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Employees Focused on Promoting Soft Skills

Over the last five years, a global pandemic, a shift to more remote work, and a challenging job market have had a huge impact on the skills job seekers are focusing on when writing their resumes.  

To better understand how the historic events of the last five years have transformed the hard and soft skills that global job seekers deem valuable in the job search, analysts at Zety, a career service dedicated to helping users write better resumes and cover letters, have extracted raw data from 50,000 resumes from international job seekers from its internal database to compare resumes crafted in 2018 to resumes written in 2023.  

Zety’s Resume Skills Report: Hard and Soft Skills 2018-2023 highlights the changes in the way job seekers have balanced hard and soft skills on their resumes over the last several years. Key findings are below.  

  • The top 20 skills that job seekers most often add to their resumes has dramatically shifted from 2018 to 2023.  
  • Soft skills have superseded hard skills on resumes in 2023.  
  • How to make a resume has evolved in other ways, including more resume writers using additional sections to showcase their skills.  

“The workforce has experienced some dramatic changes between 2018 and 2023,” says Dominika Kowalska, career expert at Zety. “The pandemic created a seismic shift in the global economy, which has resulted in a new landscape for job seekers, including an increased popularity of hybrid or remote worker situations. So, it’s not surprising that job seekers have changed the types of skills they add to their resumes.”  

The Meteoric Rise of Soft Skills 

In 2018, more than half of the skills job seekers listed on their resumes were hard skills, which are teachable and easy-to-measure skills, like proficiency with Microsoft Word. Five years ago, 11 out of the top 20 skills were hard skills, including PowerPoint, Excel, and a variety of coding languages.  

Today, the picture looks different. In 2023, only 20% of the list if composed of hard skills. The other 80% is made up of soft skills, which are behaviors and personality traits, like communication or problem-solving skills, that make people good at their job.  

Other notable findings are below.  

  • In 2023, 13 times more job seekers added self-motivation to their resume than in 2018.  
  • Additionally, active listening was mentioned 33 times more often on resumes in 2023 than in 2018.  
  • Conversely, customer service, which in 2018 ranked No. 7 on a list of skills job applicants added to their resumes, dropped off the top 20 altogether, as did leadership and adaptability.  
  • Some skills have stood the test of time. Communication and teamwork skills are included on resumes just as frequently in 2023 as they were in 2018.  
  • Leadership, which was the second most listed skill in 2018, significantly waned in popularity, dropping down to No. 31 on the list.  

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