LinkedIn’s top 5 soft skills you should start building on right now

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As fears and recessions loom, new graduates may find themselves plunged into an uncertain job market.

A recent survey of 1,000 US graduates between 18 and 54 in the past 12 months has revealed that many are concerned about their “career readiness”.

Nearly half of recent graduates said they didn’t apply for entry-level jobs because they felt they weren’t qualified, according to the survey.

And that’s even more of a challenge for those new to the workforce.

“One of the challenges young workers may face is a lack of experience when entering the workforce,” said Pooja Chhabria, career expert and Asia-Pacific editorial director at LinkedIn.

Hard skills can help you get an employer’s attention, but soft skills can help you land the job.

Pooja Chhabria

career expert, LinkedIn

While Gen Z workers – those between 18 and 24 years old – may worry about their lack of experience, some businesses are hiring “aggressively”, according to LinkedIn.

For example, job postings on the platform have grown year-on-year in October 2022 for sectors such as government administration – which registered 52% growth in Australia and a whopping 88% in Singapore.

Sales postings grew 114% in Australia and 49% in India, while openings in logistics and supply chain grew 41% in Singapore.

These jobs may be from different industries, but they have one thing in common — an emphasis on soft skills, which Chhabria emphasized is valuable across multiple sectors and jobs.

How to stand out

Companies have been moving from a “traditional knowledge-based” hiring approach to a skills-first approach, Chhabria said.

That’s because of the “rapid pace of change and disruption” that businesses are going through, and skills-based hiring helps employers hire talent that matches the evolving needs of businesses, she said.

“87% of employers believe that skills are critical when screening candidates. A skills-based approach also creates a much wider pool of talent, and diversity of talent is essential to being competitive today’s market.”

“LinkedIn data shows that across Asia Pacific, a skills-based approach to recruitment will increase the overall pool of Gen Z talent by 10.8 times in Australia, 14.1 times in India and 7 times in in Singapore,” she said.

The hiring rate in Asia-Pacific remains relatively high despite fears of a recession, says LinkedIn

While hard skills are still essential to getting a job, soft skills can help candidates stand out from the pack.

“Hard skills can help you get an employer’s attention, but soft skills can help you get the job,” Chhabria said.

“Hard skills are the technical skills needed to do your job. For example, if you’re applying to be a sales professional, you need to know sales processes and how you use a CRM platform,” she said.

“[But] you also need soft skills such as presentation skills to deliver a great sales pitch to your customer or communication skills to be able to communicate confidently with your team and the customer.”

Here are the top five soft skills young workers should focus on building in the new year, according to LinkedIn:

  • Communication: Being able to express your thoughts, ideas and opinions concisely so that people can understand what you are sharing.
  • Time management: With the rise of remote work, time management has become even more important to build trust with your employer and demonstrate the value you add to the team.
  • Critical thinking: Ability to understand and respond to a situation based on all available facts and information.
  • Problem Solving: Coming up with solutions and looking for new ways to solve problems.
  • Interpersonal skills: In a post-pandemic workplace, the ability to build relationships and collaborate with teams across the globe is an important skill.

Taking on new assignments or projects can improve your problem solving skills and give you opportunities to learn how to handle stress, criticism and conflict better.

Pooja Chhabria

career expert, LinkedIn

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