The 14 soft skills recruiters want most

So you’ve got the hard skills, but what about the soft skills? If you’re applying for a job in IT, for example, a hard skill like computer programming is important, but do you also have a soft skill like critical thinking? Without critical thinking skills, you may not do so well in the job. This is why employers look for soft skills in their job candidates. If you have a strong set of soft skills to complement your hard skills, you can increase your chances of getting a job and succeeding in your chosen career.

What are soft skills?

Soft skills are the intangible and non-technical abilities that recruiters look for in job candidates. They’re sometimes known as transferable or professional skills as they have less to do with specific vocations and more to do with a candidate’s general disposition and personality. In this case, it’s important to consider what soft skills you have and how you can show evidence of them in your job application.

Soft skills include communication, empathy, critical thinking, adaptability, teamwork, time management, problem-solving, and leadership. They can help you build relationships, gain visibility, advance a project, or get a promotion.

How are soft skills applicable in business?

Here are the key soft skills you need and how they apply in the workplace:

1. Empathy

You’re able to feel what another person is experiencing and understand what they’re thinking even if their viewpoint or background is different to yours. This allows you to connect with your colleagues on a deeper level and get along better with them.

2. Self-awareness

When you have a better understanding of yourself, you’re able to see yourself as a separate individual. You’re then empowered to make changes, build on your areas of strength, and identify areas where you’d like to make improvements. This can help make you a better worker all around.

3. Self-motivation

You have the initiative and the strength to finish a task without giving up or needing another person to encourage or supervise you. This shows that you’re reliable, committed, and can fit into an organisational structure without constant supervision.

4. Critical thinking

You’re able to analyse information, whether it’s data or behaviour at work, and identify emerging patterns. Being a critical thinker means you can bring a fresh perspective and provide solutions and ideas that can help the company improve internal processes or gain a competitive advantage.

5. Creative thinking

You can find ways to solve problems with limited resources. For example, if you work as a chef and need to make a dish that requires 10 ingredients but only seven of them are on hand, you’ll find a way to use the available ingredients to make a delicious dish. This shows you can be resourceful with what you’ve got.

6. Adaptability

You’re able to adapt quickly to changes within the company or industry. For example, if you need to use new technology in your workplace and you can adapt to it, this shows you’re capable of meeting new challenges.

7. Communication

You can change the way you speak depending on your audience, understand and act on instructions, explain complex problems to colleagues and clients, delegate tasks clearly and effectively, write clear emails and instructions, and listen well to others. If you’re good at written and verbal communication, you can build positive relationships with your colleagues, boost your productivity, and even become a great leader.

8. Teamwork

You can work in a team, which means you’re able to lead and listen to others. You’re also perceptive and receptive to the needs and responsibilities of others. Being able to collaborate with your colleagues can help build a friendly office culture, improve the quality of your work, and bring success to the company.

9. Decisiveness

You’re able to put things into perspective, weigh your options, assess all relevant information, and anticipate both the positive and negative consequences of a decision. Being decisive is crucial in business as it means that you have the ability to make key decisions effectively.

10. Time management

You can manage your time well by prioritising tasks and organising your diary, while adopting an attitude that allows you to take on new tasks and deadlines. Being able to work under pressure and within tight deadlines is important in a fast-paced business.

11. Flexibility

You’re able and willing to acquire new hard skills and take on new tasks and challenges. For example, some organisations transfer their employees to another organisation for a temporary period to provide training or share their experience, so it’s good if you can demonstrate flexibility.

12. Problem solving

You can approach a problem with a cool and level head and reach a solution efficiently. Being able to think on your feet and take action when something goes wrong makes you indispensable to employers as you can help them navigate unexpected challenges.

13. Conflict resolution

You have strong interpersonal skills and are able to establish a rapport with colleagues and clients, allowing you to resolve conflicts. Being able to resolve problems with your colleagues and clients can help you maintain positive relationships and work more effectively. It’s also a sign of maturity and leadership potential, which is what employers often look for.

14. Leadership

You can manage people and help them reach their full potential, have confidence and a clear vision, are able to communicate effectively, have a positive attitude and outlook, and can motivate yourself and others. These qualities can help you get others to do what you want, gain visibility within your organisation, and even take over the company one day.

The importance of micro-credentials and soft skills to employers

Micro-credentials are important to employers because they allow them to recognise and validate the existing soft skills that employees have with no learning. Micro-credentials also offer employees the opportunity to learn new soft skills with on-the-job, informal learning.

Likewise, soft skills are important to employers because they offer a range of benefits for the organisation, such as:

Ready to improve your soft skills?

Now that you know what soft skills recruiters want most and why they’re important, it’s time to strengthen your soft skills. You can do this by undertaking professional development, networking, or taking on new tasks. Strong soft skills can set you apart from the competition and help you get ahead in the workplace.

To find out more about how our micro-credentials can enhance your skills, contact us for a discussion today.