Whatever you chose to do for your Award, no doubt you had fun, challenged yourself, and experienced adventure and growth. All those experiences have equipped you with additional skills that will help you throughout your personal and professional life – you developed soft skills. Soft skills are crucial to success in everyday life, they are also extremely attractive to employers.

What are soft skills?​

Soft skills are the personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with others. Examples of soft skills are a positive attitude, self-confidence, ability to accept and learn from criticism. You may be surprised at what a huge difference these soft skills can make in your professional life – more employers than ever are looking for employees that can demonstrate these effective soft skills, because it leads to a more productive and harmonious work environment.

Soft skills are important in all elements of life, from building strong friendships to managing personal finances. However, they’re especially important in the world of work. As soft skills has a huge impact on how well you integrate into a company’s culture and how well you get along with coworkers, soft skills influence how successful you will be.

"Due to increased competitive pressure, employers across sectors have identified a strong need for non-technical skills, including problem solving skills, teamwork skills, communication skills, time management, and cultural adaptability.1 Interpersonal and communication skills, including listening skills, are particularly highlighted with respect to the hiring and promotion of employees in a variety of industries, suggesting that these skills are highly valued by employers.2

- Soft Skills Are Hard, Report from Ryerson University, November 2015

  1. (Bailey, 2014; Grieve, 2013; Gillard, 2009; Moss and Tilly, 1996)
  2. (Gillard, 2009; Reinsch and Gardner, 2014; Grieve, 2013)


Some examples of the soft skills you have developed that employers are very interested in:

  • Communicating with others
  • Working in a team
  • Taking the lead when required
  • Managing your time
  • Showing initiative and drive
  • Commitment to projects and follow through
  • Taking responsibility
  • Being resilient despite setbacks
  • Keeping focused and positive
  • Problem-solving, decision making ​

Many jobs, especially post-secondary, will have essential academic and technical criteria, but soft skills are becoming equally as important; when applying for a job alongside candidates with similar academic results or technical skills, being able to demonstrate that you have soft skills will give you the edge.

Each section of your​ Award nurtures a different combination of soft skills:​

  • Reliability
  • Responsibility
  • Time management
  • Self-motivation
  • Commitment
  • Teamwork
  • Compassion/caring for others
  • Supporting the local community
  • Communication ​
  • Working towards a goal
  • Working with others
  • Commitment
  • Recognizing achievement
  • Meeting a challenge
  • Skill development and coordination
  • Understanding and following rules and safety
  • Reflecting on progress​
  • Planning and developing
  • Increased confidence and self-esteem
  • Demonstrated ability to learn new things
  • Working with others
  • Commitment
  • Meet new challenges​
  • Working as a team
  • Problem solving, decision making and dealing with the consequences
  • Commitment
  • Communication with others
  • Leadership
  • Self-sufficiency
  • Organization
  • Awareness of safety and recognizing hazards
  • Dealing with unexpected challenges
  • Achievement of shared goals​
  • Confidence in an unfamiliar environment
  • Ability to meet new people and build new relationships
  • Accept responsibility for self and others
  • Develop respect and understanding for others with diverse backgrounds
  • Develop skills and attitudes to live and work with others​

Open for Gold is an initiative developed with support from the RBC Future Launch program. Support from RBC enables 
the Award to invest in more resources to help young Canadians complete their Awards.