7 Soft Skills Employers Want, and Older Job Seekers Have

While the word “soft” might downplay their importance, soft skills are crucial for a successful team.

Employers look for soft skills when hiring candidates across almost any field of work. Whether you work in sales, food service, finance, administration, or any other trade, you will need strong soft skills.

The good news for older job seekers? Soft skills are best learned through time and experience. Many older adults possess the soft skills necessary to get the job done.

What are soft skills?

Soft skills are non-technical skills that relate to how you work. They include how you solve problems, deal with co-workers and customers, and manage your work.

Soft skills include a person’s interpersonal skills, or “people” skills. This could include time management, communication, listening, empathy, and more.

Hiring managers look for soft skills in candidates. Unlike technical skills, soft skills can be transferable from job to job and make an employee adaptable. A person might be very good at job-specific skills, but if they cannot work with a team, they may be unsuccessful.

Soft skills are especially important for those who work with customers, clients, or patients. Being able to communicate and solve problems is essential in these positions.

Older workers tend to have strong soft skills because of their life experience. They are confident, have acquired years of knowledge, and have learned from past interactions. Employers should strive to build an age-diverse workplace take note of older candidates when hiring for jobs that require soft skills.

Soft skills that employers want and older workers have


Older adults who are looking to re-enter the workforce should remember to include soft skills when creating a resume. Here are seven soft skills that employers look for.



Dependability in the workplace is a quality that means your employers and co-workers can count on you. You can be depended on to do what you say you will do, when you say you will do it.


Studies show that older workers tend to be more reliable and consistent compared to their younger counterparts.


Work ethic

Work ethic is the attitude you have to get the job done. Those with a strong work ethic believe in the importance of their work and strive to meet expectations. Work ethic is a cornerstone character trait in many older adults.



These days, it is so important for employees to be able to shift with changes. Flexibility helps a workforce transition smoothly and continue even when things don’t go as planned. In many cases, older adults have experienced the unexpected in their professional and personal lives, and have had to learn how to adapt.


Communication skills are key to any job. The ability to communicating well with employees, managers, and customers is important in person, in writing, and over the phone. Older adults have had time to develop their interpersonal skills and communicate effectively.



Issues are bound to come up in the workplace. Being able to solve them quickly and effectively is crucial. Older adults are open to learning new ways of doing things and can lean on solutions that have worked in the past.


Critical thinking

Critical thinking is the ability to analyze information and form a reasonable judgment from it. You must look at a set of information, decipher what is useful, and use it to solve a problem or make a decision. Older adults tend to have strong critical thinking skills.



Teamwork skills show leadership, collaboration, and good communication. Employees who can work well together not only create a positive work environment, they are also more productive.

Employers look for candidates who demonstrate their ability to work with people with different viewpoints and experiences. Older workers can work well as leaders and as part of a team.

Are you an older job seeker trying to re-enter the workforce? The Senior Community Service Employment Program provides paid training to help those age 55 and older reach their career goals. Start your application online today or call 1-800-554-5335 for more information.

*The information in this article is intended solely to provide general information on matters of interest for the personal use of the reader, who accepts full responsibility for its use. This article should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal, medical, or other competent advisors.

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