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These are the Soft Skills Employers Were Looking for in 2017 (That You’ll Want to Master for 2018)

Landing a job doesn’t necessarily depend on writing an impeccable resume and having experience in the industry. The true art of recruiting is based on finding the individuals that are a perfect fit for an organization, depending on their soft skills.

Namely, soft skills are an employees’ attribute-driven traits, such as their ability to manage their time, work as a part of a team, solve problems fast or think creatively. Unlike hard skills that we acquire over time, soft skills are self-taught and, as such, are difficult to measure and analyze.

So, how important have these skills been in 2017?

From the abolition of the 457 visa program in Australia (and similar notorious initiatives in New Zealand and the US) to the rise of workplace technologies and work-from-home jobs, 2017 was the year of radical changes in hiring practices. However, one thing remained the same and that is the importance of employees’ soft skills in recruiting decisions.

Namely, a recent study shows that 93% of employers consider soft skills either an ‘essential’ or ‘very important’ factor. Put simply, the lack of these skills drastically reduces your chances to land a perfect job and succeed at it.

To understand this trend better, let’s see which soft skills have dominated the market in 2017.

Effective communication

A company’s success still comes down to people’s interactions with each other. In other words, communication skills build and nurture stronger relationships with both your coworkers and clients. This is exactly why you need to be clear, kind and professional in all your interactions, both written and oral.

For instance, when establishing a personal contact, make sure to speak up and use body language that conveys trustworthiness, empathy and confidence. However, keep in mind that effective communication is not only about speaking. It also involves listening skills, nonverbal communication, writing abilities, giving feedback and delivering outstanding presentations.


“Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people,” Steve Jobs once said. This statement is the holy grail for every successful business, irrespective of its size and niche. Put simply, employers are constantly searching for the team members that are able to work as a part of their already well-oiled machine. Only by recruiting individuals that are able to synthesize their skills with those of their coworkers and work toward a common goal will they be able to build an authentic corporate culture and nudge it in the right direction. Of course, being a member of a well-played team brings numerous benefits to you, as well. Apart from making friends, teamwork skills also help you do your job faster and more effectively.


Sometimes, when things aren’t working as planned, you should shift from your initial ideas to possible solutions proposed by your coworkers. Adapting yourself to current circumstances doesn’t mean failure. In today’s business world, which is changing at an astonishing pace, this is the only way to survive and stay relevant.

This is exactly why flexibility is one of the most significant traits employers look for when hiring. It guarantees that a candidate is capable of keeping pace with the industry shifts, adapting to new corporate rules, picking up on the latest tech trends and creating better relationships. Just like Gary Hamel, a famous management veteran claimed, “You can’t build an adaptable organization without adaptable people.”


No matter how hard you work, unexpected problems will inevitably arise. When this happens, sitting on the fence is not an option. To earn your manager’s and coworkers’ trust, you need to act fast and make the right decisions at any given moment. Given that problem-solving skills are critical to the success of an entire business, they have become a priority in all settings. Namely, this 2017 report by iCIMS Hiring Insights points out that 38% of recruiting professionals consider problem-solving the most important soft skill.

Of course, to solve some emerging issue effectively, you need to rely on your critical-thinking skills, such as your previous experience, research, reasoning and imagination. This way, you will be able to analyze the causes of an unwanted situation, find the best solution to it, build a plan and evaluate the effectiveness of your interventions.


Employers usually look to hire professionals that might be able to take over the reins one day and groom them for some future leadership roles, often by hiring an executive coach.

To prove that you’re able to manage tons of workflow and organize people, you need to demonstrate your authority from the very beginning. Position yourself as knowledgeable, confident, rational, creative and inspiring. Only this way will you stand out and show your bosses that you have leadership potential.


When writing a resume, it’s essential to reference the soft skills the employer is expecting to see. The same goes for job interviews. Don’t just say that you have the skills the company looks for – prove it to them through examples and your everyday actions.

Thinking of hiring a career coach to help you develop your soft skills and land your dream job? Browse our directory of career coaches and get a FREE consultation or request a personalized coach recommendation!

About the Author Nate Vickery

Nate Vickery is an online author and a business consultant mostly focused on entrepreneurs and small business owners. He is also the executive editor at Bizzmark Blog.