What ‘Soft Skills’ Should Everyone Learn In Their 20s?

What ‘Soft Skills’ Should Everyone Learn In Their 20s?

In your career, soft skills are just as important as more obvious ones, like knowing how to use certain software or tools. Whether it’s related to communication, growing your career, or something organisational, there are many soft skills that help you become successful at work.

Image from UBC Learning Commons.

What soft skills do you think everyone should learn when they’re growing their careers in their 20s? Share your thoughts, and include a specific skill (like creating agendas or negotiating), why it is important, and any helpful resources others can use to get started.

10 Things You Should Know About Work by the Time You’re 30 [U.S. News & World Report]


  • Learn to type. Unless you wield a shovel or a nailgun, it’s your primary tool from extracting raw thought from the coalface of the mind. Or something.

    Right up there is Excel, or whatever spreadsheet program the kids use nowadays. Learn the shortcut keys, learn to VLookup, learn to pivot table. Those last two are totally verbs.

  • I think Excel is becoming more of a soft skill everyday. Most people in my profession know very little about how it work but because I do, I am always in demand.

  • Soft skills are things like people skills and things that you can make “personal”, not knowing how to use a certain piece of software.

    Maybe the ability to prioritise. I’ve trained many young people who have no idea how to take a task list and make it work for themselves and for the business. Having the skill to realise what is most important at any given time and to react to the situation accordingly for efficiency.

    Another soft skill would simply be “active listening”. I don’t appreciate staff who “yes, yes, yes, uh-huh, yes, got it, okay” when I’m communicating instructions to them, who I then I have to REPEAT everything because they haven’t actually absorbed and memorised what I have said. It annoys me no end for them to have the attitude of “you don’t need to be telling me this because I know it…. wait…. what was that instruction again?”

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