What Soft Skills Are Employers Looking For In 2021?


September 02, 2021

The post-pandemic job market is more competitive than ever. At the same time, hybrid and remote work cultures call for specific skills from employees. What are the employers looking for in the right candidate in 2021?


For the workplace of 2021, soft skills play a crucial part in shaping an individual’s personality and increase efficiency at work. This is perhaps why more and more recruiters are looking for candidates that have transferable soft skills in addition to technical or academic hard skills. 


Here are some soft skills that employers are seeking in 2021: 


Adaptability & technology adoption: 

In an ever-changing and unpredictable job market, adaptability is one of the most sought after qualities. Employers want a candidate who can quickly learn advanced technologies and new concepts. The ability to embrace change and handle unanticipated situations is required in today’s workplace.


People who are adaptable display better time management and a willingness to try new things. They are also resourceful and improvising. As an international student, you can give examples of how you adapted to a foreign country and made relevant lifestyle changes. You can mention how you maintained a high-grades or did well in your job despite transitioning from college or office setting to remote/online working. 



There is hardly a job that doesn’t require collaboration. This makes being a team player a sought-after quality. One should have the ability to work in groups without any conflict. A team player fosters cooperation and believes in mutual accountability instead of blaming their coworkers for any failure. 


It is seen that a lack of alignment between colleagues impacts the overall performance of a company. Hence, having an employee who values teamwork is beneficial for businesses. One way to mention your teamwork credentials is by bringing up the group projects that you have done or the community work that you may have undertaken in collaboration with local authorities or nonprofits. 


Writing & Communication:

Author James Humes famously said, “Good communication is the language of leadership.” Good communication skills indicate that you can put your ideas across eloquently and understand what others are saying by noticing all verbal and non-verbal cues. It needs to be noted that communication is not just about expressing yourself but also being a heedful listener. Most international students are well versed in more than one language which expands their scope of communication. 

Additionally, as hybrid and remote work becomes mainstream, it's important to have decent writing skills to be able to express, give feedback, and comprehend instructions over different online chat tools. Your writing skills can make a huge difference in coworker rapport-building, relationship building with clients and customers, and in showing your interest and keenness to learn.



Every company aspires to get employees who utilise their critical thinking to tackle the challenges at the workplace instead of depending on instructions. Problem-solving can be explained in three steps: identify the problem, set an action plan, and then execute that plan. 


Problem-solving is not necessarily about resolving a large crisis but about improving your everyday functioning as well. As an international student, you can give examples from your mundane struggles such as how you addressed complications in your VISA application or dealt with language barriers in a foreign country. 


Strong Work Ethic:

A strong work ethic is needed in every job. Recruiters go for a sincere candidate who adheres to the deadlines, displays honesty, and genuinely wants to give their best. Simple things like always coming to the office on time, dressing up professionally, and maintaining friendly relations with your coworkers display a strong work ethic. Additionally, asking for feedback and subsequently improving your performance based on the review shows a willingness towards self-development. 


Analytical Skills:

Analytical skills such as data interpretation, information gathering, research, and theorising are used in most jobs in one way or another. Whether you are applying for a creative posting or a numerical gig, having sharp analytical skills will always be helpful. Subtle things like observing patterns and determining which detail is relevant amidst information onslaught can help you better understand your job assignment. You can strengthen your analytical skills by doing logical reasoning exercises and mental math. 


Business Acumen:

Business Acumen is popularly known as business sense. It refers to an individual’s ability to understand how a company works in terms of its financial and administrative setting. People with high business acumen are expeditiously able to access the profit and loss equation and make smart decisions that give successful outcomes. They innately understand their target demographic and are able to mould their business strategies to meet the needs of their clients and customers. 


The ability to improve your skillset is also desired in an applicant. Some people inherently have the above-mentioned qualities, but many people develop them through practice and sustained discipline. 


Written by Niharika

Niharika Dabral is a journalist and recent graduate of the Asian College of Journalism. 

Photo by fauxels from Pexels

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