The Hard and Soft Skills That Employers Crave

Boost your chance of getting hired and moving up the ranks with these critical skill sets

Businesses across all industries are on the lookout for good employees. So, what makes a good employee? The right combination of so-called "hard" and "soft" skills can make your resume stand out from the pack and position you to stoke a bidding war between employers who want what you have. This article will help you understand which skills are currently in the highest demand. It will also introduce you to free, easily accessible online lectures, webinars, tutorials and courses—developed and presented by business leaders, university professors, authors, speakers and high-level practitioners—to help you develop, hone and implement these skills.

In-Demand Hard Skills for 2018

Hard skills are learnable, teachable and quantifiable. There's a right way and wrong way to do them and they can be tested and demonstrated. Speaking a foreign language is a hard skill, as is computer programming or the ability to fix a car engine, waterproof a boat or cut diamonds. Candidates list hard skill sets on resumes to demonstrate to hiring managers that they have the aptitude required to perform the specific job they're seeking. According to a recent report from LinkedIn the following hard skills are most highly coveted by employers in 2018.

In-demand Soft Skills for 2018

Unlike hard skills, soft skills are difficult to teach and are often inherent to an individual's personality. When it comes to resumes, hard skills are job specific, like a software developer listing mastery of C++ on an application for a programming job. Soft skills, on the other hand, can enhance a resume no matter what the job entails. According to LinkedIn, more than half of employers consider mastery of soft skills, such as critical thinking and problem solving, to be more important than hard skills. You'll find that many soft skills overlap. Great leaders, for example, are also usually great communicators. According to LinkedIn, here are the soft skills that, , hiring managers value the most in 2018

  • It's hard to imagine that there's an industry where strong leadership skills aren't valued. One of the crucial elements of leadership is the virtually unteachable trait of charisma, but confidence, empowerment and competence as a manager are all ingredients in the recipe that makes a great leader. Strong communication skills are a must, as are integrity, loyalty and enthusiasm for the job. When it was stated that some of these traits are virtually unteachable, virtually was the keyword. The following courses can help ignite dormant leadership skills in many people who might not even know that they possessed them.

  • Like leadership, communication is a vaguely defined, but critical skill in nearly all fields and industries. Those who can communicate their ideas effectively to a broad range of audiences will have a leg up on those who cannot. The soft skill of communication goes well beyond eloquence or the ability to articulate thoughts clearly in speech and writing. Good communicators know their audience, are masters of several different mediums of communication, are good networkers, are empathetic, exude confidence and, perhaps most importantly, are good listeners. Employers of all stripes are always on the lookout for great communicators. Brush up on your skills and learn some new ones with these free courses.

  • From the CEO to the custodian, business is a team effort—and team players are often the ones who rise through the ranks. Collaboration is a highly coveted soft skill that involves trust and reliability. When everyone on the team can be counted upon to do their part diligently, the team thrives. Good collaborators are good communicators. They're tolerant and receptive to competing ideas and they're willing to compromise. These courses can help you become a better collaborator, and therefore a more attractive candidate for virtually any position or industry.

  • One of the oldest adages in business is that time is money. Every human being on Earth is forced to work within the confines of the same 24-hour days and seven-day weeks. Those who manage their time well are positioned to be productive employees. Those who do not cannot say the same. Time management is all about setting lofty, but realistic goals and then employing discipline and self-motivation to make those goals a reality. Time management requires focus, strong decision making, resistance to inhibitors like procrastination, the willingness to say "no" and to understand your own limitations. Develop and enhance these critical soft skills with the following free courses.

  • In the global economy, where the world's scattered cultures and people are all tightly connected through the Internet and social media, employers are aggressively scouting for candidates with advanced cultural intelligence. This is especially true for companies looking to expand to overseas markets. Employees with the soft skill of cultural intelligence might be well traveled, bilingual or come from diverse backgrounds that instilled in them a keen understanding of cultural nuance and sensitivity toward cultural differences. Sharpen your level of cultural intelligence by taking part in the following courses.

  • Customer focus is a loosely defined, but critically important soft skill awarded to professionals who have a keen knack for understanding and anticipating changes and trends in customer attitudes and expectations. These highly valued employees have their fingers on the pulse of their business's key demographics and can help their employers get ahead of changing trends, patterns, attitudes and expectations. Professionals with strong customer focus skills might have backgrounds in public relations, social media or, of course, customer service. No matter your work history, you can brush up on this critical soft skill with the following courses.