Entry-level candidates aren't landing jobs for lack of soft skills
- Entry-level candidates need better communication skills, according to data that SkillSurvey extracted from 1,000 job reference reports. The reference-checking firm's analytics team studied references from past employers and professors on candidates for common entry-level positions in finance, nursing, IT, customer service, sales/business development and sales/account management.
- SkillSurvey identified areas of improvement for entry-level workers. Candidates vying for customer service positions, for example, need to work on communicating clearly and making high-quality decisions. For those going into finance, they can better their skills in explaining financial concepts. Job seekers in IT need to up their abilities in documentation of programs and codes.
- SkillSurvey CEO Ray Bixler advised entry-level candidates to inform potential references that they can effectively communicate, focus on details and keep on top of their work. He added that evidence of a candidate's strong soft skills will impress a potential employer.
Bixler explained the need for soft skills in entry-level positions across professions: "In a tight labor market, like the one we are experiencing, a mix of soft and hard skills is critical for any candidate. But as an entry-level job seeker with minimal experience in the workforce, soft skills can make or break your candidacy," he said. "Being comfortable presenting a narrative, writing, explaining tasks, and effectively relaying information will give a candidate a real edge in this job market, regardless of the field they are interested in pursuing."
LinkedIn's 2018 Workplace Learning Report cites soft skills as employers' top training priority of the year. Employers can use surveys like this and SkillSurvey 's data to determine where entry-level candidates' skills are deficient and where training might be needed to prepare new hires for the future. Tanya Staples, VP, learning content at LinkedIn, said she recommends using learning pathways, which build upon each other, to enhance employees' soft skills. "At the time of completion, employees have a well-roundedness about their soft skills abilities and have gained an appreciation for continuous learning."