Top 10 Soft Skills for Job Hunters

People skills and relationship-building are key to success

soft skills

Each company looks for a different mix of skills and experience depending on the business it's in. Yet it's no longer enough to be a functional expert. To complement these unique core competencies, there are certain "soft skills" every company looks for in a potential hire.

"Soft skills" refer to a cluster of personal qualities, habits, attitudes and social graces that make someone a good employee and compatible to work with. Companies value soft skills because research suggests and experience shows that they can be just as important an indicator of job performance as hard skills.

Today's service economy and the ascendance of work teams in large organizations puts a new premium on people skills and relationship-building," Portland-based human resources expert Lori Kocon says. "And with business being done at an increasingly fast pace, employers also want people who are agile, adaptable and creative at solving problems."

Kocon advises all job candidates -- especially those who aspire to managerial positions -- to get in touch with their soft sides. Some of the most common soft skills employers are looking for and will be assessing you on include:

1. Strong Work Ethic

Are you motivated and dedicated to getting the job done, no matter what? Will you be conscientious and do your best work?

-- Check out: Strong Work Ethic Path to Success [Quote Cards]

2. Positive Attitude

Are you optimistic and upbeat? Will you generate good energy and good will?

-- Positivity is Contagious: Pass It Around! [Quote Cards]

-- Check out: How I Learned: Positive Attitude Makes the Difference

3. Good Communication Skills

Are you both verbally articulate and a good listener? Can you make your case and express your needs in a way that builds bridges with colleagues, customers and vendors?

-- Good Communication: Pass It Around [Quote Cards]

-- Check out: How I Learned: Why Communication Skills Are Critical At Work

4. Time Management Abilities

Do you know how to prioritize tasks and work on a number of different projects at once? Will you use your time on the job wisely?

-- Practice Time Management [Quote Cards]

-- Check out: How I Learned: Time Management Is a Life-Changer; Make More Time and Money

5. Problem-Solving Skills

Are you resourceful and able to creatively solve problems that will inevitably arise? Will you take ownership of problems or leave them for someone else?

-- Thoughts on Critical Thinking [Quote Cards]

-- Check out: How I Learned: The Surprising Danger of Making Assumptions

6. Acting as a Team Player

Will you work well in groups and teams? Will you be cooperative and take a leadership role when appropriate?

-- Don't Be Selfish: Pass on the Team Spirit [Quote Cards]

-- Check out: How I Learned: The Power of Teamwork

7. Self-Confidence

Do you truly believe you can do the job? Will you project a sense of calm and inspire confidence in others? Will you have the courage to ask questions that need to be asked and to freely contribute your ideas?

-- Self-Confidence Pick-Me-Ups [Quote Cards]

-- Check out: How I Learned: 4 Tips to Improve Your Self-Confidence

8. Ability to Accept and Learn From Criticism

Will you be able to handle criticism? Are you coachable and open to learning and growing as a person and as a professional?

-- The Art of Receiving Criticism [Quote Cards]

-- Check out: How I Learned: Everyone's a Critic, So Don't Take It Personally

9. Flexibility/Adaptability

Are you able to adapt to new situations and challenges? Will you embrace change and be open to new ideas?

-- Flex Your Mind: Be More Adaptable [Quote Cards]

-- Check out: How I Learned: Be Flexible, Adapt or Die

10. Working Well Under Pressure

Can you handle the stress that accompanies deadlines and crises? Will you be able to do your best work and come through in a pinch?

-- Check out: Desk Rage: Completely Losing It at Work

When job-hunting, Kocon advises that you focus on the skills most likely to interest the prospective employer and learn to demonstrate these skills through your resume, in an interview or in dealing with potential employers at career fairs or industry association gatherings.

For example, tell a story of how you successfully handled a crisis or challenge at your company. Mention honors you received or even bring along letters of thanks or commendation from an employer or customer.

Remember, whether you are applying for a service position or a technical job, it's your combination of core and soft skills that will set you apart from the crowd!


Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:
Fatima Kenly

this is probably somewhere where people know what they are

December 11 2014 at 1:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kira Talent

"Hi Kate, I completely agree with your opinion. Thanks for sharing these great tips. Here is another excellent blog post on softskills, I hope you will like it. Looking forward to reading more from you.

David Singh

April 30 2013 at 12:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Kira Talent's comment

this is a stupid comment

May 05 2014 at 9:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sarah Jean Valley

Awesome and I agree very informative article

June 19 2012 at 2:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Sarah Jean Valley's comment

meeet me in the bed

May 05 2014 at 9:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Very informative article. Thanks!

July 30 2011 at 12:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sam Lowrey

In other words, be a loyal plastic robot, so that others above you may indulge themselves at your expense.

Or in other, other words, business as usual for a necrotizing culture.

January 05 2011 at 3:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You may visit my blog to know more about soft skills.

Prof.M.S.Rao, India,
Corporate Trainer in Leadership Development and Soft Skills

March 25 2009 at 5:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Prof.M.S.Rao's comment

I will check it out

October 11 2010 at 11:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

hey hott stuff

May 05 2014 at 9:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Best option? Work for yourself. Enjoy what you do. Meet great people doing the same thing. Travel cheap! Help others do the same and have a thriving business! Be determined that this year will be different than last year!

February 04 2009 at 3:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Danita's comment

Whether you're looking for your very first job, switching careers, or re-entering the job market after an extended absence, finding a job whittles down to two main tasks: understanding yourself and understanding the job market. Anyone can get a job, finding the right job is the difficult part. I can help you find the right job for you!

I am here to provide you with the basic time saving device that all employer value. Most employers want time saving measures that will get the right employee and save themselves TIME. You ASK , well where do I fit in to help you turn your employment search around. Well I am glad you ask about this guy who is delivering this bold MESSAGE.

My name is Richard Steps, I am a thriving entrepreneur and a past employment recruiter for the past four years. I understand the job market in this turbulent economic crisis. I have spoken with my Hiring Managers, while filling numerous job orders. The one resounding problem for them is TIME. I will show you how quickly you can position yourself to have Hiring Managers calling you. I am making this offer to you for No Cost.
I ask you to simple email me your contact information to:


Richard Steps


May 03 2009 at 11:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree with you. It is harder to make it in the state of California if you don't hve more than one job or a successful owned business.

October 11 2010 at 10:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Search Articles

Picks From the Web