Clients ranked “performance skills–soft skills like communication, team player, flexible, etc” an entire point higher than anything else, an average of 4.0 out of 5.0 points. This was significantly higher than technical skills, experience level, work samples or work history, all at 2.6-2.9 out of 5.0. Of those four items “work samples, examples of the candidate’s previous work” was next in importance. But they truly all are very close. So, beyond performance skills clients are looking at all of those categories equally.
When asked “for software or technical skills what level is acceptable for a candidate to be considered?”, the answer was overwhelmingly “Intermediate is best, they should have some experience.” Only a few clients were okay with a beginner, and a few wanted experts only.
What does this mean to you? Make sure you can comfortably say your technical and software skills are at an intermediate level, if you learn something new show a few samples of work to prove your experience. For example, if you are moving from print design into interactive, designing and launching a few active sites that you can show an employer will be much more effective than only having taken training or classes. Exercises from a class generally look like it and would be considered “beginner”, make sure you are showing professional-level examples of your work that feel “intermediate” in experience.
And when putting together a resume or interviewing be sure you are including technical skills, experience, work history and samples, in addition to featuring where you have demonstrated the performance skills we know they are looking for.