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Soft skills – what are they and why are they important?

The phrase 'soft skills' is seemingly used more and more when it comes to job applications and interviews. But what are they and how can working in another country help?

Hard skills are all the very specific things you need to be able to do – Maths for Accounting, English for Journalism, Excel and Office for Admin etc.

Soft skills are less tied-down to a particular vocation and can make you stand out from the crowd. Soft skills can make your CV shine and working in another country shows these off brilliantly. According to a 2016 LinkedIn survey, 59% of managers – Couldn’t get employees with right soft skills for their vacancy.

“Hard skills vary based on the job, but soft skills are required for every job…That makes soft skills extremely valuable.”

Guy Berger, economist at LinkedIn

Here are LinkedIn’s ‘Top 10 Most Sought After Soft Skills’ and how they relate to life and work in another country:

1. Good communicator You won’t go far without this!
2. Well organised Planning your trip
3. Team player Living, working with new people
4. Always punctual Flights, buses, commitments
5. Critical thinker Problem solving in new environments
6. Social Meeting new people
7. Creative thinker Bringing new ideas to the workplace
8. Interpersonal communicator Breaking language barriers
9. Easily adapts New cultures
10. Friendly personality Necessary to be successful


More soft skills you can improve by working in another country:

  • Budgeting
  • Leadership
  • Self awareness
  • Common sense
  • Confidence
  • Independence
  • Language, culture and communication
  • What it means to be a Global Citizen