soft skills

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desirable qualities for certain forms of employment that do not depend on acquired knowledge: they include common sense, the ability to deal with people, and a positive flexible attitude
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012


What are soft skills?

Soft skills are traits that some employers look for that aren’t usually taught and are difficult to measure, such as how to communicate with coworkers in a respectful way.

Soft skills are traits that employees exhibit as a part of their character that could assist them and others in their career and day-to-day work. Soft skills aren’t usually taught in school. Instead, they are learned through discipline and interaction with others. Soft skills include time management, communication, team work, critical thinking, and decision-making.

By comparison, hard skills are skills you learn through training and that are measurable. When you are hired as a software developer, for example, your hard skills include knowing specific coding languages and the ability to write code that works. Your ability to work with other software developers, helping each other resolve problems in the code, would be a soft skill.

Example: Do you think I should include a section on my résumé for soft skills?

Where does the phrase soft skills come from?

The first records of soft skills come from around the 1950s. It was originally a military term that referred to skills that don’t require specialist training, such as completing paperwork. 

Over time, the meaning of skills associated with communication overtook the military meaning. Soft skills, sometimes called interpersonal skills, are sometimes seen as more important than hard skills once the employee has become comfortable with their workplace. Many of the most popular résumé templates include a section for soft skills, and employers may ask about soft skills during a job interview or survey.

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True or False?

Soft skills include knowing how to communicate respectfully with coworkers.

How to use soft skills in a sentence