All You Need To Know About The Soft Skills Employers Want


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You spend a lot of time and energy crafting the perfect resume, to showcase all your experience and professional skills. But do you mention your ability to build an effective relationship?

Believe it or not, soft skills are important to employers across all industries. Soft skills are personality traits, personal habits, and interpersonal skills that impact a person’s ability to do a job. And they’re what can get you hired.

A 2014 survey by the Hay Group found that 85 percent of business leaders believe technical skills are the base level for job candidates, and soft skills are what determine who receives a job offer.

But how do you prove that you have skills like being detail-oriented, a good listener, or creative when applying for a job? Here are four soft skills employers are looking for and how to highlight them during the interview process:

Having integrity

In a survey from Bentley University, 84 percent of business leaders and 78 percent of corporate recruiters said integrity was “very important” to success in the workplace. Business leaders and recruiters valued integrity so much it was the top ranking skill in the survey, higher even than industry and job specific skills.

The best way to show employers that you are trustworthy is to be completely honest throughout the application process. Even employers who just glance at resumes catch lies. In a 2015 CareerBuilder survey, one in two employers said they’d seen a lie on a resume before.

Accurately represent your skills and experience level on everything from your cover letter to your social media profiles. Check for inconsistencies in job titles, duties, and dates. Even if they’re accidental, these oversights can send up red flags for employers, making them wonder if you’re telling the truth.

Possessing strong work ethic

The benefits of hiring an employee with a strong work ethic are pretty obvious. However, it’s difficult to assess how motivated a job candidate is to work hard until seeing them in action.

To show employers how strong your work ethic is, approach the application process like you would a job. For example, when it comes to the interview, know what employers expect from a candidate and exceed those expectations. Thoroughly research the company, know why you’d be a good fit, and provide past examples of your work.

Going above and beyond during the interview process will show employers how seriously you take your career and how hard you’re willing to work.

Being a team player

A 2014 CareerBuilder survey revealed that 60 percent of employers are looking for team-oriented candidates when hiring. However, given the number of soft skills that play into working well with others, telling employers you’re a “team player” is a little vague.

Ask your former co-workers to write letters of recommendation that describe what it was like to work with you and the strengths you brought to the team. This gives employers examples of your teamwork skills from people with first hand experience working with you.

Having a positive attitude

A positive attitude can not be underestimated in the workplace. It helps create a productive, less stressful environment and makes people easier to work with. Of course this doesn’t mean forcing yourself to smile through your entire job interview; it’s more about how you communicate.

Think carefully about the words you choose and the connotations that go along with them. For example, saying “I look forward to being able to further use my marketing skills” sounds more positive than “I want to use my marketing skills”.

Also, be aware of your body language and how it can be interpreted by employers. Sitting up straight and nodding when they talk shows them you are excited about what they are saying, while leaning back or crossing your arms says you are disinterested or even bored.

What other soft skills are important and how can you show employers that you have them? Share in the comments below!


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Val Matta
Val Matta
Val Matta is the co-owner and leader of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution for companies, outplacement firms, job seekers and university career centers. You can connect with her and the CareerShift team on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, LinkedIn.