Importance of Soft Skills in the Workplace
Updated 21 July 2022
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You require more than hard skills to be successful in your career. While hard skills are related to specific technical knowledge, soft skills are personality traits that can build a relationship and solve workplace problems. Also, soft skills help you use your hard skills to the full extent. While hard skills are measurable, soft skills showcase the ability to work with others and grow within a company. Because of this reason, nearly all job role requires candidates to possess excellent soft skills.
In this article, we will discuss the top 15 reasons why soft skills are important and how they can strengthen your job application.
Related: Soft Skills: Definitions and Examples
Importance of soft skills
Employers often seek candidates with proven soft skills, so it is always a good idea to highlight them in your job applications. Soft skills are habits and traits that define how you work with others and on your own. These skills help you succeed in the workplace and in your job role. Here are some reasons you should use your soft skills when finding a suitable job and growing your career:
Complement your hard skills
Your technical skills alone are not enough to help you get a job or excel in your career. Employers judge your application partly based on your hard skills and partly on how well you utilise your soft skills to complement your technical expertise. A business development associate with unrivalled knowledge of their market and product will find it difficult to win business deals if they lack strong communication skills. So, it is important to use your soft skills to make your hard or technical skills valuable.
To make your CV stand out, list all soft skills that may complement your hard skills. For example, when you apply to a manager's role, mention creativity, active listening, leadership and communication skills in the skills section of your CV.
Measure your teamwork capabilities
Regardless of the job role, you will have to work alongside others and as a part of a team. Working well with clients, colleagues and team members allows you to complete the task efficiently. Employers seek employees who can fit well in the team's dynamic. So, they use your soft skills to measure your teamwork and communication skills. To show that you are a team player, consider including soft skills like active listening, adaptability and flexibility on your CV.
Showcase your desire to work long term
Employers prefer hiring candidates who want to work for the long term. When an employee shows interest in working long-term with a company, it reflects in their attitude and how they answer questions during the interview. Also, soft skills like commitment and motivation show your desire to work with one employer for years. Often, employers use longevity as a criterion to decide between two candidates with similar qualification and experience.
Improve your workplace productivity
Most soft skills contribute to increasing your performance and productivity at the workplace. For instance, with excellent time management and communication skills, you can manage your time effectively and clearly communicate your ideas to the team members. This ensures the timely completion of work without compromising quality. When hiring for a particular position, employers prefer candidates with mastery of different soft skills as it helps in achieving a common business goal.
Increase your self-confidence
Another notable perk of soft skills is that it boosts your self-confidence. When you are confident, you can easily wade through workplace issues and conflicts. Additionally, your confidence level may boost the morale of other team members. When hiring for a position, employers look for candidates who can present their ideas confidently, which requires excellent communication skills. Using the right soft skills, you can build confidence in your abilities and become an integral part of any team.
Build professional relationships
Soft skills build your relationship with your team members, clients, stakeholders and business partners. Skills like communication can help you positively influence how you interact with others. Empathy is another soft skill that helps build and maintain workplace relationships. Employers prefer candidates who can show empathy to their peers, understand their perspective and respect their opinions. When you are empathetic, you show care and respect for others, which strengthens your relationship.
Related: Social Skills: Definition, Examples and Why They're Important
Help you stay organised
Time management, goal setting, the ability to delegate work and attention to detail are important soft skills that allow you to stay organised at the workplace. Companies want organised employees because they are reliable and can complete their work on time without compromising quality. Organisation and soft skills like critical thinking help you solve workplace problems, collaborate with other team members and plan projects. You can show your organisational skills to the employer by reaching the interview venue on time and presenting a well-formatted CV.
Increase your ability to take initiative
Employees who take the initiative at work improve their performance and inspire others to raise their performance level. Having soft skills like a positive attitude and problem-solving skills encourages you to take up new projects and actively address workplace problems. Also, soft skills help you follow your ideas and empower you to translate your thoughts into action. During your interview, showcase that you can motivate others and can independently assess issues and initiate solutions.
Build your company's reputation
Soft skills help in growing your reputation along with your employer's reputation. The way you interact with clients and stakeholders can influence how these people perceive your company. Employees who showcase excellent work ethics, complete work on time, mediate conflicts on behalf of their employers and discuss projects with an open mind are the ones who establish a favourable reputation for their company.
Make you adaptable
When things do not go as expected, employers expect you to find alternate solutions to fix the issues. For example, a technology change could affect the final deliverables. An employer will hire a candidate who showcases a zeal to learn the new technology without hesitation. Soft skills like adaptability allow you to adapt to industry shifts and support team members during the change.
Develop your leadership skills
Successful leadership encompasses various soft skills that enable a leader to interact, motivate and inspire their team members. Soft skills like communication, decision-making, conflict resolution and organisation can help you build a highly productive and performance-oriented team. Additionally, the ability to lead your team to success depends upon your willingness to incorporate the team's opinion, actively listen to their feedback and your ability to strategise. Employers prefer candidates with soft skills because they can analyse the leadership strategies required to increase performance. Such candidates can effectively implement different leadership strategies based on the project requirement and workplace situation.
Related: Top Qualities of an Outstanding Leader
Help grow your network
Soft skills like active listening and communication are critical for growing your personal and professional network. Employers prefer candidates who have soft skills because they can make and develop a relationship with new people and can pursue professional leads. If you have a large professional network, you increase your chances of getting hired because employers can make new business connections using your network. You can also use the network to get advice on workplace challenges, receive updates on the latest industry news and recommend trustworthy vendors.
Encourage you to advance in your career
Possessing the right soft skill can help you advance and progress in your career. Employers hire candidates with relevant soft skills because it directly impacts performance and productivity. These skills showcase your suitability for promotion and job enhancement. For instance, when hiring a nursing professional, an employer is likely to prefer empathetic candidates who display a great deal of patience, prefer to work in a team, build relationships and have a positive attitude.
Related: The Career Planning Process: Practical Steps
Reduce your company's cost
Employers hire and prefer to promote people who possess a mastery of certain soft skills. Having employees with strong communication, problem-solving, critical thinking and time-management skills can decrease the cost of doing business because these employees are efficient. When employees develop soft skills, they can provide a better customer experience that improves the marketing metrics and ensures more business.
Distinguish you from others
Mentioning and showcasing the right abilities during the hiring process helps in capturing the employer's attention. The soft skills you possess differentiates you from other candidates with the same skill set. For example, you may be an excellent mechanical engineer, but if you cannot communicate with your team members, an employer will hire someone who can effectively communicate. The soft skills you mention on your CV helps employers choose between two candidates.
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