What are business skills

Soft Skills: With these skills you can score points on the job!

Table of Contents

  1. definition
  2. Soft skills vs. hard skills
  3. Soft skills when applying
  4. Soft skills in job interviews
  5. Emotional intelligence
  6. Personal skills
  7. Social skills
  8. Methodical skills
  9. Soft skills are missing


Soft skills means something like "soft factors". So properties that are more with your character than dealing with hard technical knowledge. This is about, for example Ability to work in a team or Emotional intelligence. Soft skills describe both yours personal qualities as well as your behaviors. There are Key qualificationsthat can be critical to your professional career.

Soft skills vs. hard skills

Anyone who uses the term soft skills should also clearly distinguish them from the so-called Hard skills know. Hard skills are detectable Skills. This proof can be your High school diploma or be a degree. So it's about skills that are learned and with an exam can be made verifiable.

Usually, hard skills are first and foremost basic requirementsthat you have to bring with you for a job, for example one in many professions completed education or a degree. Without these hard skills, it is impossible to get a job in most companies. So soft skills can mean missing hard skills not necessarily equalize. However, you can set yourself apart from other applicants with soft skills. If you are equally well qualified at the job interview through studies or training, it depends on your soft skills.

However it is different depending on the occupational group, like soft and hard skills be weighted. In manual professions, for example, it is most important that you master your craft. If you work in sales, the pure theory about good sales talks will not help you, you need communication skills to convince customers of you.

Soft skills when applying

Already in yours canditature you can use soft skills for yourself. However, you shouldn't list all the soft skills you can think of there. Rather, it is about making it clear that you have exactly the soft skills you need for your dream job are important

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Which soft skills are right for the job?

Every job is individually. It is therefore important that you apply your specified soft skills to the respective job in the application adapts. The best way to do this is as follows:

1. Analyze the job offer

Look at that Job offer and filter out which of your soft skills are particularly in demand here. Also take a look at that Company website Can't hurt: How does the company describe itself? Which values are particularly highlighted there? This way you will find the perfect soft skills for your application.

2. Formulate correctly

Choosing the right soft skills is not enough. It also depends on that correct formulation in your application. Empty phrasessuch as "I have a high level of initiative" are not helpful. Better think about it Examples from your lifewhere you have demonstrated your soft skills. We have one as a little help and inspiration PDF with examples created for you.

3. Remain honest

In all of this, it is important that you do not pretend to be able to do something that you cannot do at all. Lies fly out sooner or later, so it is important that you include your application stay honest.


The most important interdisciplinary soft skills for Career starters 2020 are:

  • Problem-solving skills
  • Initiative
  • analytical thinking

That's the result of one Survey among recruiters and managerspublished on the Statista online portal.

Soft skills in job interviews

Soft skills are not only part of the application, but above all also with the Job Interview advantageous. You should have some there Have examples readyin case someone asks you for a corresponding soft skill or you yourself the take initiative and want to advertise you. It helps that you do some thought in advance and write down examples. If you have difficulties with this, you will also find examples of many soft skills that you can use.

Emotional intelligence

Let's start with one of the most important soft skills, the Emotional intelligence. It is what makes many other soft skills possible in the first place. Emotional intelligence refers to emotions both with oneself and in relation to others. Emotional intelligence first of all describes the property that Recognize and understand your own emotions and those of others to be able to. This results in an action that is reflected in many personal and social skills.

Type of soft skillsExamples
Personal skillsreliability
Decision-making ability
self reflection
Critical ability
Social skillsAbility to work in a team
Conflict ability
Communication skills
Intercultural Competence
Methodical skillsAnalytical thinking
Organizational talent
goal orientation
Presentation techniques

Personal skills

Apart from emotional intelligence, soft skills can be divided into three areas: personal skills, social skills and methodological skills. First, we will list various personal competencies and explain them to you. They describe your own character and the qualities that you should bring as a person.


