What Are Soft Skills: [60+ Soft Skills Employers Love on Your Resume]

June 27, 2023

Image by DCStudio on Freepik

Have you noticed that the word Soft Skills pops up everywhere when looking for a job? There’s no getting away from it.

Though it is not something you learn by studying, there are proven practices that can help you boost your soft skills.

So Soft Skills – what exactly are they?

What are Soft Skills?

Well, picture a set of abilities that make you an asset in both social and professional situations. They’re like a universal toolkit that can be applied anywhere and everywhere. Unlike technical skills that only work in specific jobs, soft skills are versatile.

Sure, technical knowledge is essential, but it’s the strength of your soft skills that truly makes you shine. Imagine building rock-solid connections through effective communication, understanding others with empathy, and peacefully resolving conflicts like a pro. 

In this post, We will closely examine the various soft skills and techniques and how to implement them. But for now, let’s cover the basics.

Chapter 1: Fundamentals of Soft Skills

Soft Skills vs. Hard Skills?

Soft skills are the qualities that can shape your success at work, while hard skills are specific technical abilities. Both types of skills are important. Hard skills open doors to opportunities, while soft skills set you apart and pave the way for long-term growth.

By finding a powerful balance between the two, we equip ourselves with a winning combination that helps us excel in our chosen fields. Mr. David Blasco, a senior director in sales and marketing from a recruitment firm Randstad Singapore, says:

“While technical skills display your competencies in a certain field and could vary based on the role that you are in, soft skills indicate how competent you will be in any and every job.” – David Blasco.

Companies initially prioritize hard skills during the hiring process, but soft skills come into play when assessing fit within the company culture and collaboration abilities. Investing in both types of skills is key to excelling in your field.

So, focus on developing your hard skills first, then nurture your soft skills. This winning combination will propel you to success and open doors of opportunity in your career.

Why are Soft Skills Important?

In today’s fast-paced professional landscape, soft skills are no longer just an add-on; they’re essential for achieving success.

According to Deloitte, “Soft skill-intensive occupations will account for two-thirds of all jobs by 2030.”

soft skills job by 2023
“80% soft skill-intensive occupations will account for all jobs by 2030.” (Source: Deloitte)

Employees equipped with stronger soft skills could contribute to revenue increases exceeding $90,000.

soft skills revenue increase
“Soft skills contribution to revenue increased by $90,000.” (Source: Deloitte)

Due to the rise of automation and artificial intelligence, the demand for the human touch has greatly increased.

Employers and recruiters now know that while hard skills can be taught, soft skills are trickier to master. Yet, they greatly affect team harmony, happy customers, and overall productivity. 

They’ve caught on to the fact that true success requires a holistic approach—technical know-how alone won’t cut it in today’s intricate and interconnected world.

Chapter 2: Top 12 In-Demand Soft Skills in Singapore

If you’re new and looking to make quick, impactful changes, focusing your efforts on soft skills is a great place to start.

Here are the top 12 in-demand soft skills in Singapore to consider:

1. Communication Skills

Communication skills are expressing ideas clearly, listening actively, and engaging in productive conversations. It is essential for building relationships, resolving conflicts, and collaborating like a pro. 

To level up your communication game, try out some handy practices.

Start by making eye contact and giving your full attention to the speaker—it shows respect and builds a connection. Don’t forget about nonverbal cues! Nodding, smiling, and leaning forward let the speaker know you’re engaged and encourage them to keep sharing.

nonverbal communication
70 to 93 percent of communication is nonverbal.” (Source: Lifesize)

And here’s a pro tip: avoid interrupting others. Instead, take a moment to reflect and paraphrase what the speaker said to ensure you truly understand and show that you’re actively listening.

Here are more tips for improving your communication skills:

  • Be assertive: Share your ideas confidently and respectfully.
  • Adapt to your audience: Customize your communication style to match their needs.
  • Seek feedback: Ask others for input to improve your communication game.
  • Show empathy: Understand others’ perspectives and emotions for better connections.
  • Mind your tone and language: Adjust them based on the situation and who you’re talking to.
  • Embrace learning: Stay open to feedback and keep developing your skills.
  • Visualize it: Use charts, diagrams, or slides when needed for better understanding.

2. Analytical Thinking

Analytical thinking is about gathering, analyzing, and interpreting data to spot patterns and trends. It’s like being a detective, objectively evaluating information and making logical conclusions. 

Analytical thinkers can break down complex issues, find the right data, and use analytical techniques to uncover game-changing insights.

Randstad states, “Your ability to collect, synthesize and analyze information and use that in your problem-solving will make you a far more attractive job candidate.”

With this, they can make informed decisions and streamline processes.

