What Are Life Skills? Examples and How To Improve Them
Updated 31 January 2023
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Learning life skills help you effectively deal with workplace issues and are essential for a steeper learning curve. While you will learn certain life skills in schools, you learn many life skills through experience. These are as important as academic skills. Therefore, employers today seek candidates with mastery of different life skills. Life skills help you get through your work life and ensure you can face any challenges that might block the road to success.
In this article, we will learn about what life skills are, life skills required in a workplace and ways of improving these skills.
What are life skills?
Life skills allow you to deal with and manage with everyday challenges in the workplace. These skills help you excel at your workplace and manage your professional relationships. Mastery of life skills requires a dedicated learning process and an understanding that there is always scope for improvement. As life skills vary by age and culture, adults have stronger life skills than teenagers.
Companies prefer candidates who can handle workplace challenges. With life skills, you can make the right decision, effectively communicate with others, process your emotions and effectively manage your time. Life skills are essential for management and leadership positions.
Related: The Most Important Life Skills And How They Help Your Career
Importance of life skills in the workplace
Here are a few reasons why life skills are important:
Ensures adaptability: life skills makes you more adaptable as it prepares you to face difficulties and overcome them.
Helps deal with failure: with life skills, you develop the ability to recover from failures and view them as learning opportunities.
Assists in team collaboration: mastery of these skills help you work collaboratively with others that helps in building team collaboration.
Increases accountability: it encourages new ideas and helps you stand for yourself. Life skills teach you to be accountable for all your actions.
Life skills required at the workplace
Here a few life skills which you might require at your workplace:
Whether you join as an entry-level employee or a senior employee, excellent communication skills are critical for success in your life and work. You should be able to communicate verbally, through body language and writing. Employers look for candidates who can effectively communicate with their colleagues, managers and clients. Communication skills can be:
Related: Communication Skills: Definitions and Examples
The ability to make the right decisions leads to productive outcomes at work. Employers prefer candidates who can analyse a situation, come up with multiple solutions and choose the best workable solution based on the information in hand. People with good decision-making skills are never doubtful of their decision and are confident of it. Decision-making skills can be:
Resiliency is your ability to face criticism and overcome challenges. Showing resiliency at the workplace showcases that you do not give up regardless of the problems and setbacks you may encounter. A resilient employee considers failure as a learning opportunity and bounces back quickly.
Getting along with your manager, team members and clients is an essential skill to master. You should adjust and must get along quickly during projects and team meetings. Employers look for candidates who are cooperative and flexible because these people are excellent team players.
In the digital age, technology skills and computer literacy are as critical as academic qualifications. You must know how to use basic technology, including using a computer, internet and smartphone. Also, you must be comfortable using word processing software and other technology skills like spreadsheets and social media platforms, among others. These technology skills vary based on industry and job role. For example, accountants must know accounting software, writers/editors must know how to use content management systems and designers must know graphic designing and editing software. Technology skills can be:
Microsoft Office suite
Social media platforms
Time management skills
This life skill brings focus and self-discipline into your life. Effective time management skills require working efficiently with a focus on accomplishing goals and meeting deadlines. Employees who master time management skill can maintain a work-life balance because they stay on time and have a lot of personal time for their family members. Time management skills can be:
Willingness to accept constructive criticism
Lack of feedback and constructive criticism halts professional development. For this reason, you must accept constructive criticism professionally and ensure to avoid committing the same mistakes. Consider constructive criticism as an opportunity to grow. Being able to accept constructive criticism requires other skills such as:
Willingness to learn and grow
Looking at an issue from a unique perspective is a life skill required in a workplace. Empathy helps you find a solution to a conflict and promotes understanding between employees with unique personality traits.
Critical thinking skills
Critical thinking helps in good decision-making at the workplace by allowing you to recognise barriers and find solutions to overcome them. It trains you how to think instead of what to think based on the in-hand information. Employers prefer candidates who analyse a topic in-depth before coming to a logical conclusion. Critical thinking skills can be:
Related: Critical Thinking Skills: Definitions and Examples
How to highlight life skills during the hiring process
Here are two ways of highlighting your life skills during the hiring process:
1. In your cover letter
You can highlight these skills in your cover letter by using the skill words. Briefly describe the relevant life skills in the employment history section and list life skills relevant to the job in the skills section. Your CV should mention at least one developed life skills that help an employer understand why you are the best-fit candidate. Ensure the skill you mention aligns with the organisation's goals and values.
Your use of life skills in the CV may look like this:
“Ability to analyse information and understand the business problems to make correct business decisions.“
2. In your interview
The most prominent way of showcasing your life skills to an employer is by sharing specific stories from your previous experience that correlates with the job. When giving a real-life example, try using the STAR technique, which involves presenting the situation, describing the task, explaining all actions you took and providing results that you achieved.
Your use of life skills in the interview may look like this:
“In my previous job, I put together a team from scratch to work on a branding campaign for a relatively new product. Though we faced challenges and failed initially, I always saw it as a learning opportunity and analysed the situation to ensure that the branding campaign was successful. My manager praised me for my resilient and positive approach to work and appreciated my decision-making skills under stress.”
Related: How to Use the STAR Interview Response Technique
How to improve your life skills
While you can learn only certain life skills in a classroom, making a deliberate plan helps quickly improve your skill set. Here are a few ways to sharpen your life skills for a bright career:
1. Focus on your interpersonal skills
Interpersonal skills are skills you rely on to communicate and interact with others through verbal and non-verbal communication. To develop your life skills, you must master interpersonal skills. When communicating with a colleague, listen actively to what they are saying, rephrase the content before answering. This ensures you do not miss information and gives an impression that you were actively listening to your colleague.
Related: Interpersonal Skills: Definitions and Examples
2. Keep learning
For developing and improving your life skills, always be ready to learn. Learning prepares you to face new challenges, helps you find solutions by keeping your mind sharp and constantly improves your abilities. You can learn through books, online workshops, interaction with colleagues. As you learn, you grow both professionally and personally.
3. Hire a life coach
If you want to master a specific skill, it is best to hire a life coach. Life coaches are professionals who consult and help people strengthen their life skills.
4. Surround yourself with positive people
Life skills help to understand that failures are inevitable and there is always room for improvement. It is critical to surround yourself with people who do not lose courage in encountering failures. Such people will motivate you to learn and grow constantly. Apart from learning from them, these people will inspire you to perform well both professionally and personally.
5. Develop and practice self-awareness
The ability to have insights into your capabilities and limitations helps you grow. Developing self-awareness help you rectify your imperfections and excel at your workplace. To develop and practice self-awareness, ask your performance feedback and understand areas that require improvement. Always look for opportunities to enhance your skill set to increase your performance at work.
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