Most Employers Want to Know About Your Soft Skills — What Are They and How Can You Add Them to Your Resume?

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If you’ve spent any time over the past few years searching job leads on employment-related sites like ZipRecruiter, Indeed and LinkedIn, you’ll have noticed a distinct shift in hiring requirements across every job industry.

Once thought of as resume filler, the so-called “soft skills” — personality traits and non-technical skills — are now sought by employers looking at the total package of a potential hire.

As The Balance Careers notes, soft skills indicate how you work. They can include interpersonal and listening skills, time management, compassion and coworker rapport. Soft skills are highly valued because they are significant in almost every job, but not every potential candidate may possess them to the level desired by some employers.  

With record numbers of employees quitting their jobs during and after the pandemic as part of “The Great Resignation,” there is a greater emphasis on character and communication among hiring managers.

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Although hard skills or technical abilities are still the most important criteria in the hiring process, both hard and soft skills are important in 2022. According to Ian Siegel, co-founder and CEO of ZipRecruiter, employers are currently looking for a different set of interpersonal skills that highlight how you work and relate to others.

“Ninety-three percent of employers say soft skills play a critical role in their decision about whom they want to hire,” says Siegel in ZipRecruiter’s “The Job Market Outlook for Grads” report. “Those soft skills include things like showing up on time, willingness to learn, enthusiasm, and a can-do attitude. When you don’t have work experience to sell, remember that you can still sell yourself.”

According to ZipRecruiter, the following five soft skills are most in-demand for jobs posted on its site as of May 1, 2022 (given the estimated number of jobs the skill is mentioned as a requirement):

  • Communication skills: 6.1 million.
  • Customer service: 5.5 million.
  • Scheduling: 5.0 million.
  • Time management skills: 3.6 million.
  • Project management: 2.8 million.

As Indeed reports, other in-demand soft skills include problem-solving, self-direction and flexibility.

Of course, employers don’t only want to know that you possess must-have soft skills, they want to know how they can be applied to the job position in question — and how you have acquired said soft skills over time.

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Hard skills are easy to describe — you either possess a technical skill gained through experience, education or natural talent or you don’t. As ZipRecruiter explains, soft skills need to be backed up with specific examples, usually via exploratory interview questions.

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As the workplace landscape and recruitment methods change, it is important to rethink the concept of soft skills, which ones you best possess and how they can be used to better sell yourself to a potential company. As MSN states, you should include concrete examples of soft skills in your cover letter or on your resume within your job descriptions. It is also possible to include a bullet-point list of your soft skills as their own discrete category, usually following a listing of your technical or professional capabilities.

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About the Author

David Nadelle is a freelance editor and writer based in Ottawa, Canada. After working in the energy industry for 18 years, he decided to change careers in 2016 and concentrate full-time on all aspects of writing. He recently completed a technical communication diploma and holds previous university degrees in journalism, sociology and criminology. David has covered a wide variety of financial and lifestyle topics for numerous publications and has experience copywriting for the retail industry.
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