The Top 7 Soft Skills Employers are Looking for in 2016

soft skills employers look forIn order to be a viable candidate for a job, there are certain things you must know how to do, and perform with a certain level of expertise.  You cannot become a carpenter if you don’t know how to use a hammer, and you cannot become a computer programmer if you haven’t learned coding.  These are examples of “hard skills” since they are more specific, easily measured and teachable.

But just as important to surviving in the working world are “soft skills”, which can be applied to any job and the rules of which can change depending on your environment and the type of industry you work in.  Soft skills are harder to measure and relate to how you interact with people.  Below are the top soft skills employers are looking for in 2016:

1)  Initiative

The ability to motivate yourself and get going on a project without prodding from your boss or anyone else is an extremely attractive soft skill to employers.  Companies want to hire people that they do not need to micromanage or spend a large amount of energy motivating and directing.

2)  Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the level of awareness and ability to manage the emotions of yourself and others.  Employers look for this soft skill because it is essential in order to get along with others and communicate effectively.  And by getting along with people well and assessing interpersonal situations effectively, you will be more productive at your job.

3)  Decision Making

This soft skill refers not only to the ability to make decisions, but to make good decisions quickly, without constantly second-guessing yourself.  Employers highly value this soft skill because much time can be wasted going back and forth on which decision to make, and stressing out about whether you made the right decision.

4)  Being Open to Feedback

In order to develop as a professional, feedback is necessary from those you work for or with.  While at times feedback from others will be positive and involve what you did well at, it also can be constructive criticism at times.  The ability to accept this criticism, and see every situation as a learning experience, is essential in the working world today.  Being defensive and getting offended when receiving constructive criticism will only hold you back from your professional growth.

5)  Teamwork

It would be difficult to excel at most jobs without the ability to work well with others, so teamwork is one of the first soft skills employers look for.  This means being able to collaborate on ideas, listen to others and look to contribute to the company as a whole, instead of only looking out for your own personal interests.

6)  Flexibility

Employers today look for employees that can go with the flow and easily adjust when the nature of their job, the company or their work environment changes.  Being too rigid or set in your ways won’t get you very far at any job.

7)  Integrity

Honesty and integrity are among the key foundational values in society, so it makes sense that it’s one of the first soft skills employers look for in a candidate for a job.  This means being able to own your mistakes, admit when you’re wrong, and admitting when you don’t have a lot of knowledge on a certain topic.

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Jessica Cody

Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.

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