The best soft skills to make yourself stand out from the crowd

The best soft skills to make yourself stand out from the crowd
JobStreet content teamupdated on 08 August, 2023

Are you losing out on job opportunities? Is your college degree not enough to secure that dream job? Did your manager just hand over your promotion to the next guy? Well, all these scenarios are a result of the missing workforce skills. That’s right!

Commonly known as ‘soft skills,’ these are the skills everybody needs today to thrive in the modern workplace. A World Bank study, however, revealed that out of half a million college graduates in the Philippines, many don’t have the soft skills that large, innovative firms look for.

So what are soft skills? How are they different from hard skills? Why are soft skills important? This article will answer all these questions and more.

What are soft skills?

a woman writing on her notebook while in front of laptop

Soft skills are the traits and characteristics that make you adaptable to people and situations, helping you perform your job well. These skills are also known as "socioemotional skills," "interpersonal skills," "noncognitive skills," "non-technical skills, and " transferable skills.

Your soft skills are not restricted to a particular industry. You need them in every job and in every industry.

Examples of soft skills

  • Communication
  • Teamwork and collaboration
  • Adaptability and flexibility
  • Leadership
  • Problem-solving and critical thinking
  • Empathy
  • Dependability
  • Motivation
  • Conflict resolution

Hard skills vs. soft skills

a woman thinking the differences between hard skills and soft skills

Hard skills are the technical skills or expertise you gain through training, school, seminars, or former work experiences. They can be taught and learned, and are often specific to your job. A few examples of hard skills are:

  • news writing for journalists
  • Public speaking for teachers
  • Coding or software development for IT professionals

Soft skills, on the other hand, are universal. And they are not job-specific. Having said this, you should emphasize relevant soft skills in your resume. Because firms today are more inclined towards hiring candidates with strong interpersonal skills.

Although the two sound different, these skills complement each other. They contribute to personal and professional growth. A question about your hard skills on your resume will most likely lead to a discussion of your transferable skills too.

How hard and soft skills complement each other

While your hard skills help you land the job, your soft skills are the key to thriving wherever you work. Possessing people skills is an important prerequisite in the modern job market. Hence, while you are an expert in your field, practicing interpersonal skills will come in handy.

Why both skills are needed in the workplace

Technical skills give you the ability to get the job done. But soft skills will give you the ability to cope with pressure, deadlines, and work stress. They are essential skills that will enable you to get along with people around you.

In a collaborative working environment, technical expertise is important. But a project can be successful only when these are used together with your soft skills.

Professor M.S. Rao rightly wrote in CEOWorld that soft and hard skills are essential for organizations to achieve their goals and objectives. According to him, soft skills are more important than hard skills. Because he believes that hard skills can be taught. A soft skill, on the other hand, needs to be acquired. And organizations prosper from candidates possessing soft skills.

Soft Skills Examples

woman presenting her presentation in front of colleagues

Communication Skills

Communication skills include the ability to exchange information between parties. Simplifying complex problems and communicating them with everyone is key in the workplace.

Communication skills examples include:

Public speaking

Public speaking is not limited to speaking in public and delivering speeches. In a workplace, it entails giving presentations, training people, and even motivating others. Mastering this skill opens opportunities for getting hired, getting a raise, or getting a promotion.

Presentation skills

Good presentation skills enable you to deliver engaging presentations to colleagues and clients. It enhances your ability to influence and persuade others.

Persuasion and negotiation

Persuasion skills refer to the ability to present compelling arguments to influence others. Possessing strong persuasion can be highly advantageous in the workplace. You can achieve win-win situations, gain support, and sway opinions in your favor.


Empathy is the ability to understand the needs and perspectives of others. It helps you navigate conflicts, resolve issues, and create a positive work environment. In the workplace, empathy can benefit you by improving your relationships and effectiveness.


Diplomacy in the workplace enables effective conflict management. By possessing these strong communication skills, you can build a positive relationship with colleagues. You learn to manage difficult situations gracefully and enhance your persuasive abilities too.

Teamwork and Collaboration

Teamwork and collaboration enable you to leverage team members' diverse perspectives. You achieve optimal results and expand your professional network. It is highly sought-after by employers and contributes to a productive work environment.

Examples include:

Conflict resolution

Handling conflicts effectively minimizes negative impacts during teamwork. Conflict resolution involves identifying its cause to facilitate open dialogue and find solutions.

Consensus building

Consensus building involves actively seeking input and perspectives from others. The skill promotes a collaborative work environment. And enables you to work effectively by navigating complex situations and achieving shared goals.

Mentoring and coaching

By taking on a mentor or coach role, you can support the development and growth of your teammates. This enhances your own leadership and communication skills. Additionally, you expand your network, and contribute to a collaborative work culture.


Networking allows you to connect with others and create a strong support system. Your network helps you navigate challenges and achieve your professional goals.

Relationship building

By building strong relationships, you create a foundation for open communication. These relationships foster a positive work environment. They lead to long-lasting professional connections and contribute to your overall success.

Problem Solving and Critical Thinking

Problem-solving and critical thinking skills are instrumental in making intelligent and informed decisions. You can address complex issues by leveraging available data, facts, and knowledge.

Problem-solving and critical thinking examples include:

Systems thinking

Systems thinking involves identifying and addressing the root causes of problems and situations. This approach involves understanding the underlying problems and tackling them at their source. This leads to more effective problem-solving and the prevention of recurring problems.

Strategic thinking

This skill involves considering the bigger picture and being forward-looking. It enables you to formulate strategies that maximize resources and optimize performance. By understanding the end goal, you develop good plans for the organization’s success.

Design thinking

Design thinking equips you with a structured problem-solving framework. It enables you to break down complex problems and approach them with a fresh perspective. Thus developing effective solutions and becoming a valuable asset.

Risk assessment

Risk assessment is when you identify, analyze, and evaluate potential risks and their impact on projects. By taking action at the right time, you can plan effectively and maximize the chances of achieving desired outcomes.


Innovation is the ability to generate and implement new ideas. Tapping into it can lead to significant improvements or breakthroughs in projects. It showcases your ability to think outside the box and generate unique ideas.

Adaptability and Flexibility

Adaptability is the capacity to adjust to new or changing conditions. Flexibility is the willingness to adjust schedules and plans to accommodate unexpected changes. Both of these skills are highly valued in the workplace and contribute to an individual's success. And enable individuals to handle change and ambiguity, and thrive in the dynamic and unpredictable work environments that exist today.

A few examples of adaptability and flexibility include:

Change management

Change management skills enable individuals to navigate through a period of transition and transformation smoothly. By adapting to the changing processes and employing effective strategies, you can help minimize disruptions. In fact, you can also help others manage resistance and ensure a seamless transition.


A commonly heard term,multitasking, refers to the ability to manage and perform multiple tasks simultaneously. It is a valuable skill and effective when you possess task switching, prioritization, and time management.

Time management

Possessing time management skills enable you to allocate sufficient time for each task while handling time constraints. Not only is your productivity optimized, but you also succeed in navigating the demands of a dynamic work environment.


This is the ability to adjust and organize tasks based on their importance and urgency. It empowers you to make informed decisions, efficiently manage your workload, and achieve desired outcomes at work.


Your daily work tasks can seem challenging sometimes. But staying driven, proactive, and resilient during such a time is key. Self-motivation fuels your ability to adapt and bounce back from setbacks to achieve success in evolving situations.


Leadership skills go beyond mere authority and formal leadership positions. Possessing leadership skills enables you to take charge. You inspire and motivate others positively, navigate challenges and opportunities, and drive progress towards shared goals.

Here are some examples of leadership skills:

Visionary thinking

Visionary thinkers have the ability to envision a compelling future. They have the ability to think strategically and make decisions that have a long-term impact and sustainability.

Henry Sy, the founder of SM Group, is regarded as a great visionary in the Philippines. He rightly anticipated the growing middle class in the Philippines and created vast retail spaces. Today, these supermarkets not only offer a wide range of products and services but also employment to the nation’s population.


Decision-making is when you make a choice after considering all the available options and potential consequences. It is a fundamental skill in leadership and plays a key role in both personal and professional contexts.


Delegation, in simple words, is assigning tasks, responsibilities, and authority to others in your team. While it may be tempting to do everything yourself, delegation promotes teamwork. Besides, it maximizes your productivity, fosters growth, and creates a more collaborative and resilient team.

Motivating and inspiring others

This is a key aspect of leadership skills, where you clearly set goals and lead your team towards them. This way, they have meaningful work to do and a path for development. And as an effective leader, you create a high-performing work environment through motivation and inspiration.

Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to understand and manage emotions within ourselves and others. It is what impacts most everything you say and do every day. In fact, a study by the World Economic Forum revealed that 90% of top performers also have high emotional intelligence. That’s because being someone with high EQ makes it easier for you to connect with others, engage, inspire, and ultimately succeed.

Example Soft Skills for Careers

1. Business

Every business has various departments that work together to achieve organizational goals. They contribute to the overall growth and profitability of the business.