Stick to agreements, in time appear at work and the Support colleaguesif you need help - with reliability you can score points in every job. It is important that your colleagues can rely on you. Without reliable employees a company doesn't work. It doesn't matter whether the bakery is about baking the rolls on time or you, as a financial advisor, have to keep appointments with customers. This property is particularly important in professions where it for the life and health of others goes. At Healthcare professions human lives can depend on your reliability.


Also independence is an important quality that can shape the course of your career. The main thing is to work independently and not to be dependent on the instructions of others. Of course, you should also be able to work on assigned tasks, but it is important that you do not ask about every little thing, but also solve and tackle problems yourself. That is also closely linked to this soft skill Self-confidence. It is important that you believe in yourself and your abilities in order to be able to work independently.

Independence plays a role in many areas of life and can therefore also be included in various examples in the job interview. It starts very simply with you owns your own apartment and are independent of your parents. Even if you yourself as a hobby musician Organize gigs or alone planning big trips, this can underline your independence.


The soft skill Initiative goes one step further. This is not just about working independently, but also to initiate your own projects and ideas. This can be useful, for example, if a company has been very stuck in certain areas for years. As a new employee, you can do a Initiate change and bring in your own visions. You don't have to be content with the current situation by taking the initiative. You decide what to do with your ideas. This also means that you have a certain Motivation and curiosity put on the day. You are motivated to achieve something and to contribute your own ideas. You are curious about the options available to you and are always looking for more leeway. By taking the initiative, you can stand out as an employee in a company and so too improve your reputation.

Initiative is particularly relevant if you Career starter or are new to a company. Often you don't get the most exciting tasks and you have to do yours First fight for a place in the team. You can make a name for yourself through your own initiative.

You don't necessarily need an example from your everyday life for this soft skill. It's much more convincing when you do it prove directly in the job interview. Ask questions and contribute your own ideas to improve the company's products. To a reasonable extent, because nobody likes know-it-alls.

Decision-making ability

It is also important for your professional career that you can make good decisions. Even in everyday life, you are faced with decisions that you have to make. In the job, these are usually even more far-reaching. How does she see Treatment for one patient out? What materials will I use for the next construction project? What topics should be in the newspaper tomorrow? In every job you have to Make decisions every daythat can affect your career. It is therefore important that you have no difficulty in making a decision and that you are sure of your choice. You should trust your knowledge and intuition and completely self confident approach decisions.

In contrast to personal initiative, which is particularly important when entering the profession, the ability to make decisions tends to tie in at the other end of the career ladder. Making decisions is often the task of Managers and executives.

In your everyday life, too, you constantly have to make difficult decisions. In the interview, for example, you could indicate if you have decided to move far away for a good study or similar far-reaching decisions for your life.

self reflection

With all soft skills, it is important, in the end, your behavior too to reflect. What was good? What can you do better? You should ask yourself these questions regularly and at the same time be honest with yourself. You can only act when you can criticize yourself change for the better. Conversely, it is also important to reflect on positive experiences in order to gain strength and self-confidence.

This soft skill cannot be restricted to any specific occupational group. It is a basic attitude that you should bring with you to all professions. This is the only way you can keep improving.

In the job interview, you can score with the soft skill by admitting to any mistakes in the past that ultimately brought you further. Show that you are your Reflect behavior and learn from your mistakes.

Critical ability

The soft skill of the is closely linked to self-reflection Critical ability. It is important that you can accept criticism and deal with it. Especially if you are constructively criticized at work because of your work, you shouldn't take it personally. It is always about that you can develop yourself and that your work gets better and better. Just as important as being able to accept criticism is the ability to express criticism appropriately to others. Here, too, you shouldn't get personal, but present the arguments for your criticism and Suggestions for improvement do.

Above all, you need critical ability in Professions with people. Although Policeman as well as Social worker you will have to listen to criticism often. Because: The people you work with will not always agree with you. You should therefore be able to handle criticism in these professions.

The same applies to your job interview. There, too, you will most likely be asked quite critical questions and you may also be pointed out to one or the other mistake. Stick with it calm and matter-of-fact and show how critical you are. But it is also important that not every criticism is justified. If you feel you have been treated unfairly, you should discuss constructively can.

