5 Top Skills Employers are Looking for in 2016

Most people are familiar with the terms ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills. During the interview process, employers search for candidates that have a suitable combination of both. Hard skills refer to skills that can be taught and are easy to quantify. Soft skills on the other hand are about how well you get along with other people. Also known as ‘people skills’, soft skills are harder to quantify. Another way to look at it is that hard skills directly relate to your IQ while soft skills relate to your emotional quotient (EQ).

While a good mastery of hard skills is essential to getting your foot in the door, one will often find that there are many just like him/her who are great at what they do. Employers still have to find a way to pick the best and leave the rest. This is where soft skills come in.

What is the candidate’s temperament? Can they collaborate with others? How well can they communicate their ideas? These are just some of the questions employers will want answers to. Therefore, should you want to gain an edge over your colleagues, soft skills are a great way to differentiate yourself. Below are some of the most valued soft skills of 2016.

1. Communication

The ability to share your ideas confidently such that they are easy to comprehend, communication skills include both the written and the verbal. The written is the first thing the employer will notice since your CV will, to some degree, tell them how well you can put forth your ideas concisely. Deduct superfluous information. Make it flawless. On the other hand, a good verbal communicator is eloquent and does not ramble.


Some people are natural born leaders. Thankfully, gifted leaders have traits that can be emulated. A good leader motivates and coordinates the workforce towards the resolution of clearly set objectives. Leadership is a quality trait that is valuable in any field. Take nursing as an example. An MSN in nursing administration would imbue you with the leadership qualities necessary to navigate today’s complex healthcare system. This is exactly what an MSN administration from Bradley University does – it teaches students how to thrive as nursing leaders in almost any healthcare institution.


Employers like employees who work well with others and can fit seamlessly within a team. To be a good team player all you need is to know your role and play it well. That can mean being a team leader or a follower. Either way, employers appreciate a well oiled cog in the machine to a cantankerous one.

4. Punctuality

Meeting deadlines is a big deal in an organization. Workers that don’t do so are likely holding up somebody else’s work leading to a vicious cycle where everything slows down and productivity drops. It is therefore crucial that you learn how to manage your time effectively and prioritize important tasks.

5. Critical Thinking

This is the ability to take a step back, objectively evaluate a problem and come up with a course of action. In simpler terms problem solving. Firms value employees who can use creativity, past experiences, good reasoning and available resources to solve an issue. Such a skill is a productivity booster.


If you have any soft skills, it would be wise to put them on your resume (if you can substantiate your claims) as it could help you stand out from the crowd. A recent LinkedIn study uncovered a mismatch between soft skill supply and demand. 53 percent of hiring managers reported soft skills as being hard to find while 58 percent were of the view that the lack of soft skills in candidates was limiting the organization’s productivity. Keep in mind though that different jobs require different levels of soft skills. A waiter would for example need more soft skills than a graphic designer.