  • Being part of the marketing department would involve tasks such as promoting products, developing campaigns, and understanding customer needs
  • Management roles involve overseeing teams, setting objectives, and ensuring smooth operations
  • Sales professionals aim to generate revenue by acquiring and retaining clients through good communication and relationship building
  • A role in the Finance department would require you to manage financial aspects such as budgeting, forecasting, and financial analysis

Following are some soft skills that will contribute to your professional success in the above roles:

  • Communication skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Time management skills

2. Healthcare

Jobs in the healthcare industry are booming owing to a huge staff shortage. Healthcare workers are thus in higher demand than ever before. Some staff positions include:

  • Nursing professionals provide essential patient care, support, and advocacy in healthcare settings
  • If you choose to be a medical professional, careers include doctors and specialists
  • Roles in the administrative department include managing the day-to-day operations of an organization
  • Research roles will require you to focus on conducting studies, gathering data, and generating new knowledge to advance scientific understanding

Some soft skills that enable smooth functioning and quality healthcare delivery are:

  • Empathy
  • Communication
  • Problem-solving
  • Patience

3. Creative Arts

In the corporate field, creative arts refer to various artistic disciplines and practices. These enhance branding, marketing, design, and employee engagement. It encompasses the following disciplines:

  • Writing roles that involve crafting compelling narratives, informative content, and conveying ideas through written communication.
  • Roles in design that encompass visual and graphic design and creating functional designs for products, interfaces, or marketing materials.
  • Music roles involve composing and producing music or creating captivating and emotive auditory experiences.

The best soft skills in the creative arts include:

  • Creative skills
  • Communication
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Time management

4. Education

Various roles contribute to the successful functioning and advancement of the educational system. The career paths that promote educational excellence are:

  • Teaching aims to facilitate the intellectual, social, and emotional development of students. Teachers foster a love for learning and prepare students for future success.
  • School administrators are in charge of school operations, manage resources, and ensure the smooth functioning of educational institutions.
  • Research roles in this field focus on conducting studies, analyzing data, and generating new knowledge to improve educational practices.

The top soft skills required in the educational field are:

  • Communication
  • Empathy
  • Patience
  • Problem-solving

5. Technology

Various roles in the technological field contribute to the advancement of digital solutions, such as:

  • As a software development professional, your role would involve designing, web development skills, and software testing to meet user needs.
  • Cybersecurity roles focus on safeguarding digital systems and data from unauthorised access
  • Data roles encompass managing and analyzing large volumes of information and extracting insights

Here are some essential soft skills in the technology field:

  • Critical thinking
  • Communication
  • Project management

6. Social Services

In the field of social services, you can take on various roles that contribute to supporting individuals, families, and communities in need.

  • Counseling involves providing guidance and helping individuals overcome personal challenges
  • Advocacy roles focus on promoting social justice and driving systemic change.
  • Social work encompasses assessing people’s needs and developing plans

Soft skills that make you a good social service professional are:

  • Empathy
  • Communication
  • Problem-solving
  • Patience

7. Hospitality and Tourism

The hospitality and tourism fields are all about delivering exceptional guest experiences and ensuring smooth operations within the industry. Various roles contribute to making this happen:

  • In hotels, three main departments that enable this are the front desk, housekeeping, and management departments
  • In restaurants, roles include chefs, cooks, servers, and managers
  • Travel agencies involve roles such as travel agents, marketing professionals, and customer service representatives

There are several soft skills needed in the hospitality and tourism fields:

  • Communication
  • Customer service
  • Problem-solving
  • Time management

8. Finance

Various roles in the finance field contribute to managing financial transactions, assets, and risks.

  • Accountants take care of recording and analyzing financial data and ensuring compliance with regulations.
  • Banking roles can range from customer service and loan processing to providing financial advisory services.
  • Investment roles involve analyzing market trends, managing portfolios, and providing investment advice to individuals and institutions.

Examples of soft skills required in the finance field are:

  • Analytical thinking
  • Problem-solving
  • Communication
  • Time management

9. Law

Various roles exist in the law to provide legal services and ensure justice in different areas

  • Litigation involves representing clients in legal disputes
  • Corporate law focuses on legal guidance for businesses
  • Public interest law advocates for marginalized populations

Soft skills essential in the field of law are:

  • Communication
  • Problem-solving
  • Analytical thinking
  • Negotiation skills

10. Engineering

The engineering field involves various roles, each specializing in specific disciplines. Some of these are mechanical, electrical and civil.

  • Mechanical engineers design and develop mechanical systems and devices
  • Electrical engineers work with electrical systems
  • Civil engineers design, construct, and maintain infrastructure and public works projects

You can excel in this field with the right soft skills:

  • Teamwork skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Communication
  • Attention to detail

11. Science

Science offers diverse roles such as research, development, and analysis. These roles contribute to advancing knowledge, fostering innovation, and addressing societal challenges.

The soft skills that contribute to overall success are:

  • Teamwork skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Communication
  • Attention to detail

12. Government and Public Service

Government and public service jobs include roles such as administration, diplomacy, and policy-making. Your career path here would be driven by a commitment to public welfare, societal needs, and the well-being of citizens.

