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Jobs & Careers

10 essential skills employers look for

A survey found that four in five jobseekers may be missing out on their desired roles due to a lack of soft skills on their CVs. Read on to find out what you need to include on yours.

building with two resumes

Over half of job vacancies specify soft skills as being absolutely crucial to the job role. But most job seekers are forgetting to mention these vital attributes on their applications.

In a time when so much pressure is placed on young people to get top grades and lots of work experience, there's a danger that less importance is placed on soft skills (interpersonal skills that are common to various jobs and industries).

However, these skills are becoming increasingly more desirable as they are the most difficult attributes to replicate using AI and robots.

This 'soft skills gap' was discovered by job search engine Adzuna, which conducted a study analysing over one million job adverts and 50,000 CVs to compare the skills sought by employers with those listed on candidate CVs.

And fortunately, rather than just keeping the details to themselves, they've revealed the skills that employers look for, as well as what we decide to include on our CVs.

This study was done in 2018, but the skills listed below will undoubtedly continue to impress your future employer.

Which skills do employers look for?

Here are the top skills employers look for when hiring:

  1. Management – 53.0%
  2. Responsibility – 41.3%
  3. Training – 34.8%
  4. Communication – 34.0%
  5. Planning – 24.4%
  6. Organisation – 22.6%
  7. Flexibility – 20.4%
  8. Competitive – 18.3%
  9. Motivated – 15.4%
  10. Friendly – 14.6%.

Most common skills listed on CVs

Here are the 10 most common work skills included on CVs:

  1. Time management – 21.0%
  2. Communication – 17.2%
  3. Coaching – 15.7%
  4. Planning – 14.9%
  5. Problem-solving – 14.7%
  6. Scheduling – 12.0%
  7. Confident – 11.4%
  8. Team player – 10.1%
  9. Motivated – 9.9%
  10. Research – 9.1%.

Shockingly, only one in five CVs feature common soft skills. That's 80% of jobseekers potentially missing out on roles having failed to show the employer that they're suitable for the positions.

Although listing past work experience and impressive qualifications will be useful on your job application, you also need to prove to future employers that you as a person will be a valuable asset, and will work well with other employees.

Despite this, the percentage of CVs mentioning soft skills is far lower than the percentage of job vacancies asking for them.

It's unclear why so few people mentioned these key skills. If you've not got many on your CV, remember that so many situations can demonstrate your strength in so many different skills.

For example, you might think you haven't had any experience training others because you've never explicitly been asked to teach someone. But that doesn't mean you haven't done it.

Have you ever had a part-time job where you've taught a new worker what to do? Have you ever helped someone with uni or school work? Have you ever volunteered at a school or children's group? Well, guess what? You've got experience training people!

There are lots of soft skills you use in university, freelance work or even in hobbies. Just have a think about what else you could be adding to your CV – and have a look at the skills employers are looking for to get some inspiration.

Can't wait to start earning the big bucks? Find out what the average salary for graduates of your degree is.


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