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Published on August 11, 2020

25 Soft Skills You Need to Be Successful in Life

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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Jeremy Diamond

Jeremy Diamond is a lawyer and entrepreneur. He is the Senior Partner of Diamond and Diamond Lawyers, a national law firm based in Canada

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Last Updated on November 24, 2020

50 LinkedIn Influencers To Follow, No Matter Your Industry

50 LinkedIn Influencers To Follow, No Matter Your Industry

LinkedIn is an excellent platform to network with great people to help you in your career and businesses. However, with over 575 million people on the site, who should you follow? This list will steer you to the right people to follow, organized by categories of expertise.

Job Search Experts

You will likely have several jobs throughout the course of your career, and you will constantly need advice on new trends and strategies out there in the job market. Here are the LinkedIn experts who you should follow on these matters.

1. Liz Ryan is the CEO and founder of Human Workplace. Her articles on job searching are filled with creative and colorful cartoons.

2. Lou Adler is the author of The Essential Guide for Hiring and Getting Hired.

3. Dr. Marla Gottschalk will help you make an impact in a new job.

4. Hannah Morgan runs CareerSherpa.net, where she gives expert advice on job searching and how to be more visible online.

5. Alison Doyle is the CEO and Founder of CareerToolBelt.com.

Management Experts

They say that people leave managers, not jobs. These experts in LinkedIn will help you become your employees’ dream manager.

6. Jeff Weiner. How can we leave out the CEO of LinkedIn himself?

7. Nozomi Morgan is an executive coach. She can help you transition from a boss to a true leader.

8. Mickey Mikitani is the CEO of Rakuten. He constantly shares his expertise in managing a global player in e-commerce platforms.

9. Andreas von der Heydt was the head of Amazon’s Kindle Content and now the Director of Talent Acquisition. He has extensive experience in management, branding, and marketing.

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Productivity Experts

By maximizing your productivity, you can win in all aspects of life. The following LinkedIn experts will help you win big in your career.

10. Gretchen Rubin is a happiness coach and the bestselling author of the The Happiness Project.

11. Carson Tate is the founder of Working Simply. She advises us to include play in our schedules.

12. Greg Mckeown is an essentialist. Part of being an essentialist is saying no to many things so that we can focus on the things that matter.

13. Brian de Haaff, CEO of Aha! Labs Inc. provides strategies on how to be productive and happy at work at the same time.

Marketing Experts

14. Sujan Patel is VP of Marketing at When I Work, an employee scheduling software. He is an expert in content marketing and he even shares his ideas on content marketing in 2020.

15. Megan Berry is the Head of Product Development at Rebelmouse, a content marketing and AlwaysOn powerhouse.

16. Sean Gardner will help you navigate the social media landscape. This includes how to use different platforms to help accelerate your career. He is also the bestselling author of The Road to Social Media Success.

17. Christel Quek is an digital and marketing expert. She is the VP of South East Asia at Brandwatch. Their products help businesses utilize social media data to make better business decisions.

18. Jeff Bullas is a digital marketing expert. His blog has over 4 million readers annually.

19. Michael Stelzer is the CEO and Founder of social media powerhouse site, Social Media Examiner.

20. If you’re looking for inbound and content marketing expertise, follow Dharmesh Shah, Founder and CTO of Hubspot.

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21. David Edelman is a McKinsey partner and is at the helm of the Digital Marketing Strategy Practice Department.

22. Dave Kerpen leads the social media software company Likeable Local. He is the author of Likeable Social Media: How to delight your customers.

23. Clara Shih is the CEO of Hearsay Social and the author of The Facebook Era.

24. Aaron Lee is Grand Master of Customer Delight at Post Planner. He is an excellent resource for everything social media.

25. David Sable is the CEO of Y&R, one of the largest advertising firms in the world.

26. Content marketing trumps traditional marketing these days, and who else better to lead you in this area than Joe Pulizzi, Founder of Content Marketing Institute.

Personal Branding Experts

Part of what we market in our personal career is our brand. When people hear your name, what kind of brand comes into their mind? What traits and qualities do they associate with you?

Here are some personal branding experts from LinkedIn to improve your own brand.

27. Dorie Clark is the author of Stand Out and Reinventing You. He can help you craft the professional image you’ve always wanted.

28. Dan Schawbel is the managing partner of Millennial Branding. If you’re a millennial, Dan is the guy to help you craft your personal brand.

Other Notable Experts to Follow

29. Lisa Gates is the expert to follow if you’re negotiating for higher salaries and promotions.

30. If you’re a Baby Boomer, Marc Miller will help you navigate the continually changing landscape of the workplace.

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31. To avoid getting your resumé moved to the “No” pile, read Paul Freiberger’s excellent advice.

32. James Caan provides insightful ideas on careers in general. He is also a serial entrepreneur.

33. Jeff Haden writes on various topics, such as leadership and management. He is the owner of Blackbird Media.

34. If you’re looking for expert business advice on getting new customers and keeping them, follow Jay Baer.

35. Suzanne Lucas, aka Evil HR Lady, is a great human resources specialist.

36. If you need help in using Twitter to boost your career, Claire Diaz-Ortiz can guide you in the right direction.

37. Ryan Holmes is the CEO of Hootsuite, a social media management tool.

38. Customers are the lifeblood of a business and Colin Shaw focuses on revolutionizing this customer experience.

39. Brian Solis often reflects on the future of business and how technology can disrupt our world.

40. Nancy Lublin provides advice on more lighthearted topics, which are perfect after a long day’s work. She is the CEO behind Dosomething.org, a portal designed for social change; and the founder & CEO of Loris.ai and Crisis Text Line.

41. Katya Andresen provides advice on how to manage your career. She was the CEO of Cricket Media and now responsible for the SVP Card Customer Experience at Capital One.

42. Gallup has created a system to test what your strengths are and how to use them at work. Jim Clifton is the CEO of Gallup.

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43. Adam Grant is a Wharton Professor and the author of Give and Take, which provides advice on why being helpful at work can accelerate your career.

44. Hunter Walk is a partner at Homebrew Venture Capitalist Company and has specialty in product development and management.

45. If you’re running a nonprofit organization, follow Beth Kanter for expert advice on this area.

46. Emotional Intelligence is necessary to succeed in your career, and Daniel Goleman is your expert for that.

47. Rita J. King connects science, technology and business.

48. Tori Worthington Rose is a Creative Director at Mary Beth West Communications, LLC. She has extensive experience in sales and digital media.

49. If you’re looking for some advice on how to use writing and personal content marketing to boost your career, follow Ann Handley.

50. Tim Brown is the CEO at IDEO and shares his insights on Leadership and Creativity.

These are just some of the key thought leaders and movers in various industries. They will provide you with constant inspiration, as well as the willpower to pursue the career that you’ve always wanted. Their stream of expert ideas in their respective fields will help you become well-equipped in your professional pursuits.

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Featured photo credit: LinkedIn Sales Navigator via unsplash.com

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