Here are key soft skills vital to these roles:

  • Communication
  • Work ethic
  • Empathy
  • Leadership

13. Journalism and Media

A career in journalism and media offers a range of opportunities to work in fast-paced environments and play a vital role in keeping the public informed. You could be reporting on a range of topics or hosting news programs as a broadcaster. You can also be an editor, editing articles and news scripts.

The top soft skills you’ll need in this field are:

  • Critical thinking
  • Creativity
  • Time management

14. Nonprofits and Philanthropy

A career in nonprofits and philanthropy encompasses various roles focused on making a positive social impact.

  • Fundraisers play a crucial role in securing financial support for nonprofit organizations
  • As a grant-making professional, you would assess grant proposals, conduct due diligence, and allocate funds to nonprofits
  • Advocates work to influence public policy, raise awareness about social issues, and drive positive change

Examples of soft skills required in this field include:

  • Empathy
  • Problem-solving
  • Leadership

15. Entrepreneurship

Emily Heyward wrote in one of her Forbes articles that there’s never been a more exciting time to start a new business than now. A career as an entrepreneur offers you the opportunity to create and run a business. You get to turn ideas into reality and make a significant impact.

Here are some soft skills that will support you in your journey:

  • Creativity
  • Work ethic
  • Leadership

16. Research

Research is a systematic investigation done to generate new knowledge and solutions to problems. The responsibilities can vary depending on the sector.

  • In academia, research jobs typically involve conducting original research, often within a specific field or discipline.
  • In an industry research job, you would typically focus on applied research with the goal of developing new products or improving processes within the company.
  • In a research job within the government sector, your work would often be policy-oriented or aimed at addressing societal issues.

Regardless of the sector, research jobs require several soft skills:

  • Analytical thinking
  • Work ethic
  • Time management
  • Communication
  • Collaboration

17. Administration

As an administrator, your responsibilities may involve performing various administrative tasks to ensure the smooth operation of an organization. You could oversee a team in the management role. Or be part of the support role and assist other teams and members in their tasks.

Here are some important soft skills needed in an administration job:

  • Leadership
  • Organization
  • Time management
  • Attention to details
  • Professionalism

18. Consulting

A career in consulting requires providing expert guidance to businesses in specific areas. You help them develop and refine their strategic plans. You also have to work with them on streamlining their operations for improved efficiency. Soft skills play a vital role in your success as a consultant.

Here are some soft skills that you can benefit from as a consultant:

  • Work ethic
  • Analytical thinking
  • Time management

19. Customer Service

Customer service is all about providing support before, during, and after buying the product. It involves activities such as answering queries, resolving complaints, and offering advice. Building a relationship while interacting with customers aids in creating a positive experience.

Soft skills that enable you to do that are:

  • Empathy
  • Active listening
  • Patience

20. Writing and Editing

Technology is bringing about challenging transitions in writing or editing careers. But there are high-paying roles you should look into if you love writing. These include roles in publishing, journalism, and marketing. And you can stay ahead of the curve by possessing certain soft skills that technology hasn’t mastered yet.

These include:

  • Creativity
  • Critical thinking
  • Communication


Today, firms across the world are engaging in more complex and sophisticated economic activities. They are constantly on the lookout for candidates who have adequate workforce skills.

In other words, soft skills have become increasingly significant in the modern workplace. They shape your career's growth and success. By developing and demonstrating strong soft skills, you can enhance your career prospects. In addition, you can achieve long-term success in your chosen fields.


  1. What are some examples of soft skills?
    ⁠Soft skills are skills that relate to how you interact with others. They enable you to communicate in a polite and pleasing way. Some in-demand soft skills include:
    • Leadership

    • Patience

    • Time management

    • Empathy

    • Critical thinking

    • Teamwork

    • Communication

  2. How can I improve my soft skills?
    ⁠Soft skills are essential for everyone in today’s day and age. These can be improved through practice, seeking feedback, and embracing challenges. You can also acquire new skills by enrolling in some courses.
  3. How do I demonstrate my soft skills in a job interview?
    ⁠Demonstrate them positively and truthfully. Share anecdotes where your soft skills were put to good use. You may still lack a few skills. So humbly acknowledge them and emphasize your desire to learn.
  4. Can soft skills be taught, or are they innate?
    ⁠For some, soft skills come naturally. But it is a fact that soft skills can be taught. With focus, determination, hard work, and resilience, personal skills can be well developed.
  5. Are soft skills more important than hard skills in the workplace?
    ⁠Both hard and soft skills are of equal importance in the workplace. They both complement each other. Your hard skill will equip you to finish a job. But soft skills will give you the strength to overcome challenges in the workplace. So don’t be afraid to add soft skills on your resume. Hirers will be eager to know what competitive edge you have over others.

Ready to highlight your soft skills in your resume? Update your JobStreet profile today and #SEEKBetter jobs on JobStreet. For more career advice, browse the Career Advice page for expert tips and download the Jobstreet app on Google Play or App Store.

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