9 Soft Skills Employers Really Want You to Have

There’s only so much space on a resume, and if you’re a technologist applying for a position, it’s tempting to leave off your “soft skills” in favor of technical ones. After all, employers want to know you can do the work, right? They must be more interested in your proficiency with tools and platforms than your ability to talk to people.

However, a new study by ZipRecruiter suggests 93 percent of employers think soft skills play a “critical” role in the hiring decision. Among employers, the top skills included:

  • Communication
  • Customer service
  • Scheduling
  • Time management
  • Project management
  • Analytical thinking
  • Compliance
  • Independent work
  • Interpersonal skills

Those findings align with other studies. For example, Emsi Burning Glass, which regularly collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country, usually finds that communication, scheduling, teamwork, and problem solving (which includes analytical thinking and project management) pop up often in postings for various technology jobs.

Concerned about your soft skills? With some practice, you can refine and master core skills such as communication and teamwork. Here are some basic tips to keep in mind:

  • Carve out time to listen to your colleagues and team members. Their concerns are valid. 
  • If your company offers soft skills evaluation and training (and many do), make sure you take it. 
  • Keep your feedback polite and constructive, no matter the circumstances.  
  • Don’t just give feedback. Encourage your colleagues and manager to share how you’re doing as often as possible.  
  • Rely on your mentor and any informal advisors to help you with your people skills. 
  • If you’re given the opportunity to shape your performance goals and evaluation, ask that your soft skills be evaluated on a regular basis. Your manager will approve of your proactiveness (and your company may have such criteria in place already). 

Your manager and/or mentor can prove a huge help in this arena. If you want to improve your time management and interpersonal skills, for instance, ask them for tips and whether they can help monitor your progress. And when you get to the job interview stage, take care to come prepared with stories that illustrate how you’ve used your soft skills to solve crucial challenges, move teams forward, and help your past organizations achieve their goals.

3 Responses to “9 Soft Skills Employers Really Want You to Have”

  1. Syed Hussamuddin Hussaini

    I want job in America help me to find I have completed 3 years civil engineering diploma and I have also completed 12th commerce and I have also done HSE (Health safety Environment) engineering 1 year diploma.

    • Donna Holcombe

      I applaud your ambitions. If this is a sample of your normal written English, not just a bad example of phone typing, your should work on your English. Having read a few thousand resumes to screen for contract mechanical engineers, I would discard yours for not even having the sense to get an English literate proof reader. Also, I have no idea what 12th commerce is. A typical University Civil Engineering degree in the US is 4 years.

      You are also going to need to find a connection to the US, Canada or Mexico. I have no idea how to do that in the current environment. If you can find people where you are who are connected the Americas, that would help (Networking). Do you have a local Civil Engineering Society that you could join to meet people? Or an alumni group from your school? To get an H1B visa you need to be sponsored by an employer. There are listings for this on Indeed.com and so on. If you don’t have practical working experience first contracting can be very hard.

      The US is not always the golden experience foreigners expect. You could probably make as much or more doing Civil Engineering in Asia or Africa to get experience.
      Dice is no longer a great place for Civil or Mechanical Engineers who are not working in Software. It was 20+ years ago, but no longer.

  2. Lawrence Weinzimer

    Approachability, civility, personability, flexibility, transparency, along with excercising your ability, and even in knowing your foibles / limitations, prevail as the universal intangible within the framework of corporate life. A dose of healthy humor often helps communion of in-house factor. No matter what, you have to solidly assume those core values of the organization you’re with.