J. Kent's Blog - Articles for Employers and Job Seekers

Top Skill Sets in Demand for Entry-Level Roles Include Many Soft Skills

Posted by: Karen Booher on July 5th, 2020

New college grads are facing a tough job market, and one that has changed tremendously since the COVID-19 crisis began. In addition to the obvious hard qualifications, employers are seeking entry-level candidates who are also well-equipped with an array of soft skills.

What are Hard and Soft Skills?

Hard skills are typically related to specific training, such as understanding a certain software platform or holding a specific degree or certificate. These skills are usually more technical and can be industry-specific.

Soft skills are considered to be more about a candidate’s personality and work habits, such as their ability to lead a team or prioritize tasks throughout the day. These are skills that shape your overall habits in the workplace.

While new hard skills can be taught and learned as you progress in your career, soft skills are harder to teach.

Top 10 Skills Employers Want

Employers often list their expectations in their online job descriptions, and are looking for a mix of soft and hard skills. They want a candidate who can perform the required tasks and who has the soft skills necessary to be an asset for their company in the long-term.

To determine what skill sets employers want in an entry-level employee, PeopleScout analyzed data from the labor market firm Emsi. This data included hundreds of thousands of U.S. permanent and temporary job postings from March 2020 to May 2020.

The most requested skills – including both soft and hard skills – for entry-level roles requiring a four-year degree and up to one year of experience are, in order:

  1. Communication
  2. Customer Service
  3. Sales
  4. Problem-Solving
  5. Detail-Oriented
  6. Research
  7. Presentation
  8. Microsoft Office
  9. Innovation
  10. Organizational

Showcasing Your Skills in Your Resume and Application

Knowing what soft skills employers are looking for and adjusting your resume and job applications to reflect those could be what sets you apart from others on the job hunt.

Through your work in college, whether in the classroom, during internships, or while participating in extracurricular activities, it’s likely you’ve developed and honed some of these skills. Communication skills are used everywhere – from group projects to coordinating club meetings. Similarly, customer service, problem-solving, and even sales skills are utilized in many classroom activities and extracurricular organizations.

To set yourself apart from the rest, get creative with how you present your experience on your resume and in your job applications. If you were in a leadership role with an organization at your college, list that along with a brief description of your responsibilities there. Be sure to highlight any skills you learned or improved upon during that time.

And, most importantly, practice verbalizing examples of each of the soft skills that you list to help prepare you for interviews. It’s one thing to say you have the skill, but you need to be able to give concrete examples to back it up. Good luck!


Get Started With Your Denver Job Search Now!

Let J. Kent Staffing and our experienced Recruiters help you navigate a difficult job market.

Register Now