Soft Skills: Definition and Importance


Many people are familiar with hard skills and know to include them on a CV. However, employers are increasingly placing importance on soft skills, which means it’s imperative to highlight your soft skills on your CV as well.

This article will cover what soft skills are and why they are important, plus provide some examples of soft skills to get you started. Not sure how to add soft skills to your CV? Consider using a CV template to streamline the process.

What Are Soft Skills?

Soft skills are inherent personality traits or characteristics that are hard to learn or develop, and they usually aren’t industry-specific. Soft skills are sometimes also referred to as people skills, interpersonal skills, meta skills, or qualities.  Most soft skills are intangible and difficult to measure or evaluate. They often relate to your attitude, work ethic, and emotional intelligence.

In contrast, hard skills are generally technical abilities or job-specific knowledge that can be taught through education and experience. Hard skills are easy to define and test, such as proficiency with another language, the ability to operate a certain piece of machinery, or a certification in CPR.

Examples of Soft Skills

Many job descriptions will include a list of desired soft skills, but here are some common ones to help you narrow down your strengths:

  • Communication
  • Problem-solving
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Active listening
  • Customer service
  • Time management
  • Collaboration
  • Attention to detail
  • Creativity
  • Self-motivation
  • Responsibility
  • Decision-making
  • Flexibility/adaptability
  • Conflict resolution
  • Integrity
  • Professionalism
  • Friendliness
  • Persuasion
  • Empathy

Why It’s Important to Include Soft Skills on Your CV

Of course, it’s important to include both hard and soft skills on your CV. However, many studies have shown that employers are increasingly placing more emphasis on a candidate’s soft skills over their hard skills. That’s because hard skills are easily teachable, while it’s much harder to impart soft skills.

So, if two candidates apply for a job and one has much better soft skills, that person will likely be hired – even if the other candidate has slightly stronger hard skills. The employer can always teach a new employee how to perform technical job skills, but it’s unlikely that they will be able to (or want to) teach someone a soft skill like how to be a leader.

Including both hard and soft skills on your CV will show that you are a well-rounded candidate who is not only able to perform the technical aspects of the job but also able to interact well with colleagues and customers.

How To List Soft Skills on Your CV

Simply writing a list of your soft skills on your CV is unlikely to be impactful or impress potential employers. Instead, demonstrate how you have used your soft skills to succeed in your past roles by presenting each one as an achievement.

Additionally, make sure to tailor your CV to each position that you apply for. Read through the job description carefully to identify specific soft skills that the employer is looking for, and include the ones that apply to you on your CV.

You can work your soft skills into your professional experience section or create a separate skills section.