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LinkedIn Study Reveals the Skills Employers (Really) Want

LinkedIn Study Reveals the Skills Employers (Really) Want
Credit: Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock

You're in the middle of a job interview. The hiring manager looks up from your résumé and asks, "What are your biggest strengths?" Do you say you're passionate, organized and a team player? Or do you play up your past leadership roles and ability to think outside the box? It turns out that, for employers, these traits may not be the most important skills in a candidate.

A recent study by LinkedIn reveals that when it comes to interviewing and hiring early-career professionals, employers aren't just considering their education, experience and job skills. They are also looking for specific soft skills and personality traits — and how these characteristics rank may surprise you.  

LinkedIn defines this group of early-career professionals as those with zero to three years of experience. If you fall within this range, here's what it takes to get hired in today's job market. [10 Ways to Make a Perfect LinkedIn Profile]

Specific skills

Can you resolve issues independently? Are you a fast learner? If so, you're ahead of the game, the study revealed. The two most important skills employers look for are problem-solving skills (65 percent) — defined as the ability to see and create solutions when faced with challenges — and being a good learner (64 percent) by learning new concepts quickly and being adaptable in new situations.

Employers also look for candidates who have strong analytical skills: 46 percent of the employers surveyed said early-career hires need to be able to use logical reasoning.

Communication skills are also essential. The ability to clearly communicate ideas while speaking plays a much more important role than doing so in writing, however. The study revealed that 45 percent of employers want to hire people with strong oral communication skills, whereas only 22 percent consider strong written communication skills to be crucial.

Furthermore, creativity with the ability to think outside the box (21 percent) and being tech-savvy (16 percent) are also pluses for employers.

Not good with numbers? Don't fret. Only 6 percent of employers said they're looking for strong mathematical and statistical skills.

Personality traits

You may have heard that being passionate about the job and demonstrating leadership skills play a huge role in helping you get hired. Though those traits may be important, they may not be as critical as you think, the study revealed.

The most important personality trait that employers look for in early-career professionals is the ability to collaborate. Fifty-five percent of employers put a premium on the ability to work well with others. A close runner-up was the ability to work hard, with 52 percent of employers preferring candidates who have strong work ethics and go above and beyond.

Having a positive attitude also goes a long way for 45 percent of employers, while 31 percent said being passionate by demonstrating enthusiasm for their work and the business's values is also important.

Additionally, employers look for candidates who are organized (29 percent) and resilient (21 percent). Leadership skills, as well as the ability to inspire and influence others, are also important (17 percent), and some employers are searching for candidates who aren't afraid to challenge the status quo (14 percent).

Some less-important personality traits employers look for are punctuality (13 percent), the ability to take direction well (12 percent) and compassion (5 percent).

Role-based skills

But the types of skills employers are looking for also depend highly on the position and industry. LinkedIn's study found that hiring managers look for these specific skill sets when interviewing and hiring for sales, marketing and consulting roles:

  • For sales roles: Candidates should possess strong oral communication skills and a good attitude that shows optimism and maintains positive energy.
  • For marketing/PR roles: Creativity, passion and strong written communication skills are key to a great hire.
  • For consulting roles: Employers look for candidates with strong analytical and written communication skills.

The study was conducted in July 2014 and surveyed more than 1,400 U.S. hiring managers at Fortune 500 companies.

Originally published on Business News Daily.

Sara Angeles

Sara is a Los Angeles-based tech writer for Business.com, Business News Daily and Tom's IT Pro. A graduate of the University of California, Irvine, she has worked as a freelance writer and copywriter for tech publications, lifestyle brands and nonprofit organizations in the Southern California area and throughout the U.S. Sara joined the Purch team in 2013.