If you aren’t sure which skills to highlight during the job search, here’s something for you.

Express Employment Professionals has released new survey results on the most important hard and soft skills a job applicant should have. The findings come from a survey of 134 Express franchisees across North America, according to a media release.

    “Respondents were asked, “What are the 5 most important soft skills an applicant should have?” At the top of the list, for the third year in a row, was “dependability/reliability” at 72%, followed by motivation (48%), verbal communication (44%), team work (39%), and commitment (39%).

    “Respondents were also asked, “What are the 3 most important hard skills an applicant should have?” Experience topped the list with 95%, followed by technical ability (67%) and training (60%). Education came in fourth at 34%.

The latter part is a little weird, as “experience” is not what I typically think of as a “hard skill,” which is more like coding Python or building Omniture dashboards. “Training” might be a hard skill, if it means training others and not just having training oneself, and “technical ability” could be just about anything.

But the soft skills are useful.

“While we’ve seen some fluctuation year to year in the skills ranking, it’s clear that the best job applicant is one who can show experience and demonstrate dependability,” said Bob Funk, CEO of Express, in the release. “After all, if an employer can’t depend on you, then nothing else matters.

“On the hard skills side, it’s always noteworthy to see that education doesn’t make the top three. That’s not to say education doesn’t matter, but it is an important reminder that when looking for a job, an applicant should connect his or her education with the real-world skills and talents the specific employer needs.”

Meanwhile, our own recent research on the most common skills listed in Canadian job postings found that communication skills were most in demand. The top ten most common in our study were:

    Communication skills
    Customer relations
    Organizational skills
    Microsoft office
    Policy analysis
    Supervisory skills/leadership
    Problem solving

I think the most important thing we can take away from this is that it pays come across as trustworthy and nice. Maybe not the most earth-shattering revelation but something many people still need to learn.