10 Key Soft Skills Employers Look For In 2022

Soft skills are vital skills required in every workplace and candidates with strong soft skills are in high demand for numerous job roles.

The question that may come to your mind is – What are soft skills, and why are they so important in the workplace?

Briefly, soft skills are the interpersonal attributes you have that you need to succeed in the workplace.  The term soft skills can be referred to as “people skills, transferrable skills, or interpersonal skills”, they are how you work well and relate to others in the workplace.

What Are Soft Skills?

In addition to the brief definition of soft skills above, soft skills are the skills that make you work well in a workplace. These include your attitude, personality, flexibility, motivation, and manners.

Soft skills are so crucial that employers use them as a yardstick to determine whether to promote an employee or not.

Apart from soft skills, you have hard skills otherwise referred to as technical skills which are directly relevant to the role you are applying for or working on. But unlike soft skills, hard skills are quantifiable and much easier to learn than soft skills.

Soft Skills Vs Hard Skills

As a professional, it is important that you know the difference between soft skills and hard skills, both of which are crucial and required by employers across every industry out there.

Unlike soft skills which have to do with your personality and non-technical abilities, hard skills are the skills that you learn through formal education or from training programs.

These skills can be developed in institutions like the university, colleges, online courses, IT centres, on-the-job training or other training environments.

Hard skills comprise specific knowledge, expertise and abilities required to do a particular role successfully.  For example, a programmer requires hard skills like coding (either in a specific coding language or a variety of programming languages depending on the job requirements).

Other examples like accounting roles will require you to have strong accounting skills, while doctors need the technical skills to be able to accurately diagnose medical conditions.

A graphic designer may require to know how to use specific design software like Abode Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, etc., while a digital marketer needs to know to use online advertising tools like Meta Ads, Google Adwords, and Search Engine Optimization.

Additionally, hard skills are fairly easy to evaluate or measure, unlike soft skills. For instance, during an interview, an employer or the hiring manager may request a demonstration of hard skills like coding, writing, etc., depending on the role.

However, soft skills are not formally taught in any institution or within a class. They require a certain degree of emotional intelligence but can still be developed or improved.

Basically, soft skills can be nurtured by observing and paying close attention to others, proactive personal development, and self-reflection.

Importance of Soft Skills

Soft skills are what set the standards between adequate candidates and ideal candidates. It is what employers use to evaluate the overall competence of employees.

In today’s competitive job market, hiring criteria are not only limited to specialized knowledge or technical ability.

Every position in the workplace requires some sort of interaction with others, whether intra-communication between colleagues or inter-communication between workers and clients, so soft skills are what make it possible for seamless communication in the workplace.

Starting from the entry-level position in your career, recruiters will check if you have the potential to become a leader someday in the company.

They don’t expect you to possess all the experiences and qualifications from the onset, rather they will like to know that you possess the qualities that will make you learn and grow in the role.

Here are some vital examples where soft skills make the difference.

  • A doctor needs to have hard skills such as the ability to diagnose and describe treatments for a variety of illnesses. But he or she also needs soft skills like trustworthiness, emotional intelligence, and approachability to be highly regarded and respected by their patients.
  • A customer service professional or receptions with amazing organizational skills and knowledge of scheduling tools will only do well in their role if they are able to interact professionally with customers and have listening skills and empathy.
  • A salesperson who has tons of experience and knowledge of their role will find it very difficult to secure a business deal and retain their clients if they lack soft skills like good communication and negotiation skills.

Soft skills are not only particularly important when dealing with external customers or clients. They are also vital when it comes to interacting and working with colleagues in the workplace.

Hiring managers or employers admire soft skills because they make their candidates function and thrive in groups or teams and in the organization as a whole.

A proactive and productive work environment majorly depends on soft skills. This as a result is due to the fact that the workplace is an interpersonal space where relationships are built and nurtured, and perspectives exchanged.

Read Also – Top 10 High Income Skills To Learn In 2022

10 Key Skills Employers Look For

Curious to know the key skills employers look for in every candidate? The below list highlights the 10 key skills employers look for and what you need to know about these skills.

1.  Communication

Communication skills are the most talked-about soft skills which are highly required in virtually all positions in the workplace.

As a professional, you will likely communicate with clients, customers, and workers on the job.  You will also need to be able to speak politely and clearly with individuals in person, in writing, or by phone.

Also, you will likely need to be a good listener. Employers look for employees who not only communicate their thought and idea but who also listen empathically to what others have to say.

Equally as vital as listening skills are your verbal and non-verbal skills.

Verbal skills are good examples of communication skills which are key to nurturing relationships that are collaborative and productive.  The also includes writing skills.

Examples of communication skills include Listening, Negotiation, Persuasion. Presentation, Public speaking, storytelling, and Writing skills.

2.  Leadership

While not every position in the workplace is a leadership role, most employers or hiring managers want to know if you can make decisions when there is immense pressure in the workplace, and that you can manage situations and people.

Therefore, leadership is a soft skill you can exhibit even if you’re not directly managing other workers in an organization.

Employers look for potential employees with strong leadership skills because they have the ability to inspire other workers and lead teams to success.

