In the current job market, there’s a lot of pressure to stand out from the competition. With prospective employers setting out high demands for qualifications and experience, and certain skills increasingly outsourced to technology and AI, it can feel like mere mortals don’t stand a chance.
Don’t despair! The personal qualities that you bring to an interview can give you an appeal that gives you the human edge that many jobs still need. There are some things that robots can’t do (yet), and not easy to demonstrate on a CV. That’s why it’s really important to know which soft skills are desirable to employers, and how you can show you have those qualities.
To find out how you can harness your soft skills to boost your employability, NetCredit analyzed 45,000 job listings in the US. They identified which soft skills are mentioned the most frequently, and produced a series of charts to visualize the results. They also made a handy infographic with interview tips for highlighting the most desirable skills during an interview.
So, which are the most in-demand soft skills, and how can you use them to impress your interviewer? While the results show some variation on which skills are prioritised from state to state and in different industries, certain personal qualities are highly favoured across the board.
These are the 5 soft skills that featured most often in the job listings:
Collaboration was mentioned the most out of all the job listings in the study. 22.5% (10,716) of ads that mentioned soft skills listed this as a desirable quality. Proportionally, working as a part of a team is valued the most in Massachusetts, where 35.2% of all soft-skill mentions
in the state are for collaboration. It’s a key skill to have if you want a job in Science and Engineering, with 1487 ad mentions.
To demonstrate this skill in an interview, try to keep the focus on your team’s success rather than your own achievement – replace the ‘I’ with ‘we’ to show that you work well with others.
The second most desirable soft skill is innovation, which was mentioned in 19.2 % of job listings. It’s most popular in the state of Montana (23.2% of ads), and in the field of Science and Engineering.
To show how you can take a problem-solving approach to tricky situations, you should use concrete examples of how your decisive and original actions have achieved a task and got results for your company.
Confidence was mentioned in 13.9% of the ads in the study, and a bold approach to work is a priority in Alaska (22.2% of ads) and Business Services.
Your physicality can make a big difference to how you come across in an interview. You should make eye contact to show that you are engaged in the conversation with your interviewer. Have a self-assured posture, and resist the urge to rush through your ideas when speaking.
Patience is a virtue mentioned in 10.3% of ads. It’s favoured most highly in West Virginia (16.9%), and featured frequently in ads for Science and Engineering.
You can help the interviewer visualise your patience by using specific examples of how you have dealt with a conflict or challenging situation. Use the STAR model (situation, task, action/approach, resolution/result) to describe the situation or task that you were faced with, talk through the actions you took to deal with it, and explain how it led to a positive outcome.
Creativity is also desirable to employers, with 9.6% job ad mentions, and frequent appearances in the criteria for Marketing and Advertising jobs.
In an interview, try to show that you are able to channel your creativity to find efficient strategies or fresh approaches to tasks. Remember that sometimes creativity is also associated with impulsiveness, which might not be so appealing to a prospective employer. Explaining how you consider your options to find the most appropriate creative solution will both impress and reassure.
Digging deeper, the NetCredit team charted the most in-demand soft skills in every state:
As a bonus you can check out the expert advice below on how to demonstrate your soft skills in a job interview (infographic) from NetCredit: