What Soft Skills Do Employers Look for in a Candidate?

By Lumify Learn Team  |  November 23, 2023

As soon as you graduate from high school, one of the paths you might want to take is to get a job. Doing so can help you gain valuable work experience, earn money and develop your interests. However, getting a job isn’t just about having the right qualifications and technical skills, as it’s also important to arm yourself with soft skills. Soft skills are personal attributes, behaviors, and attitudes that help you interact effectively and harmoniously with others in the workplace.

In this guide, we'll explore the fundamental attributes that distinguish candidates in the competitive job market, their importance, and how you can develop such skills. Understanding and refining these key soft skills will not only make you a standout candidate but will also pave the way for a successful and fulfilling career. In fact, according to a survey of over 200 recruiters and hiring managers, soft skills are more essential than hard skills for a majority of employers, with 61% of respondents preferring them.

What Skills Do Employers Look for in a Candidate?

Communication Skills

In today’s professional world, effective communication stands out as a cornerstone skill sought by employers across industries. The ability to convey ideas clearly, listen actively, and collaborate seamlessly with colleagues is integral to success in any workplace.

Strong communication skills are also the linchpin of a well-functioning team and a successful career. Employers value individuals who can express themselves articulately, whether in written or verbal form. Clear communication minimise misunderstandings, fosters a positive work environment, and facilitates efficient problem-solving.

What are the Benefits of Having Strong Communication Skills?

  • Enhanced team collaboration: Effective communication fosters a collaborative atmosphere where team members can share ideas, provide constructive feedback, and work towards common goals.

  • Improved leadership abilities: Individuals with strong communication skills often make effective leaders. They can articulate a vision, inspire others, and guide teams toward success.

  • Client relations: Clear communication is crucial when dealing with clients or external stakeholders. It builds trust, ensures expectations are understood, and enhances overall client satisfaction.

How Can You Improve Your Communication Skills?

  • Practice active listening: Paying close attention to others' perspectives is as vital as expressing your own. Practice active listening by giving your full focus during conversations and asking clarifying questions.

  • Express yourself clearly: Strive for clarity in your communication. Whether conveying ideas in writing or speaking, aim for concise and straightforward expression to avoid confusion.

  • Seek feedback: Actively seek feedback on your communication style. This could be from peers, mentors, or even through self-assessment. Constructive feedback is a valuable tool for improvement.

  • Adapt to different communication situations: Recognise that different situations require different communication styles. Whether you are communicating with a colleague, a client, a boss, or a friend, you need to adjust your tone, language, and approach accordingly.

Teamwork Skills

Much like the collaborative efforts that brought the Apollo 13 mission safely back to Earth, the ability to seamlessly collaborate with colleagues, contribute to group goals, and navigate diverse perspectives is integral to thriving in the intricacies of modern workplaces.

What are the Benefits of Having Strong Teamwork Skills?

  • Enhanced problem solving: Teamwork provides a platform for pooling diverse perspectives and experiences. This collaborative synergy often leads to innovative problem-solving approaches that might not be achievable by individuals working in isolation.

  • Increased productivity: When team members understand their roles and work seamlessly together, tasks are executed more efficiently. The shared workload and complementary skills within a team contribute to increased productivity and achievement of collective goals.

  • Fostered creativity: Diverse teams often generate more creative solutions. The intersection of different backgrounds, ideas, and approaches sparks creativity and innovation, pushing the boundaries of what a team can achieve together.

  • Positive work environment: Effective teamwork creates a positive and supportive work environment. Individuals feel valued, contributing to higher job satisfaction and increased employee retention.

  • Improved interpersonal skills: Working in a team hones interpersonal skills such as communication, conflict resolution, and empathy. These skills are not only valuable in the professional realm but also contribute to personal growth.

How Can You Improve Your Teamwork Skills?

  • Engage in group projects: Actively participate in group projects, either in academic settings or extracurricular activities. These experiences offer practical opportunities to refine your collaboration and teamwork abilities.

