For Employers, Skills Are Now More Important Than Traditional Qualifications

LinkedIn and Microsoft are offering courses and certifications to help job hunters grow their skills.

Apart from the Thanos Snap effect that the pandemic has had over employment (one day you’re in, the next day you’re packing your virtual stuff in a virtual box), the global event has also changed the way businesses are hiring people. According to LinkedIn, “the skills needed to succeed in a job” are now more important to employers than traditional qualifications. 

In other words, how you manage a complex problem, which is one of the top skills of 2025, is as—or even more important—than how many years you’ve invested in your field. The professional networking service further points out that “77 percent of hiring managers and recruiters have made skills and competencies the focus of job descriptions at least once in the last year.” On the flip side, job seekers “have spent 43 million hours acquiring a new skill” in 2020.

LinkedIn and Microsoft support this shifting attitude and, more important, want to help you, along with millions of other job seekers and workers, develop your skills and then connect these with opportunities in the reshaped economy. To be specific, the biz giants are offering free courses, low-cost certifications, and new resources that will help you adapt to the skills-based future.

Highlights of the initiative include the Microsoft Career Connector, which “intends to place 50,000 job seekers in tech-enabled jobs,” and supercharged (read: personalized and expressive) profile features on LinkedIn. The latter, says the platform, will enable “members stand out in their professional communities.”

Some key features of the enhanced LinkedIn profile include the Video Cover Story¸ which will allow you to present your soft skills more effectively to hiring managers, and New Creator Mode, which, made for those who want to increase their following, adds a “follow” button and hashtags to the profile.


“In 2021, we will continue our efforts to equip job seekers with the right resources to pick up new skills and connect them to opportunities, as well as aim to help 250,000 organizations make a skills-first hire,” says Olivier Legrand, managing director and vice president of LinkedIn Asia Pacific & China.

As for the top skills that you’d want to focus on to thrive in the new landscape, the World Economic Forum’s “Future of Jobs” report identifies, among others, analytical thinking, originality, social influence, and resilience. That last one, along with stress tolerance and flexibility (also top skills), might be something that you’ve already developed in the great upheaval of 2020. If you want to learn and grow even more, take advantage of these resources that are now at your fingertips.

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Clifford Olanday
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