25 Soft Skills You Need to Be Successful in Life

There’s a saying that goes, “hard skills get you hired, but soft skills get you fired.”

Essentially, what this means is that you may be fantastic at crunching numbers or developing software (both hard skills) but if you’re difficult to work with and not a team player, (a soft skill) you probably won’t be around for long.

Employers want more than just a warm body who has the necessary requirements and education to do the job. They also need an employee whom they can count on and whom they genuinely want to work with.

It’s easy to pad your resume with soft skills that sound good on paper, but you need to embrace these attributes in the workplace to have longevity in a career. More often than not, soft skills apply not just to jobs but social relationships as well.

These are the soft skills you need to be successful not only in your career but also in life.

1. Open-Mindedness

Imagine a world where people weren’t open to new ideas. There would be no free speech, and innovation would be near nonexistent. Nobody says you have to agree with every idea, but people want to be around those who will at least listen to a different perspective or new way of doing something.

2. Giving and Receiving Feedback

Some people have no problem voicing out their opinion but don’t take constructive criticism well. Others are the total opposite. It’s important to learn how to both give and receive feedback to foster positive growth for you and the people you work with.

Here’s Why You Need to Ask for Feedback…and How to Use It.

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3. Perceptiveness

To “perceive” is to see, and social perceptiveness is the ability to discern what somebody is feeling through their body language, words, and emotions. While it might take some practice, learning to be more perceptive can be helpful in an infinite number of situations.

4. Communication

Whether it’s written or verbal, knowing how to effectively communicate your ideas is pretty important in life. If others can’t understand your needs and wants, then this becomes a real problem. Like so many things, you can learn to be a better, and developing this soft skill should be on everyone’s to-do list.

5. Networking

This is one of those buzz words that’s a staple in the business world, but it really boils down to meeting people. Humans are social animals, and networking leads to friendships, marriages, and new jobs. So, get out there and network: 5 Steps to Master Networking Skills and Perfect Your Personal Branding

6. Enthusiasm

Remember that kid in school who complained about every little thing? They weren’t a blast to be around, were they? People want to be around those who have a positive attitude about life and their work.

7. Patience

Even in today’s fast-paced, 5G world, patience is a key soft skill to possess. People learn at different paces and whether you’re the student or the teacher, having patience will go a long way towards accomplishing a goal.

8. Empathy

Having empathy means you can recognize and understand the feelings of other people. It’s the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand their perspective and where they’re coming from. From personal relationships to running a Fortune 500 company, empathy is a soft skill everyone should strive for.

9. Active Listening

If you’re not a good active listener, empathy will be difficult. Active listening is paying attention when another person is speaking, without distraction, and asking deeper questions to better understand their point of view. It’s a great skill to have and will come in handy for everything—from job interviews to social relationships.

10. Collaborative Spirit: AKA Teamwork

Lots of people prefer to work solo and there’s nothing wrong with that. But knowing how to work with others to solve a problem or accomplish a goal is important for so many different aspects of life, work, and society. This is potentially one of the most important skills here in this soft skills list.

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11. Conflict Resolution

From the moment we start school, it becomes apparent that not everybody is going to agree with us and disagreements will arise. Learning how to manage and find a resolution to conflicts that involve yourself or are between other people is key to building strong relationships and teams.

12. Friendliness

You may not be the most outgoing person, but don’t be a mean jerk. Nobody likes a mean jerk.

13. Self-Confidence

Employers want an employee who is confident in themselves and is willing to step-up when the time is needed. Having a little doubt at times is completely normal, but possessing a healthy self-confidence will go a long way in both social and business relationships.

14. Punctuality

Some people seem to always be running late. Sure, life is busy, but it’s busy for everyone. When you lack punctuality, you’re telling others that your time is more valuable than theirs. Do this enough, and your boss may soon tell you to not bother showing up at all.

15. Self-Awareness

This is one soft skill you might not see employers flat out ask for, but make no mistake, they’d love for you to have it. Self-awareness means that you’re aware of your outward behavior and how it does or doesn’t align with your internal values. It’s estimated that only around 15% of people are truly self-aware, but you can work on developing this soft skill.

16. Problem-Solving

Problem-solvers get things done! They invent life-saving technologies, unite warring nations, and figure out how to make better-tasting peanut butter. Learning how to take a step back, see the problem, and work towards a solution is a skill that has helped mankind survive for thousands of years. This makes it an essential part of this soft skills list.

17. Creative Thinking

This skill goes hand-in-hand with problem-solving and some problems are simply more complex than others and require more creativity. From brainstorming to keeping a journal, there’s a host of ways to develop your creative thinking muscle.

18. Perseverance

Like the song says, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Those who meet an obstacle but don’t give up and work to find a way over or around it will be rewarded in life, time and time again.

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19. Stress Management

Stress is a part of life and it always has been. Unlike our ancestors, though, we now have apps on our phones to help with stress. Whether it’s exercise, meditation, or blasting heavy metal music, finding a healthy way to handle stress will help to make you more productive and successful.

Check out these 7 Stress Management Techniques to Get You Back on Track.

20. Consideration

You’re pretty important, but you’re not the only one who matters. How considerate of others you are is a soft skill that can make or break any kind of relationship—business and social.

21. Emotional Intelligence

This soft skill is really an umbrella term as it encompasses some of the other skills on our list. Employers may not ask separately for each of those soft skills and might choose to simply say that they value employees who possess “emotional intelligence.” In short, it covers everything from empathy and self-awareness to social awareness and conflict resolution.

Learn more about emotional intelligence: What Is Emotional Intelligence (And How to Develop It)

22. Delegation

Knowing how to delegate and give direction is an important soft skill to develop, whether you’re managing an intern or leading a multimillion-dollar company. Choosing the right person for the right task comes with a certain degree of responsibility, but there’s so much more to it than that. One must learn how to motivate, give clear direction, and provide the right feedback.

23. Integrity

Your grade school teacher may have touched on this by stressing the importance of being honest. Truthfulness is a huge part of integrity, but it also encompasses doing the right thing and showing a strong moral character by treating others the way that you want to be treated.

24. Courtesy

Being courteous, or simply having good manners seems to be one of those soft skills that is completely lacking through much of social media. That said, being polite and respectful of others will always stand out in the workplace and will take you far in life.

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25. Self-Control

The last one in this soft skills list is self-control. There’s a good chance you’ve probably known somebody who is always taking things a little too far and getting themselves in trouble. Don’t be that person!

Having the ability to manage one’s emotions and behavior is paramount in all areas of life, from holding down a job to maintaining a marriage to staying out of jail! There are certainly ways to work on improving self-control, and this is one soft skill that is essential to building upon success.

Here’s How to Have Self-Control and Be the Master of Your Life.

Bottom Line

These soft skills are transferable to so many aspects of your life and career. So, take the time to assess how well you embrace them and then actively work on improving upon the areas where you’re a little weaker.

You might be surprised at how quickly you see positive results.

More Soft Skills That Can Help You Succeed

Featured photo credit: You X Ventures via unsplash.com

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