Skills Employers Want You to Have, No Matter Your IT Job
Do companies really care about anything other than your technical know-how? You bet! 93% of employers say soft skills play a critical role in hiring decisions. Why then, especially in tech, do we fixate so heavily on hard skills?
Technical skills of course, do matter. So much so that as an IT professional, you may have been able to walk into an interview and name your price in the past few years. And obviously, the hard skills are your bread and butter, empowering you to actually perform your job.
However, our industry’s obsession with specialization and technical skills perpetuates a false narrative: your code writing, command of ML algorithms, or cybersecurity acumen outweigh everything else.
In reality, hard skills and soft skills are biscuits and gravy; nice on their own, but mind-blowingly good when paired together. But which soft skills are most important to show off to a potential employer? Simply put, the ones that prove you have the potential to adapt, learn new skills (no matter how difficult), and contribute to organizational growth.
As more companies open up to the idea of hiring the heart and training the brain, here are the skills employers want you to have, no matter what type of technical role you take.
1.) Collaboration Skills
Collaboration skills are the glue that holds the tech sector together. Everyone needs to move in synchronization to complete application sprints, uncover deep analytical insight, maintain airtight cybersecurity defenses, or build a complex IT system.
Whether in the office or working remotely, tech professionals who make the effort to cooperate and build upon collective effort are a catch for companies. In fact, if you’re giving off lone wolf vibes, you might move down in their queue.
What Good Collaboration Skills Tell Employers
- You’re a strong communicator. Collaboration skills go hand-in-hand with communication skills. Your ability to express your thoughts and ideas coherently keep project scopes, documentation, and even meetings from spiraling out of control.
- You’re an active listener. You don’t just listen to what someone is telling you— you hear them. Make a conscious effort to engage with whoever is speaking to you, whether that’s by repeating their message back to them in your own words, asking follow-up questions, or simply by making eye contact and nodding your head.
- You’re emotionally intelligent. You’re aware of those around you. You consider the feelings of others and manage your emotions before reacting to any situation, negative or positive. A high EQ will help you navigate a plethora of social settings, making you a better coworker and employee.
2.) A Desire to Learn
Nowadays, plenty of companies are in flux. Even good organizations see a fair amount of turnover as people end up reevaluating their lives and careers in the current market. If you prove that you can learn on the job, you instantly become a better investment for enterprises.
Even if you don’t meet every single job requirement, it’s crucial you demonstrate your adaptability and prioritize accepting increased responsibility, so company leadership sees your growth potential.
What a Desire to Learn Tells Employers
- You keep your skills up to date. Technology trends don’t sit on their laurels, and neither will you. Staying on top of industry trends and continuously working to enhance your knowledge of things not just relevant to your individual role, but significant to the business world’s profitability proves you’re a sharp and valuable addition to any team.
- You’re a long-term investment. In the same way technology constantly changes, businesses must grow and adapt to new industry trends. Showing you’re committed to developing your current skills and acquiring new ones positions you as someone who can grow with the company.
- You’re self-sufficient. When you’re eager and quick to pick up new skills or techniques, you likely know what you need to do to gain those new skills. And if you don’t, you know who you need to ask for assistance. When companies know you’re capable of working autonomously, they won’t worry that they’ll need to hold your hand or act as your pathfinder in uncharted territory.
3.) Time Management
When you’re bouncing between assignments, managing your time is crucial so no projects slip through the cracks—and so the quality of your work doesn’t take a hit. Suppose you work in software development and you’ve been assigned to code a new product feature. You may need to take time to learn new information, coordinate with other developers, troubleshoot your code, fix bugs, and more. To balance all of these activities and deliver high-quality work that meets your deadlines, you need a solid time management plan. Be prepared for potential employers to ask you how you typically structure your day in order to complete projects successfully.
What Good Time Management Skills Tell Employers
- You’re trustworthy. When you unfailingly meet deadlines and stick to a consistent schedule, your employer and coworkers know they can depend on you. Others know you won’t procrastinate or hold up processes because you didn’t plan effectively.
- You’re determined. A large part of time management is setting goals for yourself. And you have to be determined to meet those goals. When you’re organized timewise, you can make decisions faster, since you’ve planned for them ahead of time.
- You’re results-oriented. IT doesn’t exist on its own island. When you can show that your technical brain can do more than just check boxes, but actually manifest real-world results (intentionally too), you’ll convey to businesses you’re worth the investment.
4.) Analytical Problem Solving
The ability to use your critical thinking skills to develop well-thought-out solutions to workplace problems is a skill employers value greatly. We have algorithms and RPA tools that can simply complete tasks, but the ability to dissect problems and prescribe solutions is still mostly exclusive to humans. Companies know that, and from April 2021 to May 2022 alone, 2.7 million job descriptions listed analytical skills as a requirement.
Say you’re sorting through a high volume of data. It’s great that you’re able to simply review the numbers, but you also have to be able to take what you know about that data, consider how it could be used to solve a company’s problems, and reach a sound conclusion. Put all of those things together, and you can transform how companies learn from their customers, allowing them to grow successfully.
What Analytical Problem-Solving Skills Tell Employers
- You can think critically and logically. You question preconceived notions, and you don’t settle for the status quo. You’ll be able to help a company evolve and innovate since you can quickly identify areas for improvement in your own work and in your company at large.
- You can thoroughly analyze data and information. You’re quick to notice patterns and their significances. You have a knack for rapidly learning what’s important and what’s not, letting anything irrelevant fall to the wayside and minimizing errors.
- Your ideas are ironclad. To be able to make sound conclusions to company problems, you likely already have a strong foundation of tech industry knowledge. Any decisions you make or ideas you present are backed by trial and error or other research-based methods.
How to Make Sure the Right People Recognize Your Soft Skills
Emphasizing and continuously building on your soft skills shows you’re thinking about how your actions and attitude affect others in your workplace. Being that they’re more nuanced than technical skills, showing your employer you take soft skills seriously is a great way to show you can quickly adapt to different environments and face new challenges with autonomy and purpose.
While these skills alone won’t qualify you for a job in tech, pair them with solid credentials, and they’ll make you a much more attractive candidate. Learn to cultivate your soft skills and show them off for employers, and you’ll become a highly sought-after employee and a more resilient person.
Are you looking to show off the soft skills employers want? The iSphere team can help you showcase your best talents to potential employers. Check out our latest jobs to see if one seems like a fit.