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What soft skills are more desirable?

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Candidates are frequently coming up with new and inventive ways to present their CVs and showcase their talents. But how effective are they, and what skills are employers actually looking for?

Just recently a job hunter put their CV on a chocolate bar, and another rapped theirs to prospective employers. While these new formats may be memorable, it’s important not to be blinded by the originality or creativity of these stunts. In fact, our recent survey of over 900 recruitment professionals, revealed that traditional CVs still hold an important place in the recruitment process, and that it’s not just about listing your qualifications and technical skills. 

When building a workforce, we all know how important it is to take into account basic transferable skills, as these can often be more important than hard skills in the first instance. And, while technical skills can be taught, personable staff that fit your company culture are found through the soft skills they possess, this is what makes them desirable employees. Our research highlighted the top five soft skills which recruiters believe to be most important in today’s working world and below, I explain these in more detail:  


Communication was cited as the most important soft skill and this comes as no surprise. People with good communication skills are able to converse through a range of platforms, be it face-to-face, over email, or on the phone. They’re also good at forming strong relationships with colleagues, clients and customers, making them an important member of the workforce. These attributes are extremely beneficial to a business, as staff that can communicate well (both talking and listening) are more likely to be trustworthy, patient and open and honest with colleagues.

Attention to detail

Second on the list of the top transferable skills was attention to detail. Those with strong attention to detail are likely to be more productive, have higher levels of concentration and be more meticulous, ultimately providing a better standard of work. As a business it’s inevitable that you’ll want to minimise the risk of things going wrong, and those that pay closer attention to detail are less likely to make a mistake. They’re also more likely to spot errors made by others.




Self-motivation is a powerful tool for a business. It means that staff are able to manage their own workload without constant supervision, and also drive their own passion. This ensures employees remain creative and engaged in their role, without the need to be micromanaged. Not only this, but self-motivation is a quality usually found in positive people, and a workforce should be built from happy staff; you might also find that these employees motivate and drive other members of the team.

Strong work ethic

It’s unsurprising that a strong work ethic made it into the list of the top five soft skills, as every business wants dedicated staff who are willing to work as hard as they can. But a strong work ethic goes further than that, it also includes being positive, taking initiative, and supporting fellow members of staff – all important qualities to look for in an employee who will be a great asset to the company. 


Time management

To ensure maximum productivity from staff, it’s important that they have time management skills, especially as most roles will require them to manage multiple projects or tasks at one time. Effective time management also means that staff are able to delegate and prioritise tasks in line with the needs of the business, and stay on top of their workload to avoid stress or burnout. This is also a useful attribute as it means that as a company you can place more trust and responsibility in your employees, without having to worry that they’re going to become overwhelmed, or that projects won’t get completed on time.

So, whilst hard skills are important, these can often be taught through workplace training, whereas soft skills, such as communication or self-motivation, tend to come from a candidate’s personality. It’s these soft skills that will help an employee to fit in with your company culture and become an important asset to the business, making these some of the most important qualities that you should look for, and nurture in, your employees. 

Lee Biggins

By Lee Biggins

Lee is the managing director of CV-Library

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