Here are some tips for applying analytical thinking:

  • Make decisions based on solid numbers, not just gut feelings.
  • Learn the basics of statistics and data analysis.
  • Use data analytics tools to unlock insights about your business performance.
  • Break down big problems into bite-sized chunks and analyze them one by one.
  • Monitor key performance indicators (KPIs), use data to track progress, and make smart tweaks.

3. Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking

These skills are about tackling challenges and finding solutions. Going beyond quick fixes requires a systematic approach that includes critical thinking, logical reasoning, and decision-making.

It is recognized by SkillsFuture Singapore as an important Critical Core Skills (CCS).

critical thinking as soft skill
SkillsFuture Singapore’s Critical Core Skills (CCS) with critical thinking.” (Source: SkillsFuture)

This means gathering information, analyzing it from different perspectives, and using creativity to develop innovative solutions. 

Tips to enhance problem-solving and critical thinking:

  • Stay open-minded and curious, questioning assumptions and exploring different perspectives.
  • Use a systematic problem-solving approach with clear objectives and break complex issues into smaller parts.
  • Dig deeper to uncover underlying causes and connections instead of relying on surface-level observations.
  • Consider potential risks and benefits, and think about your decisions’ short-term and long-term consequences.

4. Resourcefulness

Resourcefulness means finding ways to get things done and overcoming challenges, even when resources are limited. It encourages thinking outside the box and finding creative solutions by adapting, innovating, and thriving in dynamic environments.

To develop resourcefulness, question the status quo, reframe problems, and consider different perspectives. 

Embrace risks and explore new ideas to find innovative solutions. Being resourceful helps you be prepared to problem-solve at the moment and to turn challenges into advantages.

Here are some tips to boost your resourcefulness:

  • Embrace growth: See challenges as opportunities to learn and grow.
  • Think outside the box: Explore unconventional approaches and consider different angles when problem-solving.
  • Use resources wisely: Make the most of what you have by identifying their potential and finding innovative ways to utilize them.
  • Seek diverse perspectives: Collaborate with a diverse group for unique insights and ideas that can spark creativity.
  • Keep learning and adapting: Stay curious, learn new things, and stay updated with advancements that can enhance your resourcefulness. Be flexible in adjusting your strategies as needed.

5. Teamwork

Working effectively in diverse teams, including international ones within multinational corporations (MNCs), is vital for success. It brings together people with different backgrounds, perspectives, and skills, creating a dynamic environment where innovative ideas flourish, and collective goals are reached.

Resolving conflicts is also crucial in teamwork. Mediation techniques like encouraging open dialogue and facilitating compromise help resolve conflicts and maintain positive team dynamics.

Here are some tips on improving teamwork: 

  • Talk it out: Keep communication open and honest within the team. Share ideas, concerns, and updates freely.
  • Listen up: Be an active listener and show genuine interest in what your teammates have to say. Their perspectives matter!
  • Team spirit: Create a positive and inclusive team culture where everyone feels valued and respected. 
  • Cheers and feedback: Give constructive feedback and recognition to your teammates for their contributions. Celebrate their achievements!
  • Bonding time: Enjoy team-building activities and social interactions to build stronger connections and a sense of camaraderie. Have fun together!
  • Conflict resolution: Address conflicts head-on and encourage open dialogue to find solutions that work for everyone.
  • Grow together: Provide professional development and growth opportunities, like training or mentorship programs. Support each other’s progress.

Remember the saying,

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” – Aristotle

6. Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is all about understanding and managing emotions while interacting with others. It’s a soft skill that helps you build relationships and communicate like a pro.

Did you know people with higher emotional intelligence earn 20% more on average?

high eq revenue
Those with higher emotional intelligence earn 20% more on average.” (Source: Norwich)

And guess what? 90% of top performers in companies have sky-high emotional intelligence scores!

eq versus iq
90% of employees with higher emotional intelligence scores as top performers.” (Source: Norwich)

In a team, emotional intelligence makes everything better. It builds trust, promotes collaboration, and keeps communication flowing.

Here are some tips for improving your emotional intelligence: 

  • Practice mindfulness or meditation to enhance self-awareness and self-reflection.
  • Reflect on your thoughts, feelings, and reactions to different situations.
  • Practice active listening to fully engage with others and validate their feelings.
  • Show genuine care and support for others’ well-being and experiences.
  • Practice stress-management techniques, such as deep breathing or exercise, to regulate intense emotions.
  • Develop healthy coping mechanisms like journaling, talking to a trusted friend, or engaging in hobbies.

7. Time Management

Time management is all about smartly managing your time and priorities to work efficiently and minimize wasted moments.

Good time management brings many benefits, such as heightened productivity, fewer delays, and healthier work-life harmony.

Ultimately, mastering time management empowers you to conquer your objectives, reduce stress, and savor a more rewarding and balanced existence. It’s a must-have soft skill for your resume, making it one of the most vital to nurture.

