What are life skills, and why are they important? Life skills are the abilities and behaviors that help you deal effectively with the events and challenges of everyday life. They are the skills that allow you to handle everything from interactions with others to identifying and processing your emotions.
What Are Life Skills?
Any skill that is useful in your life can be considered a life skill. Life skills vary by culture and by a person’s age. A mature adult is expected to have stronger life skills than a younger person. However, there are certain life skills that almost every employer looks for when hiring new employees. Companies look for job candidates who can handle common challenges that arise at work, and life skills help employees do just that.
People with strong life skills are considered to have maturity and professionalism. Those with strong life skills are less likely to be reactive, and they are aware of their surroundings and themselves. Life skills are critical to management and leadership positions.
Top Life Skills
Here are some of the most important life skills employers seek in candidates for hiring and promotion.
Communication skills are critical to life and work. Communication refers to one’s ability to convey information to others, either verbally, in writing, or through body language. These are important abilities in the workplace, no matter what your job. You need to be able to communicate with your employer, your colleagues, and your customers and clients.
In life, you need to be able to get along with others. Cooperation is especially important at work. You need to be able to work well and get along with others in meetings, on team projects, and in other collaborative settings.
- Conflict Management
- Emotional Intelligence
- Decision Making
- There are countless times in your life that you will have to make important decisions. This is true in the workplace as well. Employers want job candidates who can analyze situations, weigh options, and then make decisions on important matters. They do not want candidates that are indecisive and won’t make difficult choices.
- Creative Thinking
- Critical Thinking
- Problem Solving
- Time Management
In work, you will receive some negative feedback from your employer. It is important that a job candidate can thoughtfully and professionally receive criticism, and grow from it. Being able to handle criticism well takes a number of other life skills, including self-awareness, thoughtfulness, and professionalism.
- Asking for Help
- Giving and Receiving Feedback
- Willingness to Learn
Information technology (IT) is a critical area of life skills. People also need to have basic familiarity with information and communication technology (ICT), including mobile devices and their various software platforms. IT skills are also critical to almost every job. It’s important to be able to use common computer programs like Microsoft Word and Excel (or Google Docs and Sheets), regardless of your job. Any additional IT experience typically makes you an even stronger candidate.
- Email Management
- Productivity Software
- Microsoft Office Suite
- Online Communication Software
- Social Media Management
- Cloud Software
More Life Skills
- Recognizing Diversity
- Inductive Reasoning
- Deductive Reasoning
- Stress Management
- Active Listening
- Project Management
- Social Skills
- Talent Management
How to Make Your Skills Stand Out
ADD RELEVANT SKILLS TO YOUR RESUME: You can use these skill words in your resume. In the description of your work history, you might want to use some of these keywords. You might also include them in your resume summary, if you have one.
HIGHLIGHT SKILLS IN YOUR COVER LETTER: These skills can be highlighted in your cover letter. In the body of your letter, mention one or two of these skills, and give a specific example of a time when you demonstrated each of those skills at work.
USE SKILL WORDS DURING JOB INTERVIEWS: You can use these skill words in an interview. Make sure you have at least one example of a time you demonstrated each of the top five skills listed here.
Sample Resume Highlighting Life Skills
Sample Resume Highlighting Skills (Text Version)
123 Main Street, Greeneville, TN 37744 | firstname.lastname@example.org | 000.123.1234 (H)
Communication: Fluently communicate both orally and in writing with clients, associates, and across management levels in both English and Spanish. Proactive in identifying and addressing individuals’ needs and requirements, contributing to consensus by using positive mediation and active listening skills.
Cooperation and Teamwork: Work well both as a member and a leader of team projects, ensuring high team morale and work ownership through open dialogues, recognition of successes, creative goal-setting, and skillful conflict resolution. Proactively solicit feedback and analyze criticism to define new directions for personal and team improvement.
Decision Making and Leadership: Astutely analyze situations and resources to inform effective decision-making. Willingly assume leadership roles requiring solid organizational and motivational talents.
Information Technology: Solid command of Microsoft Office Suite, QuickBooks, and Adobe Creative Cloud.
ACME United – Greeneville, TN
Customer Service Agent, June 2015 to Present
Provide attentive customer service and support to clients, communicating via telephone and email to address queries and implement solutions to issues. Describe product offerings, assess client needs, and assist with order placement.
- Gathered and analyzed customer feedback to develop new process that reduced trouble ticket response time by 40%.
- Earned ten “Employee of the Month” awards over course of tenure.
Orville’s Merchandise – Greeneville, TN
Sales Assistant, June 2013 to June 2015
Greeted and assisted customers in product selection at historic downtown department store. Merchandised and restocked clothing displays, operated point-of-sale systems, and opened and closed store.
- Created engaging morale- and confidence-building exercises adopted by senior management for training of new hires.
- Led team of five sales assistants tasked with developing innovative sales events that more than doubled daily sales proceeds.
TUSCULUM UNIVERSITY, Tusculum, TN
Associate of Arts in General Studies
Graduated Magna cum Laude, Student Orientation Leader