The Soft Skills You Need to Succeed in 2018
It’s natural to want to show off your impressive hard skills when you are looking for a new job. But to succeed in today’s job market, jobseekers have to include an equal balance of hard skills and soft skills on their resumes.
New research suggests that even those jobseekers who are adding soft skills to their resumes may not be choosing the right ones. In fact, in LiveCareer’s recently released 2018 Skills Gap Report, indicators point to a major disconnect between the soft skills that employers seek and those that jobseekers list on their resume.
To understand the skills employers want and, conversely, what skills jobseekers offer and include on their resumes, the study took a “big data” approach to analyzing thousands of resumes and job ads across 12 different occupations. The question the study sought to answer is this one: is the skills gap is real, or are jobseekers just underreporting their skill sets in resumes?
The study found that jobseekers’ resumes only matched 62 percent of the soft skills listed in job ads. One of the most striking insights the report uncovered is that jobseekers are listing far too few soft skills on their resumes, overall. It also found that three soft skills – customer service (13 percent of total top 20 skills occurrences), communication (8.9 percent), and written communication (8.3 percent) – account for 30 percent of the most frequently mentioned skills in job ads.
So, how can jobseekers more effectively communicate their soft skills to employers to succeed in 2018? Here are five tips…
How to Get Hired With Soft Skills
- Mention customer service and written and verbal communication skills in your resume, if you possess these. These soft skills greatly appeal to employers, and can play a big part in helping you land the job you want a lot faster.
- Study the job ad. Which other soft skills is the employer seeking? Make a list of all the required skills listed in the job ad and separate out the soft skills, those intangible abilities such as conflict resolution or collaboration. Study the list and determine which of these skills you possess; add those to your resume.
- Use the job ad to bolster your skill set. Piggybacking off the point above—for the skills you come across in a job ad that you don’t possess, consider mapping out a plan to acquire the ones that are most relevant to your particular industry (i.e., the ones you repeatedly see cropping up in job ads). Doing so will strengthen your position in the job marketplace.
- Take care to echo the exact language of the job post. This will help your resume get past an applicant tracking system (ATS), which is a standard initial screening process for recruiters. An ATS is looking for keywords in resumes to determine which candidates are a solid fit. So, if the job ad lists “verbal communication skills” as a requirement, don’t write “oral communication skills” on your resume. ATSs can’t interpret nuance, which means that the language has to be a match for you to be considered a match for the job.
- Create a skills section on your resume. Creating a skills section on your resume is a great way to add soft skills to your resume. Each of your listings under “Work Experience” presumably will be ripe with hard skills you utilized in each role. A skills section allows you more flexibility to mention general soft skills that you possess, such as a sense of humor, honesty, or dependability, traits that might be more difficult to fit into your work section.
An additional eye-opening finding uncovered in the study is the overall mismatch in skills requirements (both soft skills and hard skills) listed in job ads compared to those in applicant resumes. Job ads contain an average of 21.8 skills, while applicant resumes contain an average of only 13 skills. All this points to one thing—jobseekers must improve their resume writing abilities in 2018, and do a far better job of aligning their resume skills to the skills specifications laid out in job ads by prospective employers.
Additional takeaways for resume writers—as well as a downloadable version of the full report—are available via the 2018 Skills Gap Report here.
About this guest author:
Since 2005, LiveCareer’s team of career coaches, certified resume writers, and savvy technologists have been developing career tools that have helped over 10 million users build stronger resumes, write persuasive cover letters, and develop better interview skills. Land the job you want faster using our free resume examples and templates, writing guides, and easy-to-use resume builder.