Do you think your college degree is enough to land a new job? If so, you might want to think again. According to a Career Builder survey, 63% of employers say one of the top questions they’re trying to answer when looking for candidates is, “What are your soft skills?” Yes—you read that right—your soft skills, which may include teamwork and collaboration, problem solving, and conflict resolution. This may be the deciding factor between you another candidate.
“Job seekers may have more of an edge in today’s market as employers grow increasingly competitive for labor, but need to follow new rules of engagement,” says Rosemary Haefner, Chief of Human Resources Officer for Career Builder. “For employers, it’s important to remember that the candidate experience starts from the very first click, and can impact how effectively a company is able to recruit quality candidates, the popularity of its employer brand, the strength and quality of its referrals, and even its bottom line.”
Career Builder compiled a few additional takeaways on what on what both job seekers and employers can do to stand out from the competition.
Here are six facts every job seeker should know about job hunting:
- It may take longer than you think to land the job. The average time it takes to find a job—from the moment a job search begins to the point of accepting an offer—is typically at least two months. Depending on the field and location, it can take even longer, so don’t get frustrated if you don’t get hired right away.
- Companies aren’t done with you, if you don’t get the job offer. Fifty-four percent of employers re-engage with past candidates who were not given job offers. Stay connected by joining an employer’s talent network or signing up to be automatically alerted to new job openings through job sites.
- Your resume is not enough. More than half (53%) of employers say a resume doesn’t provide enough information for them to assess whether someone is a good fit for the job. If you’re just providing a resume, you may lose out. They want to see a cover letter, professional portfolio where applicable, recommendations, and links to social media profiles.
- The competition may be putting in more hours than you. On average, job seekers spend 11 hours a week searching for jobs. Are you putting in more or less time than the competition?
- You may not work in your field of study. One in three people (36%) don’t work in a career related to their degree. Keep an open mind. Employers focus on relevant skills and whether or not you seem trainable enough for the job, so you likely have more career options than you imagined.
- Employers will pay more. With competition heating up for positions at all skill levels, two-thirds (66%) of employers plan to offer higher starting salaries this year. Job seekers are in a better negotiating position, so you want to avoid taking the first offer in most cases.