Social skills

But not only personal skills are important, also that Dealing with your colleagues is crucial for your professional future. Every interpersonal contact is shaped by different soft skills. These are the most important Examples of social skills.

Ability to work in a team

When you work with other people, is Ability to work in a team an important soft skill that you should bring with you. It's about not just pursuing your own interests, but that Best possible for your team to reach. You don't have to subordinate yourself to the group, you have to classify yourself. Bring your ideas and become part of the team. In addition, the ability to work in a team is about getting on with the other team members on a personal level. Even when very different individuals come together, you should respect everyone and see everyone as equal.

The ability to work in a team is particularly important where you have to coordinate with others for every step of your work. For example, if you and your colleagues - regardless of the industry - plan a project together

To prove this soft skill, yours are suitable Hobbies. Whether you are part of a handball team, a member of a band or a boy scout - all of these hobbies underline your ability to work in a team. So be sure to include them in your application.


In order to function in a team and understand your colleagues, you not only need the ability to work in a team, but also empathy. With this soft skill you will be able to to empathize with other people and better understand their thoughts and feelings. This also helps you to understand their arguments and in a discussion the to choose correct words. This ability is also an advantage when talking to business customers, as it allows you to understand their intentions better and to convince them of you and your work.

Above all, empathy is in Professions with children decisive, for example as Teacher. Children often do not manage to explain themselves correctly with words. But you should also have empathy in jobs with customer contact.

You could bring this soft skill to the interview by emphasizing that you often do Understand the point of view of others and it is not difficult for you to empathize with others.

Conflict ability

Despite the best teamwork and empathy, conflicts in cooperation with colleagues are inevitable. Here comes the soft skill of the Conflict ability in the game. Because arguing also has to be learned. Similar to the ability to criticize, the main thing here is to have a Solve conflict constructively and not get personal. It is important that in the end the conflict is resolved for everyone.

Similar to the ability to criticize, there are particularly often conflicts in professions with people who may not always agree with you. Here, too, can Police officer and social worker give as examples. But also when working with customers, for example in thedistribution, conflicts can arise.

For the interview you should think about which conflicts you have already been able to successfully resolve in your life. Have you been a member of the Student parliament and did you often have to resolve conflicts there? With this part of your résumé you can put your soft skill to the test.

Communication skills

Your Communication skills decide how your future in the company looks like. It is important that you develop a good relationship with other employees and your boss and that only works if you talk to them. Good language is an advantage.In addition, communication is of course also important when performing many jobs, be it on the phone or in personal conversations with customers and partners. Those who can talk well have a clear advantage.

This is especially true for professions in distribution, for example as Key account manager. Here it is important to convince customers of your products with your arguments. You have to do the right words choose to sell successfully. Without communication skills, it doesn't work in these jobs.

Even in the interview itself, it becomes clear whether you have communication skills or not. Your counterpart will notice it directly in a personal conversation. But of course you can also prepare for this, because when you are excited it can sometimes be much more difficult to answer confidently. So practice at homewhat you want to say in the interview and think about how you could react to various questions.


In business discussions, it is not only the ability to communicate that is crucial, but also the soft skill of the Interviewing. The aim is to run a conversation as smoothly as possible and without misunderstandings and, of course, to allow all parties to have their say. Active listening is a decisive factor for this. In addition, as the person in charge, you should conduct the conversation structure in a meaningful way can. In the end, it's about finding a common solution.

Similar to communication skills, conversation skills are also special in sales department important. It's not just about making your arguments stand out, you have to make yours too Let customers have their say and make them feel like they're part of the conversation as well. Still, in the end you have it Control over the conversation.

Intercultural Competence

By Globalization and digitization are you more and more involved in the job People all over the world networked. That is why the soft skill becomes the Intercultural competence increasingly important. Intercultural competence means that you have the ability to work with People from other cultures interact appropriately. Depending on the culture, the Habits in non-verbal and verbal communication as well as working methods and mentalities distinguish. It starts with the greeting: In China and Japan, for example, there is usually no physical contact, but a bow. If you do business with people from other cultures, you should therefore be familiar with the traditions there.

