May 4, 2022

The Top 5 Soft Skills Employers Look for in a New Hire

In the past, employers have focused on hard skills when reviewing resumes — specific, quantifiable abilities that can be measured by a degree, certificate, or work experience. These days, however, employers are looking for soft skills — character traits, interpersonal skills, and abilities that relate to how you work.

The last two years have shown the importance of soft skills and how they are crucial to the success of organizations and businesses. The Importance of Soft Skills in a Post-Pandemic World by OpenGrowth notes that employees who have strong soft skills are naturally good at teamwork and network building, which is a must in a post-pandemic world. Due to the pandemic, connecting with others virtually, being on the same page, keeping others motivated, and resolving conflicts have become critical skills.

According to Leaders and Employees Need Soft Skills Now More Than Ever by the Society for Human Resources Management, 97% of employers said soft skills were either as important or more important than hard skills.

Resume-worthy soft skills employers are looking for in 2022 include:

    1. Adaptability. The workplace environment has changed and will continue to keep evolving. Some organizations have gone completely remote and intend to stay that way; others are still working to get everyone back in the office. If you can’t adapt to these changes, your challenges will double and have an impact on your productivity. Always be open to change and take it as a learning opportunity.

Additionally, the way employees engage internally/externally with other colleagues continues to evolve. Communication tactics will need to shift so that messages are not misconstrued. Being able to quickly adapt to these changes will show your employer that you can learn to shift gears when needed.

    2. Communication. Communication is the number one soft skill employers seek. This includes good verbal and written communication, as well as active listening. Whether you’re a CEO or an entry-level employee, good communication skills will always be a critical part of any team.

    3. Problem-solving and critical thinking. These skills often go hand in hand. Employers hire individuals who can think critically about issues and come up with solutions.

    4. Leadership. Employers prefer applicants who have leadership experience or potential. Being a leader means having the ability to mentor, train, and guide. Strong leaders are also good at sharing ideas clearly. They help others understand complex concepts so they can successfully complete a project and achieve the best results for an organization. Demonstrating these skills show employers that you’re invested in the organization’s growth, which can contribute to promotional opportunities in the future.

    5. Teamwork. Being able to collaborate and work well with others is a skill sought after by employers. Teamwork is critical to the success of an organization/business. Having this skill not only makes it easier for other employees, but for the employer as well. A team that works smoothly together enhances productivity and creativity, which are essential to the growth of an organization/business in this ever-changing world.

SUNY Empire Career Services

At SUNY Empire, we want you to stand out and achieve your goals. We offer personality, skills, and work values assessments to help you find the right “fit” in your career path. We also provide tips and suggestions for your resume and cover letter.

To learn more about our career counseling services, contact Anita DeCianni-Brown, career development coordinator, at