  • Volunteer for team initiatives: Take the initiative to volunteer for team-based projects or activities. This not only demonstrates your willingness to collaborate but also allows you to practice and enhance your teamwork skills in diverse settings.

  • Develop empathy: Cultivate empathy towards your team members. Understand their strengths, challenges, and motivations, creating a supportive and inclusive team dynamic.

Problem-Solving Skills

Imagine working on a complex project that requires you to navigate various challenges, overcome unexpected setbacks, and devise innovative solutions. How would you approach these situations? How would you demonstrate your ability to solve problems effectively and efficiently? These are the questions that employers ask themselves when they look for candidates with problem-solving skills.

Problem-solving skills are not only essential for specific jobs, but also for any career and life scenario. By developing your problem-solving skills, you will be able to tackle any challenge that comes your way and impress potential employers with your creativity and resourcefulness.

Why are Problem-Solving Skills Important?

  • Adaptability: Unforeseen challenges are inevitable in the professional world. Individuals with strong problem-solving skills showcase adaptability, ensuring they can navigate uncertainties with confidence.

  • Effective decision-making: Problem-solving involves making decisions based on critical analysis. Those proficient in this skill can evaluate options, consider potential outcomes, and make informed decisions, contributing to effective leadership.

  • Enhanced efficiency: The ability to identify and address challenges promptly enhances overall work efficiency. Individuals with strong problem-solving skills are adept at streamlining processes, minimising obstacles, and optimising workflow.

  • Innovation: Problem-solving often leads to innovative solutions. Individuals who approach challenges with a creative mindset can propose novel ideas and contribute to the continuous improvement of work processes.

  • Team collaboration: Effective problem-solving is a collaborative effort. Individuals who excel in this skill can contribute meaningfully to team discussions, offering insights and solutions that benefit the collective.

How Can You Improve Your Problem-Solving Skills?

  • Practice critical thinking: Develop your critical thinking abilities by regularly engaging in activities that require analysis and evaluation. This could include solving puzzles, participating in strategy games, or even discussing complex issues with peers.

  • Seek diverse perspectives: When faced with a problem, seek input from individuals with different perspectives and expertise. This diversity of thoughts can provide insights and solutions that may not be apparent from a single viewpoint.

  • Embrace challenges: Don't shy away from challenges; instead, view them as opportunities to enhance your problem-solving skills. Approach problems with a positive mindset, focusing on the potential for growth and learning.

  • Reflect on experiences: After resolving a challenge, take the time to reflect on the experience. Consider what worked well, what could be improved, and how you can apply lessons learned to future situations.

Combining Skills

Communication, teamwork, and problem-solving skills are powerful on their own, but even more so when they work together. In a project team with different people, good communication helps everyone share their views, teamwork builds on each other’s strengths, and collaboration improves problem-solving. Employers want this kind of integration, so they constantly look for candidates who can combine these skills for project success.

You can show this integration in interviews or on your resume. Give real examples of how good communication leads to better teamwork and problem-solving. Employers like candidates with a balanced skill set, knowing that you can handle challenges, work well with others, and contribute to the goals.

Lumify Learn: Helping You Learn More than Just IT Skills

If you plan to start a career in IT, Lumify Learn can help you. We offer nationally accredited courses and vendor-certified boot camps in the following areas:

When you enrol in our courses, you won’t just learn about your chosen industry, as you will also get to sharpen your soft skills like the aforementioned ones. This way, you’ll become more attractive to potential employers.

What’s more, all of courses are conducted 100% online by expert trainers and mentors who will provide you with personalised feedback and guidance throughout your learning journey. They will also help you master the latest technologies and tools used in the IT industry.

The best part is that by taking a class with us, you might even become eligible for a 33% credit towards a bachelor’s degree in IT course in select universities. You can even participate in our Lumify Edge program which will connect you with potential employers and internship opportunities in the IT industry.

To learn how you can be set up for success after graduating from high school, check out our latest eBook.

Ready to take your career to new heights? Enquire on a course today.

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