For years the discussion on soft skills has focused on such skills as attitude, communication, planning and organizing, critical thinking, interpersonal skills, professionalism, teamwork and the appropriate use of media. While these soft skills are critical success skills, they are not all encompassing. In reality, these skills represent only part of the soft skills puzzle.


Soft skills can be broken into three types or categories. They are

Prepare = Job Readiness Soft Skills

Search = Job Seeking Soft Skills

Secure = Job Keeping Soft Skills

Let’s take a closer look:


Job readiness skills are the soft skills related to the job preparation process. They should be taught and learned well before a person enters the workforce, however, they are seldom taught and learned at that time. These soft skills are a necessary part of the job readiness process. Job readiness soft skills are what most people think of when they think of soft skills, and include the following:

Attitude – a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior.

Communication – the imparting or exchanging of information or news.

Planning and Organizing – the process of thinking about and organizing the activities required to achieve a desired goal.

Critical Thinking –the process of skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.

Interpersonal/Social Skills – the social skills we use every day to communicate and interact with other people, both individually and in groups, including listening, speaking, reading and writing.

Teamwork – the combined action of a group of people, especially when effective and efficient.

Professionalism – the competence and demonstrated behavior expected of a professional.

Media Rules – the main means of mass communication (email, television, video, newspaper, internet including social media) regarded collectively, and the rules for their appropriate use in the workplace.


Job seeking skills are the soft skills related to the job search process. These skills need to be taught and learned in order to successfully find, apply, interview, and accept a job. Job seeking skills include the following:

Job Search – the act of finding a job, using a variety of methods including the internet.

Resumes – the process of describing one’s education, life and work experiences for purposes of getting a job. A resume may be either a paper or electronic document.

Job Applications – an application for employment (often simply called an application) which is usually a form or collection of forms that an individual seeking employment (applicant), must fill out as part of the process of informing an employer of the applicant’s availability and desire to be employed.

Preparing For an Interview – the process of preparing for a job interview. It includes such things as getting to the interview on time, learning about the company and the job, practicing to handle difficult questions, and asking appropriate questions.

Interviewing – a one-on-one interview with a potential employer conducted to assess whether the applicant should be hired. Interviews are one of the most popular devices used for employee selection.

After the Interview – activities to be done by the applicant after a job interview.


Job keeping skills are the soft skills needed to secure and keep a job. They include:

Getting Off on the Right Foot – the basics of starting out at a new job, such as meeting your new boss or manager, taking responsibility, learning and following company rules, being positive, listening and following instructions and starting fresh.

Getting Along with Others – basic interpersonal skills such as building positive relationships with your supervisor, getting along with peers, talking with customers, good social skills, handling conflict and balancing work and personal life.

Performance Reviews – How to handle performance reviews, including exceeding expectations, handling criticism, responding to compliments, using feedback to improve performance, evaluating your performance and making continuous improvements.

Soft Skills = Employability skills


When you combine the soft skills included in job readiness, job seeking and job keeping you end up with employability skills. Employability skills are the essential soft skills that involve the development of a knowledge base or mindset that is increasingly necessary to be hired in today’s workplace.