Professional Development

Soft Skills

 What are soft skills and why are they important?

Soft skills are essential interpersonal skills that enhance our ability to get things done in our current jobs and to take on new opportunities ahead. Effective utilization of these skills can elevate an employee’s contributions, and help pave the way for new career challenges in the future. Soft skills are foundational and every career-minded individual should invest time into building them.

According to LinkedIn Learning data, the top 5 most in-demand soft skills in 2020 across organizations are:

  • Creativity
  • Persuasion
  • Collaboration
  • Adaptability
  • Emotional Intelligence

USF employees seeking to develop or expand their soft skills in these areas are encouraged to explore the recommended online training content posted in each soft skill category below. All content is free and readily available through LinkedIn Learning.

For instructions on how to log into LinkedIn Learning, click here.

Please note: Although completion of these courses will not be tracked in GEMS, employees can download their certificates of completion from LinkedIn Learning and share them as appropriate.


Organizations need employees who can creatively approach problems and tasks from different roles and perspectives.

To develop and expand your ability to bring new ideas to the table, consider this training content: 

Banish Your Inner Critic to Unleash Creativity with Denise Jacobs - 1 hour

Creative Exercises to Spark Original Thinking with Amy Wynne - 1 hour

Creative Thinking with Drew Boyd - 50 minutes

Creativity Bootcamp with Stefan Mumaw - 50 minutes

The Five-Step Creative Process with Stefan Mumaw - 20 minutes

Creativity for All Weekly - ongoing series with more than 4 hours of content - certificate of completion not offered


Leaders and hiring managers value individuals who can explain the “why.” Effective persuasion skills can assist with bringing additional value to your team’s projects, brushing up on your ability to effectively communicate ideas, and persuading your colleagues and stakeholders to give your suggestions consideration.

To increase your persuasion skills, consider these courses:

Communicating to Drive People to Take Action with Alexia Vernon - 40 minutes

Influencing Others with John Ullmen - 40 minutes

Persuading Others with Dorie Clark - 35 minutes

Leading Without Formal Authority with Lisa Earle McLeod & Elizabeth McLeod - 1 hour

Persuasive Coaching with Brian Ahearn - 45 minutes


There is true power in effective teamwork. High-functioning teams can accomplish more than any individual working independently.

Learn how your strengths can complement those of your colleagues' to reach a common goal with these courses:

Being an Effective Team Member with Daisy Lovelace - 30 minutes

Collaboration Principles and Process with Prakash Raman - 1 hour

Collaborative Leadership with Carol Kinsey - 40 minutes

Creating a Culture of Collaboration with Lisa Bodell - 30 minutes

Shane Snow on Dream Teams - 20 minutes

Teamwork Foundations with Chris Croft - 1 hour 15 minutes


The only constant in life is change. Embracing that reality and showing up to work with professionalism and a positive attitude, especially in stressful situations, can make a difference for you and your team.

Learn how to become more adaptable with these courses:

Managing Stress for Positive Change with Heidi Hanna - 1 hour

Developing Adaptability as a Manager with Dorie Clark - 35 minutes

Developing Adaptable Employees with Gary Bolles - 55 minutes

Finding Your Time Management Style with Dave Crenshaw - 1 hour 15 minutes

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, evaluate, and respond to your own emotions and the emotions of others. With emotional intelligence, you are better equipped  to effectively respond to and interact with colleagues.

Acquire more skills with these courses:

Communicating with Empathy with Sharon Steed - 1 hour 15 minutes

Developing Cross-Cultural Intelligence with Tatiana Kolovou - 1 hour 10 minutes

Developing Your Emotional Intelligence with Gemma Leigh Roberts - 1 hour 10 minutes

Leading with Emotional Intelligence with Britt Andreatta - 1 hour

Learn Emotional Intelligence, the Key Determiner of Success by Big Think - 35 minutes

Social Success at Work with Todd Dewett - 20 minutes

Other soft skills - If you or your team are interested in developing other soft skills, please contact the HR-Learning & Talent Development team via We welcome the opportunity to assist you and/or your team.