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Job hunters, don't overlook your "soft skills"

When you're interviewing for a job, it's critical to show you have the hard skills the employer is asking for. After all, who's going to hire an accountant who doesn't know accounting? But a new survey by CareerBuilder finds that hiring managers and human resources people are looking just as closely at your "soft skills."

According to CareerBuilder, here are the top 10 soft skills that managers want to see in candidates:

1) A strong work ethic - 73 percent

2) Dependable - 73 percent

3) Positive attitude - 72 percent

4) Self-motivated - 66 percent

5) Team-oriented - 60 percent

6) Organized, can manage multiple priorities - 57 percent

7) Works well under pressure - 57 percent

8) An effective communicator - 56 percent

9) Flexible - 51 percent

10) Confident - 46 percent

It's easy in a résumé to list your hard skills, but writing about soft skills can be difficult. Management guru Alison Green, author of "How to Get a Job: Secrets of a Hiring Manager," gives some samples for soft skill descriptions on résumés:

--Built reputation for working successfully with previously unhappy clients (effective communicator)

--Became go-to staff member for relaying complicated medical information to patients of diverse backgrounds (team-oriented, flexible)

--Sought out by doctor and practice manager to write and edit client correspondence, exam notes and Web content (can manage multiple priorities)

You should go through your résumé and see where you can emphasize these soft skills. Don't, of course, just list them, but demonstrate how you've used them within your job.

Hiring managers should also evaluate what soft skills really are needed. Not every job requires flexibility and good communication, and you may inadvertently eliminate the person best qualified for the actual job by requiring the same skills for every position.

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