For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are the instructions how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.

Jobs & Careers

10 key skills employers look for

Selling yourself short on your CV? A recent survey found employers view soft skills as more important than ever. Here's how to make sure your CV covers all the top skills employers look for.

building with two resumes

Job roles are changing. Where once work experience and qualifications were seen as the key to landing your perfect job, AI has helped employers see the importance of the human skills it can't replicate.

This was highlighted in LinkedIn's recent survey to find the 10 most in-demand skills employers look for. Data analysed from the job listings of LinkedIn's one billion members found that nine out of 10 hiring managers view soft skills as of vital importance, with communication taking the top position in the list of most in-demand skills.

But many job seekers don't mention these vital skills on their CVs and applications, focusing instead on the work experience and previous roles they've held.

To keep up with changing trends, it's important to push these skills in job applications.

Luckily for you, LinkedIn has revealed its list of the top skills that employers look for. And just to help you out a bit more, we've put together a guide to ensure you've got them covered.

What are soft skills?

But first up, what are these soft skills everyone's going on about?

Soft skills are personal attributes that allow us to interact and work with others around us effectively. They are the more general skills that help complement the hard, or technical skills in the workplace.

They are generally picked up through life experiences, whether at school, through play or in the workplace. Examples include problem-solving, teamwork and, as already mentioned, communication.

These skills are essential in the workplace and with the introduction of AI, employers are placing more value on these skills than ever before. Though AI may be able to find the answers to pretty much anything, it's the human skills that can use this information to drive success in a business.

Read on to find out some of the key soft skills employers are looking for and what examples you can use of them in your job applications.

What skills do employers look for?

Here are the top skills recruiters want, plus tips on how to showcase them in job applications:

  1. Communication

    woman making phone call

    Credit: fizkes – Shutterstock

    The most in-demand skill according to LinkedIn is communication. Communication is key to any business's success. And with there now being so many different channels and platforms for communication in the workplace, it's no longer just about straightforward person-to-person communication.

    It's therefore a good idea to mention specific examples on your CV of when and where you've used your communication skills, whether in person, online, or through any other means you can think of.

    You can also showcase your good communication skills by asking detailed questions in an interview to help show you are listening.

  2. Customer service

    AI is replacing many aspects of customer service – just click on the 'Chat' icon on any large company's website and you'll find yourself talking to a robot. But there are still some aspects of customer service that cannot be replicated.

    Only a human can build up a relationship with a customer or instil trust. A robot lacks any kind of personal touch. It's therefore still one of the top skills employers look for.

    Make sure you highlight any customer service experience you have in your CV. It's more than likely you've gained some experience in your part-time job at uni or through working in the holidays.

  3. Leadership

    Another soft skill valued greatly in business is leadership. Someone with great leadership skills can help motivate a team and lead business growth.

    There are a number of ways you could have acquired leadership skills. You may have taken on leadership roles during certain extracurricular activities such as clubs or societies. Or even captained sports clubs.

    If any of these apply to you, don't just keep it quiet. You may not think that heading the darts team is relevant to the job you're applying to, but push those leadership skills on your CV or job application and it may put you in higher stead for the position.

  4. Project management

    Workforces have changed considerably in the past few years with the increase in hybrid and remote working. The ability to keep everyone in check, no matter where they are, manage a project and keep things organised is a skill any employer is willing to pay for.

    If you have any experience of managing a project through from start to finish, for example perhaps organising a fundraiser or exhibition, make sure you mention it.

  5. Management

    Managing people may or may not be your thing. But management skills are needed in every industry, from hospitality to finance.

    It takes a certain type of personality to have the drive to manage others. If that person is you, it's more than likely you have displayed your management skills in some form in the past.

    Think about any scenarios where you've instructed, led or delegated others to work on a task to accomplish a goal.

  6. Analytics

    AI is built on data, so being able to interpret data is a skill that is growing in importance. Businesses need to ensure the facts and figures they are putting out can be explained and are correct, and they need individuals with analytical skills to do this for them.

    This is a more specialist hard skill. If you're looking into roles where you feel this could be important, there are always online courses which can help you learn and grow these skills. Including these on your CV can only help your cause.

  7. Teamwork

    Group of students working hard

    Credit: Jacob Lund – Shutterstock

    Teamwork is another soft skill that many of us will have gained through certain hobbies, extracurricular activities or work experience.

    Try and think of a specific example where you've been working with others and maybe managed to overcome a particularly difficult situation or problem. Or where maybe you've had to adapt to a different role than usual within a team to get the results needed.

  8. Sales

    Even though it seems AI itself can do a remarkable job of bringing in customers, it's still not remarkable enough to knock sales from being one of the most in-demand skills employers look for. Some people just have the knack of the trade to ensure a customer never gets away without parting with some cash.

    Of course, if it's in your blood, and you've already managed to start your own business, then you'll have plenty to show off about in your CV or job application. But for others, you may be able to draw on your experiences from simple things such as selling your old clothes or making money upselling cheap items online.

  9. Problem-solving

    Put simply, this skill is all about knowing how to overcome a difficult issue or situation when you encounter one. It's important for employers because they want to know that you're not going to have a breakdown at the hint of something not going to plan.

    Unless you're an extremely lucky person, who manages to sail through life without any hiccups, you should be able to find examples of this even from your day-to-day life. You can always elaborate a little if you need to.

    Examples you could use may include how you overcame housing problems while at uni, or perhaps how you dealt with a certain obstacle whilst travelling.

  10. Research

    Research is another skill you'd maybe think there was less need for now that AI can do the work instead. However, it's knowing the strengths and limits of AI and being able to fill in the gaps which still mean this is a top skill employers look for.

    Independent learning is essential for exam prep and writing essays at uni, so make sure you mention your impeccable research skills in your job application.

Although past work experience and qualifications are useful for your job application, you also need to prove to future employers that you as a person will be a valuable asset, and will work well with other employees.

Have a look at your CV and think about what else you could be adding. And use this list of skills employers are looking for to get some inspiration.

LinkedIn isn't only great for telling us what employers are looking for, it's also great for finding a job.

Hannah Williams

WRITTEN BY Hannah Williams

Hannah Williams, Content Editor at Save the Student, is an expert in living cheaply. Hannah has written for a wide array of trade publications and has previous experience working within student housing. Having lived the life of a digital nomad for over 10 years, she is passionate about travel and online work.
Read more


Tweet / Instagram DM / Facebook DM / Email