The ‘Soft Skills’ Employers Are Looking For

Kate Davidson

Want to craft a standout resume? Try adding skills like communication, organization and punctuality.

Nearly 58% of employees who touted stellar communication skills were hired over the course of a year, according to an analysis of 2.3 millionLinkedIn profiles for The Wall Street Journal.

Employers are increasingly looking for workers with strong soft skills—those traits that don’t show up in a job posting but are essential for succeeding in the workplace, like working well with others and taking initiative. But many employers say it has gotten harder to find those applicants as the labor market tightens.

It’s a topic with surprisingly limited data, said Guy Berger, the chief economist at LinkedIn.

Mr. Berger and LinkedIn’s team of economic researchers, who conducted the analysis, focused on LinkedIn members who had changed jobs over the course of a year, between June 2014 and June 2015. The team developed a list of more than four dozen soft skills, and examined which of the skills those members had listed on their profiles to help determine which ones were most sought-after among employers.

Communication, at the top of the list, was followed by organization, teamwork, punctuality, critical thinking, social skills, creativity, interpersonal communication, adaptability and having a friendly personality.

Workers who have those skills but aren’t advertising them should, Mr. Berger said, because it could help separate them from the pack of job candidates.

“People that have the right soft skills have a leg up in finding a job relative to their peers,” he said.

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