Standing Out: Why Soft Skills in the Workplace Matter

As a portfolio manager for financial markets, Don possesses a lot of technical ability. In fact, in this regard, he is significantly better than others who hold the same role and enjoys being recognised for this.

But suddenly, Don finds himself let go due to a restructure. Despite the setback, Don figures this situation has provided him with the opportunity to try moving up the ladder at a different company.

In every job application, every interview, Don plays up his technical skills. But there are no bites, and he can’t figure out why.

He knows he is excellent at what he does, but 18 long months pass by without any offers.

Have you ever felt like you missed out on a job, but can’t understand why?

Technical ability isn’t everything

Technical or hard skills are tangible, easily defined and verifiable.

In the past, hard skills were the type most valued by employers. After all, they can be more clearly demonstrated and are easy to list on a resume.

But, hard skills aren’t always front of mind for employers anymore.

Why you should highlight your soft skills in the workplace

Soft skills are intangible; that is, you can’t see them at play. Rather, you get a sense of them.

In contemporary times, soft skills are rising in importance in the eyes of employers. A Manpower survey of 2,000 US employers showed “61% of American companies rated such “soft” abilities as communication, collaboration and problem-solving as the most desired skills in prospective hires.”

With ongoing developments in technology and the changing nature of the workforce today, these skills are essential. And because of this, and the need to remain employable long-term, it’s important to make sure prospective employers know about your competence with soft skills.

This was clearly a blind spot for Don. But, with career coaching, he came to see that moving up the ladder would require a heavy focus on soft skills, like influence and internal selling. Adjusting his approach, by making his soft skills clear to potential employers gave him the direction he needed to land the opportunity he was looking for.

It’s easy to get caught up with demonstrating hard skills to potential employers.

But, if you’d like some help with understanding and highlighting your soft skills in the workplace, check out my upcoming book: So You’re Career Confused! WTF is Next?


Greg Weiss is Australia’s leading career coach. He is the author of “So You Got The Job! WTF Is Next?”. The book prescribes a proven, practical 7-step guideline for new employees so they succeed, rather than fail their probation periods and beyond. Find out more about the book at

He is the Founder and Director of Onboff an online training and coaching platform that helps HR specialists, coaches and recruiters to deliver exceptional onboarding and offboarding experiences for employees.

He also hosts The Keep: The Employee Experience podcast and runs CareerSupport365.

Keyword: soft skills in the workplace

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