They may be called “soft” skills, but don’t be fooled: Soft skills are extremely valuable in the workplace – and high on employers’ priority list when hiring in 2021.
But given the dramatic shifts we’ve seen in the workplace, what are today’s hiring managers looking for? Regardless of your industry, career path, or job function, these are the most sought-after attributes employers want in the New Year:
1. Adaptability / Versatility
Remote and hybrid arrangements have transformed how we get things done – both individually and as part of a team. Employees who embrace change and adapt quickly will be indispensable in the post-pandemic workplace.
2. Strong Work Ethic
A strong personal drive to achieve goals and exceed expectations is something that cannot be taught. And in today’s environment, it’s more important than ever to hold yourself accountable for meeting your commitments. Hiring managers need people who will work to the best of their ability, even with nobody peering over their shoulder.
During this prolonged period of high stress and uncertainty, understanding others’ feelings is vital. The ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes helps you connect with others and work more effectively together – especially in virtual work environments.
4. Communication Management
Increased reliance on virtual and digital forms of communication (e.g., email, videoconferencing platforms, Google Docs, Microsoft Teams, and other software) requires a new skill set. It’s essential to present yourself well, choose the right form of communication, and provide information in a clear, complete, concise, and professional manner.
5. Active Listening
Being able to receive and process communication is just as important as the way you communicate with others. Listening allows you to follow directions, address concerns and needs, appreciate others’ point of view, and do your job effectively.
2020 has been an “all hands on deck” year in most workplaces – especially for employers forced to operate with a skeleton crew. As those businesses begin hiring again, they will seek people who function well as part of a team: collaborating effectively with others, working toward shared goals, pulling their weight, and fulfilling their designated role within a group.
For more information on how to develop and leverage your soft skills in every phase of your job search, check out these other resources: