When applying for a job, there are many ways to optimize your resume. You can check the listing to see where the employer’s priorities lie in terms of experience, and make sure to highlight what’s most important to them, for example. You can include any major achievements like exceeding sales goals. And you can include a link to your LinkedIn profile.
One group of skills career experts say is crucial to include is your soft skills. An overwhelming majority ― 93% of employers ― say “soft skills play a critical role in their decision about whom they want to hire,” Ian Siegel, co-founder and CEO of ZipRecruiter, said in the company’s recent report The Job Market Outlook for Grads.
Soft skills include a wide array of abilities. “I would say, in general, communication is very high on that list right now considering how people are working in very different situations, hybrid situations,” says Kristin Kelley, chief marketing officer at CareerBuilder, as an example.
ZipRecruiter compiled some of the most in-demand soft skills on its platform. Here are the top skills on that list, including the number of jobs on the site listing the skill as a requirement.
Number of jobs listing the skill: 6.1 million
Number of jobs listing the skill: 5.5 million
Number of jobs listing the skill: 5 million
Number of jobs listing the skill: 3.6 million
Number of jobs listing the skill: 2.8 million
Number of jobs listing the skill: 2.7 million
Ability to work independently
Number of jobs listing the skill: 2 million
Number of jobs listing the skill: 1.3 million
When it comes to the importance of communication, in part, as Kelley says, that’s a result of the new remote and hybrid work arrangements that rely heavily on tech. “How you respond to someone who sent you an email” matters, she says as an example. “Formally respond to them in 24 hours.”
The importance of communication is also a result of various companies’ recent diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.
“To be a diverse and inclusive employer,” says Georgene Huang, co-founder and CEO of Fairygodboss, “you have to work with all different kinds of people, which means you have to be able to communicate effectively with all different kinds of people.”
When it comes to scheduling and time management, “no matter what kind of role you have, if you can’t organize your time,” you can’t be effective, she says.
Finally, when it comes to flexibility, “people really have to be able to turn left, turn right on a dime, join the Zoom, be able to manage their own instant messages coming in,” says Kelley. There’s an element of ease with multitasking and being able to switch what you’re doing at a moment’s notice that has heightened since the pandemic and as so many people continue to work from home.
Include your soft skills by giving concrete examples of how you’ve used them either in your resume intro or the bullets under your job descriptions.