Soft skills are always key when applying for jobs. Recruiters and hiring managers are interested in your technical skills, but they also want to know how well you’ll communicate and empathize with your managers and colleagues.
But which soft skills interest potential employers the most? For an answer, we can turn to Emsi Burning Glass, which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country. Based on their data from the past 90 days, these are the soft skills in intense demand:
It’s understandable that communication and teamwork skills would top the list; projects simply can’t get done unless you can share information and work effectively with others. In fact, various modes of communication and relationship-management pop up again and again on the list.
Searching for a new job? While it’s always crucial to list your most up-to-date technical skills, it’s just as important to include soft skills on your résumé. If you utilized your communication and management abilities to complete a particularly thorny project, for example, you should mention it in your Experience section. Depending on your available space, you might even consider a separate “soft skills” section on your résumé, especially if you’re applying for a manager or team leader position.
Likewise, during a job interview, you should always come prepared with examples of how you’ve used your soft skills to achieve notable things in your previous positions and projects. If you feel that your soft skills are lacking, and you’d like to improve, here are some handy tips:
- Always 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).
Soft skills are just as critical for freelance technologists. In 2020, some 78 percent of freelancers told an UpWork survey that “soft skills are at least equally as important as technical skills to succeed in their work.” Communication and collaboration are vital for securing new work and successfully navigating projects with difficult clients.