Tips for proper time management:

  • Set clear goals and priorities by setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals.
  • Identify what tasks are most important and align them with long-term objectives.
  • Create a schedule or to-do list to prioritize tasks and allocate time accordingly. 
  • Break down large tasks into smaller, manageable steps to stay organized and maintain progress. 
  • Consider using the Pomodoro Technique, where work is divided into focused intervals followed by short breaks.
pomodoro method
“The Pomodoro Technique.”

8. Growth Mindset

A growth mindset is a belief that your talents and skills can improve through effort and learning. With this, you can face challenges head-on, conquer obstacles, and always strive for self-improvement.

In the competitive landscape of Singapore, leveling up your growth mindset is key. Equip yourself with platforms like Coursera, Udemy, or LinkedIn Learning. They offer a wide range of courses and resources customized to your strengths and career goals.

Author Carol Dweck wrote in her book ‘Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,’ that a fixed mindset is about validating yourself, while a growth mindset is about developing yourself.

“When you enter a mindset, you enter a new world. In one world—the world of fixed traits—success is about proving you’re smart or talented. In the other—it’s about stretching yourself to learn something new.” – Carol Dweck.

Tips on building a growth mindset:

  • Add “yet” to your vocabulary: Instead of saying, “I can’t do this,” say, “I can’t do this yet.” Remember, skills can be developed over time.
  • Challenge negative self-talk: Replace thoughts like “I’m not good enough” with positive affirmations. Believe in your ability to learn and improve.
  • Embrace mistakes as learning opportunities: Learn and grow from failures. Analyze what went wrong and how you can do better next time. Setbacks are stepping stones to success.
  • Surround yourself with growth-minded people: Seek out positive and supportive individuals who believe in personal growth. They can inspire and motivate you to reach your full potential.
  • Love learning: Explore new subjects, hobbies, and courses. Engage in lifelong learning to reinforce your belief in continuous improvement.
  • Set goals and celebrate progress: Break big goals into smaller milestones and reward yourself when you achieve them. This positive reinforcement fuels motivation and strengthens your growth mindset.

9. Leadership

Effective leadership is like being a team captain, steering them toward success. Leaders inspire and guide their teams to achieve common goals. They create a positive work environment and bring out the best in their team members.

They share their vision and goals, ensuring everyone is on the same page and motivated. They listen to their team, value their ideas, and give helpful feedback. As stated by Traqq, “Effective leaders encourage their team to ask ‘why’ before committing to a task, promoting open communication and collaboration.”

Becoming a great leader takes self-awareness, continuous learning, and practice. They lead by example, showing integrity and empathy. By inspiring others, leaders create an environment where growth and teamwork thrive.

Tips on building your leadership skills:

  • Set a clear vision and goals to guide your leadership.
  • Lead by example and show the qualities you want in your team.
  • Encourage collaboration, value diverse perspectives, and create an inclusive environment.
  • Continuously learn, seek feedback, and develop yourself.
  • Delegate tasks and empower your team to grow.
  • Build trust through reliability and transparency.
  • Adapt to change and support your team through challenges.
  • Inspire others, appreciate their efforts, and provide motivation to achieve goals.

10. Work Ethic

Maintaining a strong work ethic is like building a positive reputation for yourself, personally and professionally. To show a strong work ethic, you must be reliable, accountable, and willing to put in extra effort. 

When you consistently meet deadlines, take responsibility for your tasks, and show that you can be trusted, people will see you as a dependable team member.

Don’t just settle for what you already know—keep seeking ways to learn and grow. Being open to feedback from your supervisors, colleagues, and even clients is also important.

Here are some tips for building a strong work ethic:

  • Identifying key objectives and breaking them down into manageable steps.
  • Maintaining a positive attitude and embracing a growth mindset.
  • Approach challenges with resilience and view failures as learning opportunities.
  • Continuously seek opportunities for personal improvement.

11. Attention To Detail

Attention to detail helps you achieve accuracy, quality, and professionalism in any field. It means being super careful and thorough when reviewing your work, ensuring every tiny detail is perfect. 

Not giving enough attention to detail can lead to mistakes, causing big problems. From small slip-ups to huge blunders, the consequences can be serious. 

In his article titled Best Advice: Pay Attention to Detail, Josh Bersin emphasizes,

“You are a very talented individual, but if you make small mistakes, people will not see the value you provide.” – Josh Bersin.

But if you make a habit of focusing on the details and aim for accuracy, you can take your performance to the next level and produce top-notch work that stands out from the rest.

Here are some tips for improving your attention to detail:

  • Develop a systematic approach to tasks to ensure all necessary steps are followed and not overlooked. 
  • Double-check your work before finalizing it to catch any errors or inconsistencies. 
  • Use tools and technologies that aid in accuracy, such as spell-checkers or data validation software.
  • Practice mindfulness and maintain focus on the task at hand.
  • Minimize distractions, setting aside dedicated time for focused work.

