Top soft and technical skills that will get you hired

When employers have several similar qualified candidates, the right mix of soft and technical skills can make the difference. Here's what companies look for in that next great hire.

Top soft and technical skills that will get you hired
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Top soft and technical skills that will get you hired

Landing a new job in a tight market is never easy, but the right combination of hard and soft skills can certainly smooth the way. Here, CIO.com has compiled a list of the top career skills -- both technical and soft skills -- companies look for in their next great hire.

Soft skills
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Soft skills

While these skills are crucial for any job, they can be difficult to articulate on a resume. The key, according to The Savvy Intern blog, is to frame these skills as accomplishments and put them in the context of your everyday working environment. That shows your value as an employee, instead of just listing duties that anyone in your role could perform.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) conducted a study on 260 employers and found the following five soft skills to be the most valuable in employees, in order of importance.

Teamwork
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Teamwork

Candidates who can work well with others and demonstrate effective teamwork will always have a career edge. Those who can go beyond working in their area of expertise, and who demonstrate big picture thinking, take leadership roles when necessary and can work with colleagues for the greater good of the company are a great asset to any organization.

Decision-making
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Decision-making

The ability to see multiple viewpoints and accurately gauge the probable outcomes of potential business decisions -- and then advocate for a particular direction -- are in great demand.

Communication
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Communication

The ability to read, write and speak clearly is critical for job-seekers, even those looking for careers in STEM fields. Candidates who can articulate complex technical concepts and strategies into language an average businessperson can understand will be especially valuable.

Planning and prioritizing
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Planning and prioritizing

Detail-oriented, forward-looking, innovative and creative thinkers are a major asset for global businesses who must decide how and when to devote limited resources to projects.

Research/critical thinking
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Research/critical thinking

Candidates aren't expected to know every answer, but they are expected to know how to look for and find the answers to complex business and technical questions.

Technical skills
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Technical skills

While technical skills are more role- or industry-specific than soft skills, there's hard data available via a recent LinkedIn survey that shows which particular technical skills helped candidates find a job in 2014. And there's a solid consensus in the IT industry around which skills are most sought-after by employers in 2015.

Data security
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Data security

Data security might not come cheaply, but bad press can be even more costly. No one wants to be the next Sony or Anthem.

"Security is top of mind for all businesses, especially as protecting proprietary information becomes more challenging," says Laura McGarrity, vice president of digital marketing strategy with Mondo, "And since employees are now encouraged to use their personal devices for work as well, monitoring company intel and handling BYOD challenges is a serious issue."

Data analysis
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Data analysis

With big data still taking the world by storm, companies are now looking for qualified professionals who can gather, store, analyze, and/or interpret the massive amounts of data being dished out by buyers on a daily basis, according to compensation planning and benchmarking software solutions provider Payscale.com.

The days of companies being lacking consumer data are a thing of the (recent) past -- now, the focus will be on what to do with all that information, how to extract the useful tidbits, and how to translate it into actionable objectives. "Data is now embedded everywhere -- it's critical to have people who have the skills and understanding to make sense of all of the data and create decisions and strategies from it. Data will be the driving force behind how companies utilize and strategize around these new technologies," says Mondo's McGarrity.

Development
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Development

Mobile and Web development will continue to grow as the majority of Internet users access the Web via smartphones and/or tablets. "This momentum shows no signs of slowing down as the mobile market is in demand more than ever. Developers and responsive designers will be faced with making the mobile device experience both easy to use and aesthetically pleasing to deliver a top-notch customer experience," says McGarrity.

Project management
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Project management

Project management might stand out as seemingly less technical than the others on the list, but it's no less crucial. Without effective project management, security, data science and development projects are likely to stall, or organizations will struggle to maintain focus and agility in the face of shifting priorities.

Database management
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Database management

Organizations no longer struggle to gather customer and partner data; the challenge now is how to effectively store, access and analyze that data to drive strategic business decisions, says Mondo's McGarrity. Talent skilled in managing business information, partner and customer data and other information stored in databases will become ever more crucial in a data-driven, digital marketplace.