What is creativity in soft skills

Soft Skills: List, Soft Skill Examples & Tips for Your Success

The ability to work in a team, independence, flexibility - these are just a few of the most sought-after soft skills that determine whether a recruiter will hire you. Here you can find out what soft skills are, which ones you should have today and in the future and how you can skillfully apply them to applications and job interviews. Plus: list of soft skills and examples of soft skills!

Hard skills vs. soft skills - what are soft skills?

Hard or rather soft? No, this question is not about your breakfast egg preferences. We ask about your skills, i.e. your abilities:

Hard skills

Hard skills are yours professional qualifications: Do you have a subject-specific university degree and are familiar with Excel, which is particularly important for the advertised job? Then you can assign these skills to the hard skills.

Soft skills

Soft skills, on the other hand, are yours personal, communicative, methodological and social skills: Did you study abroad during your university days and taught an Excel course for fellow students? These characteristics illustrate your intercultural competence, communicative and didactic skills and your competence in team management, i.e. your soft skills.

Soft skills list: HR managers and recruiters pay attention to these skills

Our soft skills list includes the most important skills that HR managers and recruiters look for when selecting candidates and in the application process. You can find the different skills sorted by social, personal, methodological and communicative competence. It is important to think about your application carefully which skills apply to you and how you would do it in front of a recruiter or recruiter Arguments based on concrete examples could.

Social soft skills

Personal soft skills

Methodical soft skills

  • creativity
  • Motivation and perseverance
  • Organizational skills
  • flexibility
  • Resilience
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Strategic approach
  • Quick grasp
  • Structured way of working
  • Diligence
  • Delegate

Communicative soft skills

Be careful when mentioning soft skills

Some behaviors are on the job Of course, so you shouldn't specifically identify them as soft skills. These include:

  • reliability
  • punctuality
  • discretion
  • loyalty
  • Motivation
  • Professional appearance

Not just decoration: Soft skills are really that important in an application

At first glance, hard skills seem to be more relevant to your chances of applying for a job, because without them the professional qualifications are missing. But watch out: soft skills are not just secondary. This applies in particular to the topic of lateral entry, but also to any other filling of vacant positions.

Soft skills are essential

New work, digitization and the VUCA world bring more and more challenges to our working world.

Soft skills are indispensable prerequisites in this structure and make the difference. This is especially true

  • for jobs in marketing or other industries that do not always provide a clear training path.
  • in jobs where there are many applicants for the same position and therefore there is high competition.

The importance of soft skills in the application - that's what science says

A number of studies in recent years have also shown that soft skills are becoming more and more important for working life and are becoming increasingly important for HR managers and recruiters in the application process.

The most important findings:

  • Underestimated by younger workers

According to the labor market study by ESCP Europe, soft skills are still underestimated by prospective employees, but they are very important for personnel managers.

  • Basis for operational personnel management

According to the scientist Prof. Dr. Michaela Moser, soft skills are indispensable for operational personnel management.

  • Indispensable for digitization

According to the Digital Business Global Executive Study and Research Project, there is a high probability that digital change will not succeed without employees and managers with the right soft skills.


How to use soft skills correctly for your application: Tips & Tricks

Whereas you can prove hard skills with references and certificates, it is not always easy to prove which soft skills you have. The following tips will help you not only put your soft skills in the right light in your application, but also successfully demonstrate them.

Soft Skill Tip 1: Thoroughly analyze the job posting

Would you like to apply for a specific job? Then you should take enough time to review the job advertisement carefully analyze and interpret. Work out which soft skills are not only clearly named, but also derive logically which soft skills are indispensable for the respective position.

Tip: In addition, you can also take a look at comparable job offers from other employers and check whether they name any other skills that could also be relevant to the job description you are interested in.

Soft skill tip 2: Make a list of your relevant soft skills

Take your time and create one List of your individual soft skills. You can also use our list of the most important soft skills as a guide.

When creating it, it also helps if you

  • Friends, acquaintances and (former) work colleagues ask which soft skills you cover and why.
  • Study your previous job references and note which soft skills your previous employers have attested to you.
  • Look at the stations in your résumé and note which soft skills were indispensable in your experience and what you learned in the process. This applies, for example, to stays abroad, charitable activities or your training. Because it is important that you can always prove the soft skills with examples.
  • Think about which soft skills are important for your strategic career planning and which of them you can still develop. Also think about which measures will help you to achieve your goal.

Soft skill tip 3: Less is more in the cover letter

30 soft skills - and your application is ten pages long. Do not flood your application with a series of soft skills, which are probably not all for the advertised position relevant are. It makes sense select suitable skillswhich the advertised job demands, but which you also at the same time you really bring with you. Otherwise your personal preferences as a job candidate will lose their expressiveness and no HR manager will buy your self-presentation from you.

Important: The preparation of your application also gives HR and recruiters information about your soft skills. For example, if you claim to work carefully but send incomplete documents or texts with spelling errors, your statement - and therefore your application as a whole - will lose its persuasiveness. So also prove performatively with the status of your application, what skills you have.

Tip: You will find support on how to write a convincing and professional cover letter in our guide. If you are applying for an English-language position, we will help you with our tips and formulations for an English-language cover letter.

Soft skill tip 4: Include your soft skills in your résumé

You can not only mention soft skills in your cover letter, but also in your résumé: It is generally good if you can demonstrate your skills with specific examples. Of course you can Testimonies past employer and credentials be, but also

  • Further education,
  • Your personal work experience
  • or (not too) private events.

By the way: As with the cover letter, we also support you with the creation of your résumé. Here you can find

Soft skill tip 5: prove your skills in the interview

Of course, HR professionals also use the interview to ask about your soft skills or to find out more precisely whether what you stated in your application is also true. These questions can come to you in the interview:

  • "How would friends describe you?"
  • “What role do you usually play in groups? Give an example! "
  • "If you get stuck: what do you do then?"
  • "What does customer orientation mean for you?"
  • "If you are under time pressure, what is more important to you: keeping an appointment or being careful?"

Reliable, motivated and a high level of intercultural competence - if you have stated these soft skills in your application and named them in the interview, be prepared for a HR manager to go into them more precisely. Simply pretending to have intercultural competence is no longer sufficient. You have to too prove with examples can.

Is it an example of resilience and perseverance if I don't have problems binge watching on Netflix? With two eyes closed, probably. However, your responses should convince without turning a blind eye. Nevertheless: It is helpful if you can prove your soft skills and best packed in concrete stories, because this is better remembered by HR and recruiters and is also much more persuasive than a simple assertion.

Tip: Similarities, storytelling, perception control - in our guide we have five tricks ready for you on how you can convince in an interview and stand out from other candidates.

Are you looking for a job? We will find your dream job!

Over 500 job offers are currently waiting for you in our job exchange! We would be happy to help you use your soft and hard skills correctly in your application.

Relevance of soft skills abroad: different countries, different customs

As with hard skills, there are some soft skills that are particularly important. Whether they are relevant for you and your application also depends on your job and even on the country in which you are applying.

Tip: You can find out which skills and manners are particularly in demand internationally in our article "International Business Etiquette - Dos and Don’ts".

Soft Skills: Use our list and discover your skills

With our list of important soft skills, you now have a good starting point for your application. But be careful: Your choice needs to be carefully considered and should above all suit you and the company you want to apply to.

Are you currently looking for a job or are you planning to start your application phase in the medium term? Then feel free to browse our job exchange at any time: Germany-wide job advertisements are waiting for you here! We would also be happy to work with you to find out to what extent your soft and hard skills match the requirements of the company. Simply get in touch with your personal contact person who is specified in the respective job advertisement. You are also welcome to send us an unsolicited application and we will inform you as soon as we have found a position that fits your profile.

Or you can stop by our AVANTGARDE Experts Academy to train your soft and hard skills.

Credit: Cover picture: skynesher / iStock, picture 1: skynesher / iStock, picture 2: HRAUN / iStock, picture 3: Courtney Hale / iStock, picture 4: uschools / iStock.