How to Identify and Develop Soft Skills?

These days the labour market is full of specialists. Many of them found a dream job, but only a few managed to stay at it. It is all due to soft skills. Those unique traits help people in achieving the best results and gain desired success. Do you have soft skills?

A lot of people think that knowledge is the only thing that matter when applying for a job. Nonetheless, employers have become more selective and demanding to their potential candidates. During an interview, they consider their potential workers’ soft skills to see whether they are worth a hire.

What Is The Meaning Of Soft Skills?

Soft skills are defined as character traits and interpersonal skills. They characterize relationships of an individual with other people and help him to succeed in the workplace and gain profit.

Some of them are inborn, while others can be acquired through a learning process. The reviews of companies on the labour market show that soft skills are one of the most crucial factors determining whether a person’s resume will be accepted or rejected.

Nowadays, it is difficult to find someone who works on his or her own. People primarily work in large or small groups. Each employee communicates with colleagues, clients, partners, management board, etc., using his soft skills. They help him to socialize, negotiate with people, and argue his position.

What Are Examples Of Soft Skills?

These traits are often regarded as interpersonal or transferable skills. You can look through the best websites to find a publication, providing reviews of all traits a person possesses. Nonetheless, not all of them are important. Here is a list of the most important skills for an employee:

  • Ability to deal with problems;
  • Ability to express gratitude;
  • Ability to listen;
  • Ability to perform under high stress;
  • Ability to persuade;
  • Adaptability;
  • Conflict management;
  • Creativity;
  • Critical thinking;
  • Decision-making;
  • Effective/advanced communication;
  • Having a strong presence;
  • Initiative-taking;
  • Innovation;
  • Leadership;
  • Learning skills;
  • Organizational skills;
  • Openness to criticism;
  • Resourcefulness;
  • Stress management;
  • Teamwork;
  • Time management;
  • Work ethic.

Any employee should have soft skills no matter how high is his level of professionalism. They are needed to keep being a professional who can quickly learn information, process it, and discuss with colleagues if required.

How Do You Identify Soft Skills?

Identification of soft skills is easy:

  • Take a piece of paper and a pen.
  • Divide it into two columns.
  • Mark the first column as “My strengths.”
  • Mark the second column as “Traits that are present but need improvement.”

Thus, one can clearly see which traits he has and which of them lack learning. If you have some difficulties with determining your traits, you can ask a friend, colleague, or former employers about the soft skills they associate you with. You might even discover things about yourself that you did not know before.

How to Develop Soft Skills?

Soft skills development is not always a pleasant process as it requires effort, self-control, and practice. Mastering some of them may take just a few days, while others may require over a year.

Once you listed the traits you need to train, it is time to learn how to develop them. The procedure covers the following steps:

Gain knowledge

To form a skill, one needs to get the knowledge first and work it out in practice. Knowledge is information that people receive and remember for themselves. There are many sources of knowledge:

  • Articles;
  • Books;
  • Mentor’s advice;
  • Lectures;
  • Personal communication;
  • Pieces of training and seminars.

For example, one lacks teamwork. Then, he should study the material on what it is, how to deal with people, work together, work more collaboratively, solve a problem efficiently, build effective communication, etc. – gain basic knowledge of communication.


Putting knowledge to use is the first step of building a specific skill. For example, to put his knowledge on teamwork development, one can start taking part in one of the project discussions, offer one’s ideas, learn to interact with people, help them find a solution to earn the respect of colleagues and become a person whose pieces of advice can be considered reputable.

Learn from others

If you feel shy to step into a conversation or apply any other skill, it can be extremely helpful if you follow someone’s example. For example, you have a problem with breaking the ice with colleagues. Try to remember a person who quickly finds common ground with other people. Then, use some of his tricks to overcome the issue. Over time, you will develop your own ways of setting up contacts.

Skill automation

The skill can be regarded as “mastered” when it reaches automatism. Thus, regular participation in project discussions will help to learn to perform the task equally well, without losing quality, regardless of changing external conditions. Confident communication with colleagues regardless of negative comments, and occasional mistakes and other external factors is an automated skill.

Each soft skill has its levels and development criteria. The more you practices, the better your skills develop. The main thing is to receive feedback and analyze the experience. Otherwise, you will not move from the dead point.

Assess your soft skills with our online assessments.

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