The term soft skills refers to cross-disciplinary competences and personality traits, which are relatively difficult to measure in contrast to hard skills (technical competences) which can evaluated relatively well by means of objective performance tests. Soft skills are vital for a career in the present-day world of work. In particular, soft skills are often the decisive element when two applicants possess equivalent technical qualifications.
The presentation of and emphasis on cross-disciplinary strengths is an important aspect of an application. It is therefore essential for you to examine your own soft skills in order to present them convincingly during the application process. You should nevertheless remain realistic and avoid exaggerations.
Important soft skills
Some soft skills describe an individual competence precisely while others can cover a range of different skills. A distinction can be made between intrapersonal and interpersonal soft skills.
Intrapersonal soft skills include:
- Ability to work under pressure
- Sense of responsibility
- Time management competence
- Organizational ability
- Willingness to learn
- Self-motivation competence
- Receptiveness to criticism
- Problem-solving ability
- Analytical thinking
Interpersonal soft skills include:
- Communicative competence
- Team spirit
- Critical faculties
- Conflict-solving ability
- Ability to motivate others
- Managerial competence
- Presentation competence
Presentation of soft skills in the application
You should avoid a simple, incoherent list of your soft skills. Instead, try to illustrate your cross-disciplinary qualifications using specific examples:
- Professional experience: Create a link between the soft skills required in the job advertisement and your cross-disciplinary competences (which you have acquired, for example, during your professional activity to date).
- Scope: In the letter of motivation, you have the opportunity to develop your soft skills in greater depth than in the CV. If you have pursued a professional activity in which you enjoyed successful dealings with your customers, you can use this, for example, to emphasize your sociability and communicative competences.
- Hobbies: You can also illustrate your soft skills by means of your hobbies. If you play a team sport, use this top demonstrate your team spirit. Please note: Some hobbies may suggest characteristics which are not necessarily desirable with regard to certain advertised jobs (for example excessive willingness to take risks if you are enjoy extreme mountaineering).