What are the skills employers are looking for? In a world of artificial intelligence and robots on the rise, the answer is simple: Human skills!
You can’t deny that automation is eliminating jobs. But the one thing robots won’t ever quite perfect (no matter how hard they try) are the very skills, attributes, and traits that make you uniquely human.
Sure, technology is still important. You’ll flounder in a virtual work setting if you can’t navigate Google Drive or communicate via Slack. Similarly, you need technical skills to perform your job duties. For example, graphic designers need to know PhotoShop, virtual bookkeepers require QuickBooks know-how, and web developers should understand Java.
Even still, it’s your ability to work, interact, and communicate with coworkers that will make you stand out in the crowd. Often, we refer to these as your interpersonal or soft skills. But, remember, soft skills aren’t the only skills employers are looking for. You need the right combo of expertise (hard skills) and personal attributes (soft skills) to be successful.
Hard Skills vs Soft Skills
There are A LOT of different skills out there. The particular skills employers are looking for depend on the industry, nature of business, company culture, and job description.
Even the exact same job title can require a different set of skills based on the company, its mission statement, and even its customers or industry served.
But, generally speaking, you can look at your skills as a combination of hard skills and soft skills. But, what makes a hard skill a hard skill and a soft skill a soft skill?
Good question. You can think of your hard skills as the ones that give you your knowledge base and your soft skills as the ones that make you human.
Hard Skills Employers Are Looking For
Robots can solve math problems. Computers can make calculations. Machines can build things. You can too. Your hard skills are the ones you learned and can easily be shown.
Hard skills are acquired. You are not born with them. Perhaps you learned them in college. Maybe you took an online course. Sometimes you learn hard skills from on-the-job training.
Either way, your hard skills are ones you have learned. They’re also skills you can easily demonstrate. For example, if you are a virtual bookkeeper, you can show your proficiency in mathematics and QuickBooks.
And although each job requires different hard skills, some of the common hard skills employers seek include:
- Data Entry
- Data Management
- Information Technology
- Project Management
- Word Processing
Of course, this is just a short list of hard skills employers are looking for. Make sure you check out O*Net Skills Search to identify your skills and careers that match them.
What Are Soft Skills?
As a career coach, I tell my clients their hard skills get them an interview and their soft skills get them the job. That’s because your hard skills can be displayed on paper and featured on your resume. Hiring managers and recruiters will evaluate these hard skills to determine if you have the knowledge to perform the basic duties of a job. If your skills match up with the job description, great! You get an interview.
Your soft skills, on the other hand, won’t be on full display until you get to the interview. You can put “interpersonal skills” on your resume, but that doesn’t prove you can do them.
That’s because your soft skills are the ones that make up our ‘work personality.’ Soft skills determine how you interact with your coworkers and how you’ll behave while on the clock.
People generally want to work with others who are easy to get along with and can play nice on a team.
Think of it from a hiring manager’s standpoint. Let’s say you have two candidates you’re choosing between. Both of them have the same education, know identical programs, and have the skills required to perform the job well.
But Candidate A has amazing interpersonal skills and Candidate B was lacking in that department. Who would you hire?
Candidate A because they are a team player and you know they will fit well within the current structure of the department.
You can know how to do something, sure, but that doesn’t make you someone people want to work with. Be sure to highlight your soft skills both on your resume and during the interview. These will be the memorable skills that hiring manager will use to determine whether or not to hire you!
Need a refresher on soft skills? No problem! Check out the slideshow below for soft skills employers are looking for:
How To Include Skills Employers Are Looking For In Your Resume
You want to get found by recruiters and managers. That’s the whole point of your work from home job search, after all. To do that effectively, you need to include the right combination of skills employers are looking for directly on your resume.
But keep a few things in mind:
Robots Are Reading Your Resume
Most online resumes go through an applicant tracking system (ATS) before they ever see a human. The ATS scans your resume. It looks for keywords, usually in the form of skills. If it finds these keywords, your resume gets passed onto a real, live person. If not, it gets discarded — never to be seen again. Of course, you want your resume to land in front of a real person every single time. To do that, you have to pick the right combination of hard skills and soft (or human) skills to highlight.
But, which should you include and which should you ignore?
The Job Description Has All The Right Keywords
When you submit a resume online, you have to (have to have to have to) send a custom resume each and every time. That’s because your resume will only be effective if it actually gets past the ATS and in front of a recruiter. If you send a generic resume to the ATS, there’s a high chance it will get rejected.
Instead, take the time to read the job description. Then, read it again. As you go through it, take note of the hard skills listed and any soft skills mentioned. These are the keywords you must place in your resume. When you do, you greatly increase your resume’s chances of getting past the ATS and on the desk of a hiring manager. From there, you can land an interview and use your amazing human-driven soft skills to actually get a job offer.
Soft Skills Employers Are Looking For in 2019 and Beyond
Automation is a real concern. The future of the workforce will be increasingly technology-driven. Many jobs and industries are even at risk of losing jobs to machines that can work more efficiently and for less.
But, remember, it’s not just what you know that’s important as a worker. Almost every job out there requires some sort of human interaction. And, it’s your work personality and interpersonal skills that make you employable.
Before you worry too much, remember, skills employers are looking for include both hard skills and soft skills — and a robot can’t replicate being human as well as you.