The Top Ten Soft Skills Employers Look For


Concept Admin


January 8, 2022

As a jobseeker, you’ve probably heard the term “soft skills” bandied around a fair bit by employers and recruiters alike. Sometimes referred to as transferable skills, soft skills are  crucial and often, employers are on the lookout for these interpersonal markers in interviews and will be questioning you to check for them.

Pretty nerve-wracking right? The good news is that you’ll probably find that you have most of the top ten soft skills employers look for already.

So what are soft skills anyway?

Soft skills are non-vocational attributes that serve as more of a general indicator of a person’s innate capabilities. Unlike job-specific hard skills, such as software development for a Software Developer or gas installation for a White Goods Engineer, which are tangibly linked to the job a person is doing.

Soft skills can be applied to any role and are notoriously tricky to evaluate, this is the reason you’ll often see that experience with specific software or equipment isn’t always a necessity in job descriptions as this can be taught, whereas soft skills are a bit more difficult to pick up if you haven’t got them to begin with.

Which soft skills do I need?

Some soft skills like time management and problem solving will be necessary across most types of role, but others will be more appropriate for leadership and management positions. Read on to find out which top ten skills are the most important to employers and to figure out which ones are most applicable to you.

  1. Problem solving

Being able to identify and solve challenges whenever they arise at work is pretty important in most roles. When you think about it, most job descriptions are effectively an answer to a problem that the employer has. To be a problem solver, you’ll be leaning on your creativity and your analytical skills as well as exercising critical thinking and even teamwork.

  1. Communication

If you work in a team or engage with customers and clients, your communication skills will need to be pretty sharp. If you’re a lone wolf or remote worker, you might think this one doesn’t apply to you when actually communication effectively extends to how you convey your needs and the needs of others be it via email, on the phone or in person. If you’re a salesperson, communication is your bread and butter so be sure to bring this across in your interviews.

  1. Flexibility

No, you haven’t got to be able to do the splits to ace this soft skill. Being flexible means being adaptable and able to react to changes in your day to day tasks, it also ties in pretty well with problem solving as you’ve got to be agile enough to shuffle tasks around. This one can often be demonstrated simply by showing a willingness to learn, adapt and change to suit your employer’s goals.

  1. Self-Motivation

This soft skill is pretty important for those in remote working, freelance or leadership roles as you’ve not got the downward support or pressure of a manager to give you that extra push to get things done. Needless to say, your employer will want to see that you have the initiative to work independently and without constant oversight. Keep yourself motivated by constantly reminding yourself of your goals, both personal and career-wise, remind yourself that without working for them – they won’t be achievable.

  1. Teamwork

Absolutely crucial for those who work in tandem with others, not so much if you’re a remote worker who spends a lot of time alone. Many think that leaders haven’t got to be team players, this isn’t strictly true since you’ve got to be able to manage a team effectively which often means working together. If you prefer to fly solo but need to become more of a team player, you could take up team sports in your spare time to practice working towards a single goal with others.

  1. Time Management

Most employers will look for those who can manage their time effectively as a baseline and you won’t come across many roles that don’t list this as an important soft skill to have. If you’re not great at time management, you can always work on it by creating a list of daily tasks in order of priority and stick to it religiously by avoiding procrastination and multi-tasking. If you’re often late, you could try setting your clocks 10 minutes later than it actually is to encourage you to be on time.

  1. Negotiation & Conflict Resolution

If you’re applying for a management position or if your role is headed that way, your employer will be looking for you to have negotiation and conflict resolution soft skills. To master this one you’ve got to be able to persuade and influence people with authority, this is especially important for those in Sales roles where you may need to upsell.

  1. Creativity

This is one of those soft skills where you either have it, or you don’t. Luckily, you won’t need creativity for a lot of roles. For instance, if you’re a maintenance engineer or a data analyst, you likely won’t be asked to exercise your creative brain as much as your organisational brain. You can tease out your creative side by getting inspired more often, take yourself to the cinema, read a novel or listen to your favourite tunes and let your imagination run away with you. Soon enough those ideas will translate into your problem solving and brainstorming sessions at work too.

  1. Attention to Detail

Having an eye for detail is crucial, particularly in heavily analytical technology roles such as Data & Statistics. Those in Field Engineering may also find that their role requires them to be highly detailed when it comes to spotting faults in equipment. Generally, having a keen eye for detail is highly coveted across all sectors and even more so in leadership positions. If you’re more of a bigger picture type but need to look a little closer, you could always give brain training games a try in your free time to teach yourself a new perspective.

  1. Leadership

To be in a leadership role, along with conflict resolution, negotiation and communication, you’ll need to be able to both self-motivate and motivate others. If you’re not going for a managerial role, leadership may not be a requirement for you. Getting involved in team sports is a great way to flex your leadership muscles and see if you can bring your team across to first place.

And there you have it – those are the top ten soft skills that employers value most. There are certainly more out there, but we encounter these most frequently in our clients’ hiring requirements. If you’re fortunate enough to possess a few of these, be sure to make the most of your soft skills by utilising them throughout your CV, cover letter and by bringing them up in interviews to show your future employer that you’ve got what it takes.


Ready to put those soft skills to use in a shiny new role? Check out our latest vacancies and take that first step to bagging yourself a new career.

Concept Admin

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