Soft Skills

When thinking about careers, promotions, or even job hunting, we usually emphasize socalled “hard skills,” meaning skills that are directly connected to our ability to perform aparticular task or do a certain job. These skills can be evaluated or measured, as they are the result of degrees, certificates, specialized knowledge, vocational training, and so on.

“Soft skills,” on the other hand, are more difficult to measure or quantify, as they usually do not come from a degree or specialized training, but from life experience, personality, and attitude. They are often called “people skills,” as they typically relate to how we deal or interact with other people. For example: Are we able to motivate and lead people? Can we communicate well with others?

Some commonly mentioned soft skills would include, among others: creativity, team work, written and verbal communication, management and leadership, flexibility, and organization. These types of skills are important, as they help to form a competent person and employee. They can provide a competitive edge in a job search. Soft skills are relevant to just about every industry or job, because people are always key, in one way or another.
(adapted from http://lingua.com)



Ex.1 Match these expressions with their English equivalents from the text:

1. awans
2. zadanie
3. świadectwo
4. postawa
5. przywództwo
6. elastyczność
7. branża

• attitude
• certificate
• flexibility
• industry
• leadership
• promotion
• task


Ex.2 Complete the collocations with the words given below:

communication / edge / employee / job / life / training / work

1. vocational _____________
2. _____________ hunting
3. verbal _____________
4. _____________ experience
5. team _____________
6. competent _____________
7. competitive _____________



Ex.3 Say these sentences in English using some expressions from the previous exercises:

1. Kompetentny pracownik powinien być również elastyczny.
2. Przywództwo nie jest najważniejsze w pracy zespołowej.
3. Wymagamy (require) świadectwa ukończenia (completing) szkolenia zawodowego.

I know English idioms!

As this lesson’s text deals with the topic of “soft skills”, we can learn an idiomatic expression based on the word “soft”, like this one:
• to soften the blow = to make a bad situation less serious (załagodzić coś nieprzyjemnego)
➢ He lost his job, but he has enough money in the bank to soften the blow.


Phrasals, phrasals…

This lesson’s text contains the phrasal verb “deal with”, let’s have a closer look at it:
• to deal with = to talk to someone or meet someone, especially as part of your job (mieć z kimś do czynienia, obchodzić się)
➢ Do you know how to deal with difficult customers?


Grammar corner

Let’s study this fragment of the text: ” When thinking about careers, promotions, or even job hunting, we usually emphasize so-called hard skills (…)” The underlined part of the sentence can be explained as “when we think”, but to make it simple we can reduce the form to “-ing”.
Let’s study a few more examples:
➢ When going to work, I met an old friend.
➢ When discussing the business case in our team, we had a serious argument.
➢ I fell and broke my arm when riding a bike last weekend.



soft skills – umiejętności miękkie
career – kariera
promotion  – awans
job hunting  – poszukiwanie pracy
to emphasize  – podkreślić
so-called  – tak zwany
hard skills  – umiejętności twarde (specjalistyczne)
directly  – bezpośrednio
connected to sth  – związany z
ability – zdolność
to perform a task  – wykonywać zadanie
to do a job – wykonywać pracę
to evaluate  – oceniać
to measure  – mierzyć
result –  rezultat
degree  – stopień (naukowy)
certificate  – certyfikat, świadectwo
specialized knowledge  – wiedza specjalistyczna
vocational training  – szkolenie zawodowe
on the other hand –  z drugiej strony
to quantify  – określać ilościowo
life experience  – doświadczenie życiowe
personality  – osobowość
attitude  – postawa
to be called  – być zwanym
typically – zwyczajowo
to relate to  – odnosić się do
to deal with  – obchodzić się z
to interact with  – nawiązywać kontakty
to be able to  – móc, być w stanie
to motivate –  motywować
to lead  – prowadzić, przewodzić
to communicate with –  komunikować się z
commonly – powszechnie
mentioned  – wspominany
to include  – zawierać, obejmować
among others – między innymi
creativity  – kreatywność
team work  – praca zespołowa
written/verbal communication  – komunikacja pisemna/werbalna
management  – zarządzanie
leadership  – przywództwo
flexibility  – elastyczność
organization  – zorganizowanie
competent  – kompetentny
employee –  pracownik
to provide –  zapewniać
competitive edge –  przewaga konkurencyjna
job search –  poszukiwanie pracy
relevant to  – istotny dla
industry  – branża
key  – kluczowy
in one way or another –  w ten czy inny sposób


download lesson (pdf)



1. promotion
2. task
3. certificate
4. attitude
5. leadership
6. flexibility
7. industry
1. vocational training
2. job hunting
3. verbal communication
4. life experience
5. team work
6. competent employee
7. competitive edge
1. A competent employee should also be flexible.
2. Leadership is not the most important in team work.
3. We require a certificate of completing a vocational training.