These are somewhat uncertain economic times. Despite an encouragingly low unemployment rate of 4.2 percent, the job market is changing. It’s wise to prepare for a competitive and ever-shifting job landscape. These days, employers are looking for more from candidates than just the requisite job skills and background education. They’re looking to hire employees who possess certain vital soft skills, too.
PayScale’s report, Leveling Up: How to Win in the Skills Economy identifies which skills recent college graduates most often lack, according to hiring managers. Let’s take a closer look at the top five underrepresented soft skills.
1. Critical thinking/problem solving.
Sixty percent of hiring managers feel that recent college graduates aren’t adequately adept at critical thinking and problem solving. These skills take time and practice to hone. They also require some patience and emotional control. Critical thinking and problem solving are all about using logic, rather than emotion, to identify, understand, analyze — and finally work to solve — a problem. It’s not easy. But, people who possess these vital skills stand out among today’s recent graduates. They’re definitely worth cultivating.
2. Attention to detail.
It can be difficult to slow down and cross every T and dot every I in today’s fast-paced work environment. Still, attention to detail is an important skill to possess. More than half of hiring managers, 56 percent, said this skill is lacking among recent college graduates. There are ways to hone this skill. Mainly, this work involves being sure to catch mistakes before the boss does. It’s crucial to remember to double-check all of your work, including reports, meeting notes and even emails, before submitting them.
Good communication skills are important across jobs and industries. Some communication with others is required, even when work is largely done in solitude. However, 46 percent of hiring managers found this skill to be underrepresented among recent college grads. Communication skills are varied and complicated. But, it’s important to remember that excellent communicators are fantastic listeners first and foremost.
When an employee makes a mistake at work, their boss wishes they would just own up to the error. They further aggravate and compound the mistake otherwise. It’s hard for a manager to have faith that the error won’t be repeated when the worker won’t accept responsibility. Forty-four percent of hiring managers said that new college graduates lack the vital skill of ownership.
Forty-four percent of hiring managers said that recent college grads lack leadership skills. Like the other soft skills on this list, leadership skills are complex and they take time to sharpen. However, if you work to develop the other skills on this list, like communication and ownership for example, your leadership skills will naturally begin to improve. Good leaders are also trustworthy, creative and committed.
New members of the workforce should have an easier time getting hired when they hone these traits and abilities. And, they’ll also help them to thrive once they’re working.
Tell Us What You Think
Which of these soft skills do you think you ought to improve? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.