The Top 20 Hard And Soft Skills Jobseekers Should Showcase To Get An Interview

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  • Top 5 soft skills to put on a CV: Management, Flexibility, Communication, Organisation, and Customer Service
  • Employers looking for talent with Sales prowess, Engineering knowledge, and Reporting skills
  • Tech workers who were recently axed should showcase SQL, AMS, and Python skills on their CVs
  • A flair for writing is desirable, whether it’s for an email or a report
  • French is the most asked for language skills, while more job ads are asking for Spanish and Arabic fluency

With the “new year, new job” rush well underway, smarter job search engine Adzuna identifies the top hard and soft skills jobseekers should put front and centre on their CVs to land an interview.

The research analysed jobs advertised on Adzuna in the first week of January 2023, uncovering the hard skills and soft skills most commonly used in job ads to guide jobseekers on the top keywords to include in applications.

The top in-demand soft skills are management, flexibility, communication, organisation, and customer service skills, while this year’s most attractive hard skills are sales, engineering knowledge, reporting, email writing, and Excel.

Paul Lewis, Chief Customer Officer at job search engine Adzuna, comments: “Making it through the virtual stack of CVs and getting your application seen by those that count is one of the hardest parts in landing a new role. To increase your chances of acing CV screening, jobseekers can consider adding relevant buzzwords to their CVs, answering what’s being asked for in the job ad. The top hard skills employers are currently looking for are sales skills, engineering knowledge, and reporting skills. But there is comforting news for the many who don’t possess those practical talents – employers nowadays are very keen on soft skills. Reflect on your previous jobs, internships and education and flex your soft skills in your CV, from management-related experiences, to the ability to be flexible, to being a good communicator. Very often hard skills and experience can land you an interview, but it’s showcasing your soft skills that will win you the job.”

The top soft skills cited in job ads

In a year of prevailing economic pressures and intensified strike disruption, employers are most desperately looking for great managers, with more than one in three (37%) advertised job openings asking for management skills. Interestingly, every sector simultaneously cited managerial skills within their top five most-wanted soft skills, and eight sectors (Accounting & Finance, Energy, Engineering, HR & Recruitment, IT, Legal, PR & Marketing, and Scientific & QA) cited this skill most often. Similarly, talents such as leadership (103,072 advertised jobs) and coaching (48,453 jobs), are also being requested frequently in job ads..

Resilience and adaptability are also proving crucial for many businesses to succeed coming out of the pandemic. Over 300,000 job ads in January are asking for jobseekers showcasing flexibility, while close to 50,000 job ads are looking for potential candidates who can thrive in a fast-paced environment. 

Great organisation skills and creativity are essential for businesses to cultivate a positive work environment that maintains operational efficiency and encourages new business solutions, leading to the rise in demand for well-organised (162,905 jobs), innovative (94,367 jobs), detail-oriented, (73,707 jobs), and creative (72,064 jobs) individuals. Interpersonal skills, including communication (248,168 jobs), customer service skill (117,539 jobs), teamwork (73,212 jobs), and being collaborative (50,686 jobs) are equally appealing to employers. 

The whirlwind of two of last year’s hottest workplace trends – “Quiet quitting” and the Great Resignation – have reminded employers that on top of job-specific skills, they should also be pursuing candidates who are passionate about the company and the role. Candidates exhibiting friendliness (114,241 jobs), confidence (95,187 jobs), enthusiasm (58,509 jobs), reliability (55,273 jobs) and strong motivation (41,667 jobs) therefore have a better chance to get hired. 

Table 1: Top 20 soft skills of 2023

RankSoft skillProportion of job ads with this skill, Jan 2023Number of job ads with this skill, Jan 2023
1Management36.4%325,497
2Flexibility34.8%311,669
3Communication27.7%248,168
4Organisation18.2%162,905
5Customer service13.1%117,539
6Friendly12.8%114,241
7Leadership11.5%103,072
8Confidence10.6%95,187
9Innovative10.5%94,367
10Attention to detail8.2%73,707
11Teamwork8.2%73,212
12Creativity8.1%72,064
13Enthusiastic6.5%58,509
14Reliability6.2%55,273
15Collaborative5.7%50,686
16Coaching5.4%48,453
17Fast-paced5.3%47,831
18Project management5.0%45,174
19Motivated4.7%41,667
20Interpersonal skills4.0%35,991

Top hard skills of 2023

Across the UK, many consumers are cutting back on spending and are a lot more reserved on hefty purchases, resulting in a stronger push for employees with excellent sales skills. More than 120,000 advertised job ads put sales skill in their job descriptions, accounting for 14% of all job ads in January 2023.

The second most requested hard skill is engineering knowledge (115,304 jobs), which could partly be tied to a noticeable increase in the vacancies in the engineering sector since November 2022. 

Meanwhile, as remote working and video meetings are being normalised, effective reporting (110,128 jobs)and email writing (86,473 jobs) skills are highly valued by employers. They are also looking for Microsoft Office proficiency (27,091 jobs), especially leaning towards Excel (69,091 jobs).

Table 2: Top 20 hard skills of 2023

RankHard skillProportion of job ads with this skill, Jan 2023Number of job ads with this skill, Jan 2023
1Sales 13.5%120,471
2Engineering knowledge12.9%115,304
3Reporting12.3%110,128
4Email writing9.7%86,473
5Excel7.7%69,091
6Finance knowledge7.3%65,420
7Marketing knowledge6.7%60,256
8Writing4.6%41,314
9Business development3.6%32,338
10Microsoft office3.0%27,091
11Procurement2.6%23,340
12Accounting2.6%23,336
13Social Media2.5%22,048
14SQL2.0%17,548
15Python1.8%15,974
16Troubleshooting1.8%15,729
17Due diligence1.7%14,938
18Counselling1.6%14,630
19AWS1.5%13,347
20Change management1.5%13,312

Industry-focus insights

Looking into the IT sector which was hit hardest by layoffs, the most welcome programming skills seen in tech advertised job ads are SQL, Python, Java, JavaScript, and HTML. Meanwhile, tech workers should consider highlighting keywords such as management, communication, flexibility, organisation, and innovative in their CVs. 

Employers are also looking for decent writers for emails, social media, and reports. Business writing such as copywriting and technical writing is more popular than creative writing.

Taking the recent waves of strikes into account, within the healthcare industry, the most-appreciated keywords to highlight in CVs are email writing, patient care, rehabilitation, reporting, and inpatient care knowledge. 

For the education sector, teachers who want to move on to their next better-paid role can consider adding email writing, due diligence, behaviour management to their CVs and underscoring friendliness, flexibility and management soft skills. 

Table 3: Top hard and soft skills of 2023, by sector

SectorRankHard SkillNumber of job ads with this skill, Jan 2023Soft SkillNumber of job ads with this skill, Jan 2023
Accounting & Finance1Finance28,702Management40,272
2Reporting24,536Communication25,933
3Excel18,843Flexibility23,321
4Accounting18,110Organisation15,968
5Sales 10,047Attention to detail12,316
Admin1Excel8,669Flexibility16,283
2Email writing6,832Management15,541
3Market research5,811Communication14,264
4Microsoft office4,739Customer service13,321
5Reporting4,581Organisation11,402
Creative & Design1Adobe1,016Creativity2,837

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