Intercultural competence is always crucial when you are in your job Points of contact with people from other cultures has. This can be the case in sales, but also, for example, as Pilot.

With this soft skill you can be very clear with what you have learned foreign languages score. If intercultural competence is required for your dream job, you should mention in the interview which foreign languages ​​you can speak and use which countries you have already gone away. Even if you have, for example, a year studied abroad or went to school there, you can score points in the job interview.

Methodical skills

In addition to personal and social skills, it also includes methodological skills about the soft skills that can help you achieve professional success. As the name suggests, it is about Methodsyou are learning. These will help you to better solve tasks and problems.

Analytical thinking

In everyday working life you will repeatedly come across tasks and problems that are not so easy to see through. Analytical thinking can help you in these situations. It enables you to systematically analyze problems and place them in a larger context. So you not only recognize the problem itself, but also the many aspects that are linked to it. So you are able to have a problem in his To understand wholeness and thus also to develop strategies for the solution.

You need analytical thinking especially in professions in the IT sector, such as Computer scientist. You program software and have to think through everything carefully beforehand. You are the one who has to keep track of the whole system.

Analytical thinking can be easily combined with school subjects. In Math and computer science the property is particularly important, but also Physics and chemistry cannot do without analytical thinking. If these subjects are good for you, you can address them in the interview.

Organizational talent and goal orientation

Not only your thinking should function systematically, a systematic structure in your work is also important. Organizational talent is the keyword here. You should have a plan of what to do in a work day or week and organize the tasks in a meaningful and effective manner. Organizational skills are also important when making appointments. Without this soft skill you will be stressed about time. Also the right time management therefore plays a role in the organization.

It is not only important that you structure your work well, but also that you Always have your goal in mind. The main thing is not to waste resources on something that doesn't get you where you want to go. Even if you particularly enjoy certain work, you should above all make sure that it makes sense with regard to your goal.

With the job title Manager One can already guess that organizational talent and goal orientation are particularly important for professions in this branch. As Category Manager for example you are the connection of Trade and consumer goods industry. You are responsible for entire product groups and must always pursue the goal in your work that both producers and trading partners and of course the customers are satisfied.

Presentation techniques

For a successful professional career, however, it is not enough that you do your tasks in an organized, goal-oriented and satisfactory manner for everyone involved. You should can also present your results. Here comes the soft skill of the Presentation techniques in the game. This does not mean that you are doing a Powerpoint presentation or handing out a handout, but rather that your knowledge and insights reach the audience. For this, not only the content of your lecture is decisive, but above all yours Body language and rhetoric. How exactly this looks in detail depends on your intention. Do you just want to inform or, for example, get the others to participate in your project? You can different approaches appropriate for the respective starting situation. For example, create a closeness to the life of your audience by using everyday situations as comparisons in your lecture.

Presentation skills are important in all professions in which you have to give lectures, from Professor at a university to Professions in marketing.

Here, too, you can score points yourself with your appearance in the job interview. Because in a certain way you present yourself and your work. Also think about the places where you have already given lectures with which you could achieve something. Maybe you already have given a seminar. This can be a good example of the soft skill.

Soft skills are missing: a knockout criterion?

If you often notice in everyday life that you still have a Soft skill is missing, then you shouldn't panic. You can actually do a lot of soft skills work out. It is important that you also do the job interview deal openly with your weaknesseswhen asked about it. Because: Nobody is perfect. You can also indicate that you would like to improve yourself even further in this area, for example to find out more about certain cultures or to train your decision-making skills in everyday life.

However, you should also be aware: For a job you should don't have to change your whole personality. If you notice that the soft skill requirements of a job do not suit you at all, then you should look for an alternative. The sales industry, for example, is not particularly suitable for very introverted people, just as the job of a teacher becomes difficult without a high degree of empathy. With these and other soft skills it is difficult to learn them from scratchwhen your personality is just different. Therefore: Do not pretend and look for a job that not only includes your technical skills, but also your personality fits.