Dear SuN friends, 

This week we will navigate you through our list of TOP 3 soft skills.

But first of all, let’s define the terms ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills.  

When saying that a person is ‘an efficient specialist’ people usually imply that he or she has both specific hard and soft skills. ‘Hard’ and ‘soft’ skills are the two sides of one coin – they complement each other, creating an ‘accomplished’, ‘well-rounded’ individual. And while hard skills are more technical and tangible and include one’s skills, qualifications and specific experiences, soft skills are more intangible in nature and usually focus on the wide array of non-technical ‘human’ skills.  

Hard skills are job-specific, usually quantifiable skills, which incorporate the knowledge, know-how and experiences you need to perform a job. They can be obtained through education, life-long learning, training programs, certifications, on-the-job training, etc.  Hard skills are more easily defined and evaluated than soft skills. For example, a hard skill for an academician might be the knowledge of various research methods, while a hard skill for a chef might be in-depth knowledge of spices. 

Soft skills is a term used to refer to more non-technical abilities. Also known as interpersonal or people skills, these are harder to define and evaluate. They are less specialised and are more related to one’s personality. Soft skills characterize how a person interacts in his or her relationships with others.  Soft skills are the personal attributes, personality traits, inherent social cues, and communication abilities needed for success on the job. They include (and are not limited to) communication skills, listening skills, empathy, communication, teamwork, creative thinking, time management, conflict resolution, mediation, networking, work ethic, time management, and problem solving, to name a few. 

The bottom line: Unlike hard skills that are learned, soft skills are similar to emotions or insights that allow people to “read” others.  


Here are the top 10 skills that were most sought for in 2015 and are expected to be most sought for in 2020, according to the `Future of Jobs` report prepared by the World Economic Forum.

We have already included critical thinking, complex problem-solving and creativity in our 'SuN Top 3: Top Skills of the Future' list. So this time we will focus on other three very important soft skills: assertiveness in your communication with others, emotional intelligence and flexibility. 


1. Assertiveness in Your Communication with Others

Assertiveness is a skill regularly mentioned when discussing social and communication skills. Being assertive implies being able to stand up for your own or other people’s rights in a calm and positive way, without being aggressive or passively accepting everything. The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines assertiveness as the 'forthright, positive, insistence on the recognition of one's rights”. If you are assertive, it means that you stand for your personal rights and express your beliefs, thoughts and feelings in an appropriate, direct and honest way, while respecting the beliefs, thoughts and feelings of others.

The bottom line: Assertive individuals are able to get their point across without upsetting others, or becoming upset themselves.

2. Emotional Intelligence

According to 'Psychology Today' emotional intelligence can be described as the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. This definition generally includes three skills:

  1. emotional awareness;
  2. the ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving;
  3. and the ability to manage emotions, which includes regulating your own emotions and cheering up or calming down other people.

Every person is unique - there are neither two personalities, which are exactly the same, nor absolutely similar wants, needs, and ways of expressing our emotions. Navigating through the depths of Emotions takes lots of effort, tact, patience, and consideration. And that is where emotional intelligence becomes important.

The bottom line: Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize your emotions, understand what they're telling you, and realize how your emotions affect people around you. It also involves your perception of others: when you understand how they feel, this allows you to manage relationships more effectively.

3. Flexibility

As a rule, people tend to prefer not to leave their comfort zone. Flexibility is an important soft skill, as it demonstrates an ability and willingness to acquire new hard skills, and an open-mindedness to new tasks and new challenges. Flexibility and adaptability are about creativity and seeking change. It’s means being open to change, seeking for new ways of doing things, not being afraid to get out of the box and not giving up on seeking alternatives in any situation. There is always more than one right answer to a given problem; the trick is to find the one that you are most comfortable with and the one you can live with.

The bottom line: Thinking creatively, sometimes “out of the box,” will often produce a solution that is both effective and surprising. It is these solutions that add energy to projects and help them on their way to success.

Stay tuned for more exiting SuN TOP 3 lists every Tuesday!

The SuN Team :)