5 Hard and Soft Skills That Will Get You Hired

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When it comes to job searching, the internet giveth and the internet taketh away. It’s easy to find job listings, but arguably tougher than ever to stand out from the crowd of qualified applicants. However, if you have the right skills — and know how to draw attention to them on your resume — your chances of being noticed by a recruiter are pretty darn good.

Top professional social network LinkedIn recently published its annual rankings list, The 25 Hottest Skills That Got People Hired in 2014, which analyzed over 330 million LinkedIn profiles to identify the top skills that helped get candidates hired last year. Below are the top five skills from the study (with links to each one’s respective earning potential):

Top 5 Hard Skills

1. Statistical Analysis and Data Mining

2. Middleware and Integration Software

3. Storage Systems and Management

4. Network and Information Systems

5. SEO/SEM Marketing

As you can see from the list above, having tech-related skills was a huge plus for candidates in 2014, and most likely will be in 2015, too. With big data still taking the world by storm, companies are now looking for qualified professionals who can gather, store, analyze and/or interpret the massive amounts of data being dished out by buyers on a daily basis.

The days of companies being hard up for consumer data are a thing of the (recent) past — now, the focus will be on what to do with all that information, how to extract the useful tidbits, and how to translate it into actionable objectives.

View LinkedIn’s full list, here.

Top 5 Soft Skills

While hard skills may get your foot in the door, soft skills will keep you there. When people talk about being great communicators, or having good time-management, they’re talking about soft skills — the “people skills” that candidates mistakenly overlook or undervalue during their job search efforts. Employers want to hire professionals who, yes, have technical skillsets, but they are also looking for candidates who will be a good fit for the team, which means these individuals must be a good fit for the organization personality-wise, too.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) conducted a study on 260 employers (including Chevron and IBM, according to Forbes) and found the following to be the most valuable in employees, in order of importance.

1. Ability to work in a team structure

2. Ability to make decisions and solve problems

3. Ability to communicate verbally with people inside and outside an organization

4. Ability to plan, organize, and prioritize work

5. Ability to obtain and process information

The above list of soft skills may seem predictable and cliche, however the key is to support them with examples of situations where you carried out these skills successfully and efficiently in a professional setting. For instance, to convey your ability to “work in a team structure,” you’ll want to provide an example of how you worked together with a group of individuals to complete a task or project and outline the specifics of the event: scope of work, job titles of the team, how responsibilities were assigned and delegated, whether there were any obstacles to overcome as a team, the outcome, etc. Recruiters want to see how you used soft skills in a professional setting and how this helped the company meet its objectives.

To see the full list from NACE’s study, view it here.

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