who possess soft skills as well.

But hang on, what are hard skills? And for that matter, what are soft skills? And what’s the difference between the two?

Soft Skills vs Hard Skills

Hard skills refer to the technical skills and abilities you need in order to do the job you are applying for. These are the skills you’ve learned through your education, training, and experience doing the job at hand.

Soft skills, on the other hand, are the more intangible, or non-technical skills that are related more to your disposition, attitude and personality.

In a situation where multiple equally qualified job seekers are vying for the same open position, it can often come down to the candidate with the most desirable soft skills when making the final decision.

Unfortunately, unlike technical hard skills, it’s difficult for a hiring manager to test your soft skills abilities, which is why it’s up to you to make sure you highlight them properly.

Highlighting Your Soft Skills

To highlight your soft skills, you need to start with a good long look at the job description and pulling out any qualities or characteristics they are looking for that match up well with soft skills you possess.

Is the hiring manager looking for someone who is good with customer service? That requires listening skills as well as communication skills.

What about a job where you’ll be required to work with others? That means the ideal candidate will be good with teamwork as well as leadership.

How about a career in the health field where you have to work with patients? The best candidate will be the one who can do the job and who also brings empathy to the table.

See where we’re going with this?

Below we’ve compiled a soft skills list for you which will help you with preparing your own resumes, cover letters, and interviews.

Our List of the 50 Top Soft Skills For Job Seekers

  1. Adaptability
  2. Artistic sense
  3. Assertiveness
  4. Collaborative abilities
  5. Communication skills (including verbal and written!)
  6. Compassion
  7. Competitiveness
  8. Conflict or dispute resolution
  9. Creative thinking
  10. Crisis management skills
  11. Decision making skills
  12. Delegation skills
  13. Design sense
  14. Diplomacy
  15. Emotional regulation
  16. Empathy
  17. Enthusiasm
  18. Facilitating skills
  19. Flexibility
  20. Friendliness
  21. Humor
  22. Influence/persuasion skills
  23. Innovation
  24. Interpersonal skills
  25. Leadership skills
  26. Listening skills
  27. Management skills (both for time and people!)
  28. Mentoring/coaching skills
  29. Motivational skills
  30. Negotiating skills
  31. Networking skills
  32. Openness to feedback
  33. Patience
  34. Perceptiveness
  35. Perseverance/persistence
  36. Positivity
  37. Presenting/public speaking skills
  38. Problem solving and troubleshooting
  39. Research skills
  40. Resilience
  41. Scheduling skills
  42. Self assessment
  43. Self awareness
  44. Self confidence
  45. Strategic skills
  46. Stress management
  47. Supervision skills
  48. Teamwork/team player skills (also goes hand in hand with collaboration)
  49. Time management
  50. Work ethics

Putting It All Together

While this list is in no way exhaustive, it’s a good starting point for you to build your own! Go through it, see what matches the job description you are applying for, and make sure you highlight these qualities in your own experiences and history as you go through the hiring process.

And if you come across some on the list that you don’t have and know would help you out, just look at them as goals to work towards developing!

Good luck!

About The Author

Jeff Gillis

Co-founder and CTO of Jeff is a featured contributor delivering advice on job search, job interviews and career advancement, having published more than 50 pieces of unique content on the site, with his work being featured in top publications such as INC, ZDnet, MSN and more. Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page.