One of the biggest challenges of finding a new job is standing out among the competition: in a pile of hundreds, sometimes thousands of applications, why should a recruiter pick yours?
The difference between landing an offer or a rejection can come down to skills — not just the qualifications you list in a single line on your resume, but also the examples you provide in an interview or cover letter that highlight your strengths.
"Hiring managers are prioritizing soft skills in a way they never have before," LinkedIn career expert Andrew McCaskill tells CNBC Make It. "They're recognizing that this new world of remote and hybrid work requires people who can adapt and are eager to learn."
According to Monster's "Future of Work" global report, which included responses from 3,000 business leaders in September, 58% of employers said finding candidates with the right skills has been their biggest hiring challenge during the coronavirus pandemic.
Another 63% of employers, however, said they would hire someone with transferable skills – think teamwork, time management or leadership — and train them on the technical aspects of the job.
Here are the top three skills job-seekers need in 2022, according to McCaskill and Monster career expert Vicki Salemi.
Against a backdrop of historic quitting rates and a tight labor market, dependable employees are tremendous assets to companies. McCaskill notes that dependability is a "key skill" employers expect from their teams and an important attribute to highlight on your resume.
"There are so many ways to highlight dependability on your application, from demonstrating that you are able to be self-sufficient and hit goals or targets for the company, to highlighting leadership on an important project," he explains.
You can show a recruiter you're a reliable employee while explaining your day-to-day responsibilities in your most recent role, too. Meeting deadlines, responding to requests in a timely fashion and raising your hand for an assignment are all examples of dependability in the workplace.
Frequent, clear communication is a critical skill recruiters are looking for in job candidates, especially as many companies continue remote or hybrid work. "The pandemic has exacerbated the need to excel at communicating, to make sure nothing gets lost in translation because we're working in different places, and also the need for empathy in this difficult time," McCaskill says.
In addition to adding this skill to your resume and LinkedIn profile, you should demonstrate your communication skills in action – either in your cover letter or during an interview – with examples. Effective communication can include asking detailed questions during meetings, providing feedback or leading presentations.
"When a recruiter asks you, 'How did you handle a situation that didn't go your way?' you could note that you updated your team in real time on Slack or email, then made suggestions for how we could improve our response going forward," Salemi tells CNBC Make It.
The pandemic has required us all to adapt and be resilient in the face of constant change. Problem-solving skills have become essential in a work environment where communication and collaboration can feel fragmented.
"Employers want people who are quick on their feet and are comfortable resolving conflicts with unique solutions," McCaskill says. Ahead of an interview, Salemi recommends thinking of at least one situation where you took the lead and solved a problem using creativity and critical thinking.
This could include working with a difficult client, helping with a staffing shortage or resolving a technical issue. Make sure your anecdote answers these three questions, Salemi says:
- What was the situation?
- How did you handle it?
- What was the outcome and the impact?
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