What It Takes for a Young Professional to Get Hired Today

October 10, 2014


Growing up, I remember working hard for good grades but stressing over what I really needed to do to get a job one day. I worked a number of odd jobs to gain valuable skills, and while that experience was important, it wasn’t everything. Developing soft skills was just as important to grow my career.

But which soft skills are employers looking for in young professionals today? This question continues to cause young professionals a great deal of angst. As a researcher at LinkedIn, I wanted to find the answer in order to help young people get hired.  So, my team asked over 1,400 hiring managers from Fortune 500 companies in the US to rank which skills and personality traits they consider to be the most important when hiring young professionals (with 0-3 years of experience).

It turns out, exhibiting specific skills and personality traits may get you further along in the hiring process. Here’s the breakdown:

The most important skills hiring managers look for in young hires are problem-solving (finding solutions when faced with challenges) and being a good learner (learning new skills quickly).

Most important skills

Personality Traits

Survey results show that hiring managers look for young professionals that are collaborative, work hard and have a positive attitude. These personality traits are considered more important than being passionate, organized, resilient or even a leader. It’s not say that the latter aren’t important to have and share in an interview; they’re just less important than working well with others, having a strong work ethic and great attitude.


But that’s not the entire story. Depending on the role, hiring managers may prioritize other skills and personality traits. Specifically, we found that when interviewing/hiring for a….

  • Sales role: Strong oral communication and a positive attitude are essential.
  • Marketing/PR role: Creativity, passion for the work and strong written communication are considered indispensable.
  • Consulting role: Analytical skills and strong written communication are a must-have.

If you’re under 25-years-old and on the job market, or someone giving advice to young professionals, the most important takeaway is to showcase the top skills and traits mentioned above throughout the interview process. And don’t forget to add these skills to your personal LinkedIn profile. It will give you a leg up over the competition since most young professionals don’t think to include these traits on their profile. What are you waiting for -- start working toward your dream job!

For more skills-related research and news, check our blog again next week.

Special thanks to Afrodisia Cuevas and Sohan Murthy for their help in conducting the research.

Methodology: LinkedIn partnered with Circumventure, an organization focused on the future of US education, and surveyed 1,402 US hiring managers who work at Fortune500 companies (in Consulting, CPG, Entertainment/Media, Financial Services, Health/Pharma and Technology). The hiring managers must have experience managing at least one young professional (0-3 years of working experience) in order to take the survey. We asked them “Which of the following skills would you consider to be the most important and least important in order to hire a young professional (0-3 years of experience)?”  This survey was conducted in July 2014. Members who opted in to participate in research studies were contacted via email to take an online survey.