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For other uses, see Skill (disambiguation).

A skill is the learned ability to carry out a task with pre-determined results often within a given amount of time, energy, or both[citation needed]. In other words the abilities that one possesses. Skills can often be divided into domain-general and domain-specific skills. For example, in the domain of work, some general skills would include time management, teamwork and leadership, self motivation and others, whereas domain-specific skills would be useful only for a certain job. Skill usually requires certain environmental stimuli and situations to assess the level of skill being shown and used.

People need a broad range of skills in order to contribute to a modern economy. A joint ASTD and U.S. Department of Labor study showed that through technology, the workplace is changing, and identified 16 basic skills that employees must have to be able to change with it.[1]

Labor skills[edit]

Main article: Skill (labor)


Skilled workers have long had historical import (see Division of labor) as masons, carpenters, blacksmiths, bakers, brewers, coopers, printers and other occupations that are economically productive. Skilled workers were often politically active through their craft guilds.

Life skills[edit]

Main article: Life skills

Life skills are problem solving behaviors used appropriately and responsibly in the management of personal affairs. They are a set of human skills acquired via learning (teaching) or direct experience that are used to handle problems and questions commonly encountered in daily human life. The subject varies greatly depending on societal norms and community expectations.

People skills[edit]

Main article: People skills

According to the Portland Business Journal, people skills are described as:[3]

  • understanding ourselves and moderating our responses
  • talking effectively and empathizing accurately
  • building relationships of trust, respect and productive interactions.

A British definition is “the ability to communicate effectively with people in a friendly way, especially in business.”[4] The term is not listed yet in major US dictionaries.[5][6]

The term people skills is used to include both psychological skills and social skills, but is less inclusive than life skills.

Social skills[edit]

Main article: Social skills

Social skill is any skill facilitating interaction and communication with others. Social rules and relations are created, communicated, and changed in verbal and nonverbal ways. The process of learning such skills is called socialization.

Soft skills[edit]

Main article: Soft skills

Soft skills is a sociological term relating to a person's "EQ" (Emotional Intelligence Quotient), the cluster of personality traits, social graces, communication, language, personal habits, friendliness, and optimism that characterize relationships with other people.[7] Soft skills complement hard skills (part of a person's IQ), which are the occupational requirements of a job and many other activities.

Hard skills[edit]

Hard skills are any skills relating to a specific task or situation. These skills are easily quantifiable unlike Soft skills which are related to one's personality.[8]

Mastering skills[edit]

Mastery pertains to perfecting a particular skill set. To reach mastery, authors Malcolm Gladwell and Robert Greene claim that 10,000 hours of work will have to be put into training.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ joint ASTD and U.S. Department of Labor study -Retraining 50 Million Americans: The Electronically Mediated Solution". Retrieved 2012-03-15.
  2. ^ Cowan, Ruth Schwartz (1997), A Social History of American Technology, New York: Oxford University Press, p. 179, ISBN 0-19-504605-6 
  3. ^ Rifkin, H. “Invest in people skills to boost bottom line” Retrieved on 2009-10-14
  4. ^ “Macmillan Dictionary” Retrieved on 2009-08-18
  5. ^ Dictionary.com definition. Retrieved on 2009-08-18
  6. ^ Encarta dictionary definition. Retrieved on 2009-08-18
  7. ^ Career Opportunities News, 2002
  8. ^ http://www.investopedia.com/terms/h/hard-skills.asp
  9. ^ Robert Greene (American author)#Mastery

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skill — Please support Wikipedia.
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Business Insider

Business Insider
Fri, 25 Jul 2014 10:34:15 -0700

"In the tech industry, storytelling ability is a critical skill for functions as diverse as software development, sales, strategy, or marketing, since a good story provides historical context, puts priorities in perspective, and clearly lays out a ...
Huffington Post
Fri, 25 Jul 2014 05:22:30 -0700

Most of us believe that leadership is the key to success. But, says Martha Beck, there's a lot to be said for taking a backseat. By Martha Beck. While I was finishing my education back in the Pleistocene era, I got a job teaching at an international ...

Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 16:27:22 -0700

The practice of medicine is science and skill. You can not dissociate the one from the other. Unfortunately the "forced learning" which frequently is irrelevant to one's practice decrease the time to improve the "skill". In the end we have cookie ...

New York Daily News

New York Daily News
Fri, 25 Jul 2014 19:15:00 -0700

Prince Amukamara can admit it. The first few times the Giants' corner yelled to his wife in the living room to show off his new hobby, she walked away laughing. The fourth-year corner would toss three tennis balls into the air, trying to juggle them ...

FanSided (blog)

Thu, 24 Jul 2014 16:02:49 -0700

One of those features is the “superstar skill stick,” which gives users more control over their favorite NHL players. With the right analog stick, gamers can stick handle, deke and create scoring chances with more fluidity. This features will come in ...
Daily News & Analysis (blog)
Fri, 25 Jul 2014 22:37:30 -0700

As I sat down to write this column, there was news of a leopard entering IIT Mumbai campus. The sheer number of jokes and tweets about it showed our national obsession with premier graduate institutes. Every year there are approximately 30-50,000 seats ...

Business Standard

Business Standard
Fri, 25 Jul 2014 05:00:00 -0700

The budget proposal which aims at making the country's youth more employable would have a national multi-skill programme called Skill India. Organisations in this space Institutes have already made preparation to meet the needs of people employed in ...

Irish Independent

Irish Independent
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 18:30:00 -0700

Skill shortages and high costs could hurt Ireland's FDI. Colm Kelpie. Published 25/07/2014|00:00. 0 Comments; Share. Minister for Jobs, Richard Bruton. Photo credit: Justin Mac Innes/Mac Innes Photography/The Department of the Taoiseach via Getty ...

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