Five Soft Skills That Mean More Than a Diploma

Joe Weinlick
Posted by

What traits are companies looking for in future employees in this ever-changing workplace landscape? Many assume that a solid education is what employers deem most important when determining the right candidate, but this is not always the case. Soft skills, the traits that measure a person's emotional intelligence, are a good indicator of job performance. A prospective employee's soft skills, which aren't necessarily learned at school, can be the ticket to landing the perfect job.

1. Communication

An overwhelming majority of employers look for employees that are comfortable with basic communication skills. Casual conversation, an art that many believe has been slowly fading away due to technology, is an essential soft skill that a hiring manager will be sure to make note of. Written communication skills are just as important, as many resumes are quickly tossed aside because of simple grammar and spelling issues. There is always room for improvement when communicating. Being aware of nonverbal cues and truly listening when engaged in a conversation will produce a relaxed and genuine conversation.

2. Time Management

Time management is another essential soft skill needed in today's workplace. The demands on companies, and consequently employees, is at an all-time high. Technology has forced modern workers to produce information and results almost immediately, and employers want to see that a potential employee can meet these sometimes laborious deadlines. Going into an interview, be ready to answer questions on how you manage a busy schedule, and get a step-up in a new job by asking how you should be prioritizing your workload early on.

3. Team Player

The ability to work well with others ranks as a sought-after soft skill by many employers. Numerous fields rely on teams to get the job done. Being able to respectfully work with team members to manage a project, pitch a sale to a client or put together a presentation is vital. Good team members acknowledge every person's contributions, communicate clearly, keep an open mind and actively listen.

4. Motivation

Employers also want to see that you are independently motivated and willing to work your way up for the job you want. By letting those career aspirations be known from the beginning, a potential employer will get an idea of how your professional goals will work best within that company.

5. Flexibility

The last soft skill that is worth more than a diploma is flexibility. Plans can change overnight in the business world. Employers want to see that you won't sweat the small stuff and that you can bounce back quickly from changes. People that embrace change are less stressed and have been found to handle difficult workplace situations more easily.

There is no denying that education is extremely important for the development of hard skills. Most employers know, however, that these hard skills can be learned on the job and over time. One's soft skills are often unchangeable. Attend a networking event, talk to your boss about how you should be prioritizing your work and attend a workshop on teamwork. Small steps now can help you stand out to employers in the future.

Photo courtesy of stockimages at



Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

Jobs to Watch