May 11, 2023

Top 5 Soft Skills Employers Are Looking For

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When you’re interviewing for jobs, it’s not just your education, certificates and technical skills that can land you the position. For many employers, soft skills can make or break performance and can heavily influence the hiring process.

Sometimes called “transferable skills,” soft skills represent expertise in areas that apply to diverse industries. While hard skills are specific to a single type of job or role, soft skills can be used in most job environments, even industries that vary widely.

Whether you’re looking for work in accounting and finance, information technology or marketing and digital, the following soft skills are in-demand across industries today.

1. Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills, also known as relationship-building skills, are what enable professionals to connect with and build meaningful relationships with coworkers, clients and customers. According to a 2022 TopResume survey of 330 U.S. hiring managers, human resources professionals and recruiters, the third-most in-demand characteristic for prospective employees was personality, cited by 55% of respondents. It only ranked behind skills and experience, and was considered even more important than education.

Some ways you can showcase your interpersonal skills include:

  • Be polite and respectful when interacting with hirers and interviewers.
  • Show confidence and enthusiasm during interviews and employer conversations.
  • Build connections through employer communications, by referencing why you’re interested in a company or how you relate to its workers.
  • Send a thank you note to follow up after an interview.

You can also demonstrate interpersonal skills by building a strong professional network. Invite your professional contacts to your LinkedIn network to increase your connections there.

2. Communication Skills

Communication skills landed at the top of Indeed’s 2023 round-up of top skills employers look for in candidates. Most jobs require some form of communication, from writing emails, to sending clear chat messages, to posting updates on online collaboration platforms, to speaking with clients and coworkers.

When you’re searching for jobs, you can showcase your communication skills by:

  • Proofreading any written correspondence to eliminate spelling and grammar errors
  • Answering questions in interviews clearly and confidently
  • Asking thoughtful questions and getting clarification when needed

Interviews can be a nerve-wracking process for many people. You can build your communication skills by enrolling in public speaking programs like Toastmasters International. If you want to improve your writing skills, consider taking a copywriting course online.

3. Management Skills

In 2023, LinkedIn released its Most In-Demand Skills List based on data from the professional social networking site. Management skills ranked number one, as companies look to hire individuals who can effectively lead understaffed teams amid challenging labor markets.

According to Gallup research, managers are the most influential factor affecting team engagement and performance, accounting for 70% of variance. For job candidates who don’t yet have experience managing people or teams, there’s still potential to add management skills to a resume or highlight them in a job interview.

For example, candidates can think about projects they’ve taken the lead on and how they used management skills to see them to completion. For collaborative tasks, candidates can think about what parts they specifically managed and how that work can apply to other positions.

If you need to develop your management skills, ask your supervisor for opportunities to take on leadership roles on projects. You can also look into classes that teach management skills to enhance your expertise. That helps show prospective employers you’re ready to take on management responsibilities when needed.

4. Digital Literacy

Digital literacy is an all-encompassing soft skill that shows a candidate is able to learn and effectively use digital tools that their role requires of them. Author and “Forbes” contributor Bernard Marr ranked it as the top in-demand skill employers will look for in the next 10 years, echoing the Center for Strategic & International Studies’ statement that digital literacy has become “indispensable” for every global citizen.

A February 2023 study by the National Skills Coalition of data from 43 million online job postings found 92% of jobs require digital literacy skills. You can highlight digital literacy by:

  • Including a technical skills section on your resume and LinkedIn profile that lists specific technology tools you’ve used
  • Highlighting which tools/technologies you used in various positions to execute specific job functions
  • Listing digital courses and trainings you’ve completed

For many positions, it doesn’t matter if you have the exact knowledge of using a specific tool. It’s more important that you’re comfortable training on technology and you’re willing to use it in daily tasks, especially for knowledge worker industries like corporate support and financial services.

5. Time Management

As more roles have become hybrid or fully remote, employers have placed a greater emphasis on time management skills so they can have confidence in workers’ abilities to meet deadlines and complete excellent work in different kinds of work environments. Time management ranks among the top soft skills in a recent report by CNBC, which cited it in 3.6 million job postings.

For job seekers, it’s helpful to think about how you’ve managed your time in high-pressure situations. Think about examples like:

  • How you determine priorities when working on multiple projects at once
  • Ways you schedule your workdays, both in-office and remotely, if applicable
  • Techniques you use to ensure you meet project deadlines and turn in high-quality work
  • Strategies you use to minimize distractions at work

Be prepared to talk about your time management techniques, especially when you’re applying for remote or hybrid positions. Consider how you stay organized, how you plan your work, how you manage delegating tasks or pushing back on tasks when you’re overloaded, and how you solve problems in pressure-filled environments.

Get Job Search Assistance from AccruePartners

At AccruePartners, we work with candidates to pair them with relevant job opportunities in the fields that use their skill sets. Our candidate team can help set you up for success in your job search. 

Talk to us about what kinds of positions you’re looking for. We can help you highlight in-demand skills in your job search that help you get noticed by high-quality employers.

To join our candidate pool and find relevant job opportunities, contact AccruePartners.

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