12. Adaptability

Adaptability helps you conquer any challenge and thrive in a world of constant change. It’s all about being flexible, open-minded, and ready to embrace new experiences. 

Recruiters love this soft skill because it shows that you can handle anything that comes your way and turn it into an opportunity for growth. 

Boost your adaptability; start by believing in your ability to learn and grow. Embrace change with a positive attitude and see challenges as exciting opportunities to improve. Seek out diverse perspectives and try new things to expand your adaptability.

Here are some tips for being more adaptable:

  • Stay flexible and open-minded, ready to adapt to different ideas, perspectives, and situations.
  • Surround yourself with diverse people and experiences to gain new perspectives and find innovative solutions.
  • Develop resilience by bouncing back from setbacks and staying determined, treating every setback as a chance to become stronger.
  • Learn to adjust your strategies and plans on the go, navigating through challenges and uncertainties like dodging attacks in a game.
  • Step out of your comfort zone, try new things, and take on projects that push your boundaries to enhance your adaptability.
  • Continuously invest in personal and professional development, acquiring new skills that make you more adaptable.

Chapter 3: How To Identify Your Soft Skills

Identifying your soft skills is a crucial step in personal and professional development. 

Here are some ways you can uncover these valuable attributes: 

  • Start by reflecting on your experiences and seeking feedback from others. 
  • Assess your strengths and weaknesses by analyzing situations where you excelled or faced challenges. 
  • Take note of the skills that contributed to your success or helped you overcome obstacles. 
  • Ask colleagues, friends, and mentors for their input on your strengths and areas where you shine. 
  • Pay attention to the tasks or activities you enjoy most, as this can often indicate where your natural soft skills lie. 
  • Take self-assessment tests or quizzes designed to identify soft skills. 

Combining these approaches will help you gain a clear understanding of your unique soft skill set, empowering you to leverage them effectively in various aspects of your life.

Chapter 4: How To Improve Your Soft Skills

Continuous self-awareness, practice, and dedication are needed to improve your soft skills. 

Here are some tips that can help lead you to enhanced personal relationships and career success.

  • Prioritize Which Skills to Develop: Analyse your strengths and areas where you would like to develop. Compare the skills in this guide to those that are most important for your career goals.
  • Ask For Feedback: Asking friends or mentors about your strengths and shortcomings can provide insights we didn’t know about.
  • Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone: Applying a little essential pressure will help you develop your soft skills.
  • Take Online Courses: There are many different online tools and courses that can help you develop particular talents. Find the right courses for you.
  • Take On A Leadership Role: Experience can teach you a lot. Taking on a leadership role, no matter how minor is a terrific approach to developing your soft skills.
  • Build Relationships: Cultivate your emotional intelligence by understanding others better and learning to communicate.
  • Show Up To Work On Time: Refine your time management and organizational abilities to boost your productivity and reliability. 

Consistent practice and a commitment to self-improvement are vital to enhancing your soft skills, ultimately leading to greater success in various aspects of your life.

Chapter 5: 50+ Soft Skills To Add To Your Resume

Here is a list of soft skills you can consider adding to your CV:

  • Positive Attitude
  • Creativity
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Stress Management
  • Organization 
  • Patience
  • Flexibility
  • Active Listening
  • Motivation
  • Negotiation
  • Persuasion
  • Logical Reasoning
  • Mediation
  • Coordination
  • Imagination
  • Mind-mapping
  • Management Skills
  • Empathy
  • Taking Responsibility
  • Discipline 
  • Commitment
  • Scheduling
  • Assertiveness
  • Confidence
  • Multitasking
  • Willingness to Learn
  • Accepting Criticism
  • Task Delegation 
  • Planning
  • Public Speaking
  • Sociability 
  • Cooperation
  • Presentation Skills
  • Quality Client Service
  • Project Management 
  • Note Taking
  • Decision Making
  • Feedback
  • Crisis Management 
  • Customer Service
  • Goal Setting
  • Unconscious Bias
  • Coaching 
  • Mentoring
  • Honesty
  • Cultural Awareness
  • Courtesy
  • Etiquette 
  • Research Ability
  • Reliability 
  • Diligent 
  • Prioritization
  • Ambitious
  • Rapport-building
  • Inquisitiveness
  • A Sense of Humor

Key Takeaways

Soft skills are a powerful asset in the job market, playing a crucial role in personal and professional growth. From communication to problem-solving, these skills are highly valued by employers.

To stand out, job-seekers should assess their current skill set and focus on developing these key abilities. Enhancing their soft skills opens the door to new opportunities and boosts their career prospects.

Go through our guide, improve your soft skills, and unleash your full potential for success in Singapore’s competitive job market.

Diane Wong