Jobseekers Only Match 59 Percent of Hard Skills and 62 Percent of Soft Skills in Job Ads, New LiveCareer Study Reveals

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 24, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Is there a skills gap in the U.S., or are employers merely failing to find and attract the right talent for their open roles? With job-hunting season in full swing again this January, LiveCareer, which has helped more than 10 million jobseekers from around the world develop the application tools they need to get the job they want, revealed today new data that sheds light on employer-jobseeker friction in the marketplace. 

The study, conducted in conjunction with TIRO Communications, analyzed thousands of resumes and job ads across 12 different occupations to reveal some significant skills-based disparities and commonalities, including the fact that jobseekers only match, on average, 59 percent of hard skills in job ads and 62 percent of soft skills. 

“At a time when automation could exacerbate the existing divide between organizational needs and worker capabilities, it’s crucial that both employers and jobseekers work to overcome these challenges,” explained Senior Vice President of Strategy & Corporate Development Shon Dellinger. “We've seen jobseekers reduce their job search by 45 to 50 days by utilizing resume building and customizing solutions, and companies should be wary of relying too heavily on automated skills matching solutions and should also look to invest in formal training, education, and coaching and development programs." 

The analysis also revealed that soft skills, specifically communication and customer service skills, play an essential role for employers, including for those filling tech-centric roles (such as software developers, accountants, and registered nurses), but that jobseekers often overlook these capabilities on their resumes. 

Workers who want to truly excel in today’s quickly evolving labor market will not only need to master new technical skills; they’ll also need to nurture, develop, and better articulate crucial soft skills when writing application materials. 

Key Findings: 

  • There is a significant mismatch in the skills requirements listed in job postings and those noted in applicant resumes. Individual job ads contain an average of 21.8 skills, while resumes list an average of only 13 skills.
  • Jobseekers currently only match 59 percent of the hard skill requirements stated in job ads and 62 percent of the soft skills. Those who work in tech (or in tech-centric roles) should make a particular effort to include soft skills in their resumes as employers in these industries still highly value soft skills.
  • Blue-collar workers are less successful in matching their resumes to employers’ stated skills requirements than white-collar workers. White-collar jobseekers match hard skills 1.8x better than their blue-collar counterparts. For soft skills, the data reveals they are more important for blue-collar professions, though white-collar jobseekers match these skills 42 percent better than blue-collar workers. 


  • Employers could have more success identifying qualified candidates if they employ less rote-automated keyword analysis when screening resumes. Allowing for more nuances in keyword searches would help employers create a larger pool of qualified candidates.
  • For jobseekers, resume customization is vital, and when applicants carefully study job ads and mimic the language used in the ads precisely, they can boost their chances of landing an interview. Doing so will prevent qualified candidates from being eliminated by applicant tracking systems (ATSs) that can’t comprehend nuance in language.
  • Jobseekers must find better ways to articulate popular universal soft skills in their resumes (and, subsequently, in job interviews). Some of these skills, like customer service, are increasingly seen as must-have skills, even in occupations where they have traditionally been thought to be irrelevant, such as software developers.
  • Jobseekers can use the skills listed in job ads to help them identify holes in their skill sets and find the training they need to cultivate skills that will make them more competitive in the marketplace. 


Study Methodology: 

The study took a “big data” approach to analyzing over 3,000 resumes and job ads across 12 different occupations: caregiver, accountant, sales associate, registered nurse, server, bartender, administrative assistant, customer service representative, software developer, cashier, teacher, and store manager. Together, employment in these occupations makes up nearly a quarter of the workforce. 

The study leveraged Cognition Insights, an NLP tool created by TIRO Communications, to analyze both job ads and resumes as singular data sets as well as to dig into job ad-resume alignment and divergence. 

About LiveCareer:
LiveCareer, a subsidiary of BOLD LLC, is the number one resource for jobseekers to find information, guidance, and support for their careers. Since 2005, LiveCareer has helped more than 10 million people globally boost their chances of finding a job in less time. That includes providing jobseekers with resume templates that can help them build stronger resumes and cover letters, as well as providing interview prep tools and original content that can help candidates target their job search and move forward on their chosen career path. 

About TIRO Communications:
The award-winning team at TIRO Communications works with fast-growth startups to large enterprises to help them deliver content marketing, customer marketing, and demand-generation programs that listen to the entire orchestra and not simply the individual instruments. This integrated marketing approach enables clients to generate better business outcomes around brand awareness and engagement, increased lead generation and funnel advancement, and revenue growth. TIRO Communications’ Cognition Insights technology-enabled service combines numerical and natural language data to produce actionable insights used by marketing, sales, product, and support organizations.

Media Contact: 

Stephanie Katz

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

Top 20 Soft Skills in Job Ads in 2018