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What Are Soft Skills and Do I Need Them?

During the job search, it’s easy to match up opportunities with your hard, or technical skills. You can determine where you’d be a good fit from a work perspective based on your training, schooling, or experience in the field where you’re applying. While having the right background enables you to do the job, it’s your soft skills that may get you the job.


What are soft skills?

In a nutshell, your soft skills are how you relate to people. They showcase your ability to work with your co-workers, engage with the public, and relate to everyone you encounter. This broad term includes specific areas like your manners, personality, motivation, attitude, and flexibility.

Why should I have them?

While it’s tempting to assume you have everything you need with your hard skills, it’s your soft skills that can actually make the difference. For example, when you’re interviewing, you’re up against other candidates with similar or even more applicable experience than you. Because of this, your soft skills can give you the edge if the employer decides your personality is the best fit for their organization.

Similarly, if you’re up for a position, it could be how well you work on your team that gets you the promotion over someone else. If you’re known for being short with people and impatient, your higher-ups are more likely to overlook you for advancement.


Okay, can you be more specific?

Of course! When thinking of areas to improve in your soft skills, there are a few primary areas to focus on: attitude, work ethic, communication, and critical thinking.



There’s a reason people say that attitude is everything- because it absolutely is. Even the most qualified and talented person can lose out on an opportunity by being consistently negative or unpleasant to be around. It’s more than just your nature; attitude also focuses on how you respond to setbacks or changes.

Work ethic

Naturally, an employer wants to see how you work, which goes beyond just what you produce. This means you work diligently and showcase things like leadership skills in the process.


This, including how you speak to others and listen, is absolutely critical. If you are a poor communicator with people at different levels, it can inhibit your career. While different jobs require different levels of communication, at some point, you will have to talk and listen to people. It also goes beyond what actually comes out of your mouth – don’t forget what your body language can say to people.

Critical thinking

Are you a problem solver? This soft skill is highly valued because it shows a worker who doesn’t have to ask people all the time for help figuring something you. By looking at a situation and determining your options, you’re demonstrating your ability to think through a problem and find the solution on your own. Everyone needs help sometimes, but employers want to know you can think critically.


Take the pain out of your job search with Sterling Personnel

There’s clearly a lot to consider when applying for a job, but fortunately, you don’t have to search alone. Apply for a job posted by Sterling today, and we’ll help find the placement right for you!