Additionally, people with strong leadership skills possess a range of skills that are vital in the workplace, including;

  • Strong positive attitude and outlook
  • Exemplary problem-solving or conflict management skills in the workplace
  • Effective communication skills
  • The ability to make quick, decisive, and effective decisions
  • An aptitude for motivating others as well as self-motivation.

Even as a beginner starting in an entry-level position, don’t hesitate to demonstrate your potential by showcasing how you have positively influenced others in school, volunteer work, internships, or past work to take actions that lead to success.

Examples of relevant leaderships skills include Conflict management, Conflict resolution, Decision making, Delegation, Inspiring people, Management, Mentoring, Supervising

Read Also – Top 10 Skills Graduates Need To Get a Job Fast

3.  Teamwork

Like leadership skills, good teamwork skills involve a combination of a variety of soft skills.

If you are working in a team towards a particular goal, you need to have the intuition and interpersonal acumen to know when to act as a leader or when to be a good listener. This is can be achieved with the help of good teamwork skills.

Great team players are perceptive and receptive to the needs and roles of others in the workplace. They act in such a way that the team stays strong even at tough times.

Examples of relevant teamwork skills include Attentiveness, Business ethics, Competitiveness, Dedication, Following direction, Meeting deadlines, Multitasking, Persistence, Planning, Reliability, Resilience, Results-oriented, Trainability

4.  Self-Motivation

Self-motivation involves having a positive attitude and the initiative to work perfectly without constant supervision is a key soft skill that is needed in every employee.

In addition, it not only demonstrates your reliability and commitment, but it shows that you can work effectively in the organization without the need for constant supervision.

Examples of relevant self-motivation skills include Positivity, Ambition, Commitment, Initiative

5.  Responsibility

Responsibility is among the high in-demand soft skills looked for in employees by employers.

Individuals who fail to take responsibility in their workplace will be less successful and less productive in their workplace.

As a professional, taking responsibility means taking ownership of not only your goals but the main goals of the company. This insinuates taking the initiative to make improvements accepting responsibility for every mistake and failure that follows, and most importantly, caring about working your way up to success.

Examples of relevant responsibility skills include Accountability, Trustworthiness, Discipline, Conscientiousness, Resilience, Adaptability

Check Out – How to Succeed in a New Job – 7 Easy Steps

6.  Decisiveness

Decisiveness is the ability to make swift and effective decisions that can bring about positive outcomes in the workplace. It does not involve impulsiveness or reckless decisions.

Decisiveness combines involves a variety of different abilities, including:

  • The ability to arrange things into perspective
  • Weigh up various options
  • Assess various relevant information
  • Anticipate any consequences, be it good and bad

A decisive professional will take swift and effective actions, especially when under pressure.

They take full responsibility for the consequences of their decision and can adapt when mistakes or issues arise.

7.  Problem Solving

Problem-solving skills are vital soft skills required in every organization. It does not only require creative, analytical, and critical skills but a particular positive mindset; individuals that approach problems with a cool and level head are most likely to reach a solution more efficiently than those that cannot.

Additionally, problem-solving skills rely heavily on strong teamwork to be effective, meaning problems need not always be solved alone.

However, the ability to decipher those that can help you reach the desired solution, and how they can do it, can be a great advantage for problem-solving in the workplace.

8.  Flexibility

Flexibility demonstrates the ability and willingness to quickly embrace new tasks and new challenges without fuss.

Employees that possess the skills of flexibility are always willing and open to help the company out when needed. They are also up to take on extra responsibilities and can adapt swiftly when there is a change in plans.

Every employer out there is constantly in search of individuals that can show a willing and resilient attitude, and are unmoved by changes in the company or plans.

9.  Work Ethic

Work ethics are what keep a professional up and going in his or her career. Employers look for individuals with strong work ethics. Such people are always punctual to work, deliver their tasks timely, and are always focused and organised.

Although individuals that possess strong work ethics can work quite independently, they are good followers of instructions too.

Examples of relevant work ethic soft skills include Attentiveness, Dedication, Perseverance, Persistence, Planning, Proper business etiquette, Punctuality, Reliability, Resilience, Results-oriented

Read Also – Top 10 High-Paying Careers for Women

10.  Critical Thinking

Lastly, no matter the type of job you do, employers want candidates who can critically analyse situations and make informed decisions.

Whether you are a data analyst, teacher, doctor, or even carpenter or plumber, you need to be able to understand various problems that may arise, think critically, and devise plans that yield results.

Soft skills related to critical thinking include flexibility, creativity and curiosity.

Final Thoughts

Soft skills are vital skills that you need to develop to stand up in your workplace. They help you overcome the many challenges that come up during the course of your career.

Additionally, the above mentioned key soft skills that employers look for in this article can help you in acquiring that promotion you longed wish for.

So, don’t hesitate to step up and be an outstanding worker in your workplace by developing yourself and possessing these key soft skills employers look for.

There you have it on this guide on the key skills employers look for.

I hope you found this article helpful?

Which of the soft skills highlighted above do you currently possess? Skills #3, #6, or #1?

Either way, feel free to share your thoughts with us via the comment section below.