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Top 5 Soft Skills That Startups Look For In Applicants

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Contrary to popular belief, many startups aren’t only looking for technology experts. In fact, studies have shown that employees who possess certain soft skills are often more successful in their roles with startups than those who are more technically proficient but lack the essential personality traits or qualities.

So, if you possess any of the following soft skills, be sure to highlight them on your resume whenever you apply for a startup position to help boost your chances of getting hired.


Excellent communication skills are crucial for working at a startup. The environment at startups is often fast-paced, and the ability to not only keep up but also to contribute your ideas in a clear and concise manner is essential. Plus, good communication increases the chances that you will be able to work effectively with the existing team.

You can even highlight subcategories of communication skills if applicable, such as verbal, written, and/or non-verbal (i.e. body language) communication. Or, you could mention your expertise with writing grant proposals, persuasion, presentation, or other tangential communication skills.


Things change quickly in a startup, so flexibility and adaptability are enormously helpful soft skills. Those who thrive in a routine work environment likely won’t be successful in a startup, but if you can easily pivot and roll with the punches, be sure to demonstrate that on your resume.

Willingness to learn and the ability to learn quickly lend themselves to being flexible in the workplace. As the business grows and changes, you might need to learn a whole new system, only to have it replaced by yet another new system a short time later. If you are all about using the latest and greatest tools and staying at the bleeding edge of your industry, you’ll likely fit right in at a startup.


Resourcefulness is also a highly desirable skill for startup applicants. Startups are often operating with limited budgets, time, and/or manpower to start, so you’ll need to be able to think outside the box on how to solve problems with what you have on hand.

Another big part of startups is scalability, so if you can resourcefully come up with ways to scale up production or automate a tedious task with the limited tools that you have, your contributions will be quite valuable to the team.


Startups are generally looking for candidates who take initiative and don’t need to be told exactly what to do. This is really a skill family that encompasses aspiration, self-improvement, creativity, and all the other qualities that enable you to come up with great ideas, present them, and implement them.


Finally, perseverance is essential for startup job candidates. Not all startups will be successful right away, so the ability and drive to stick with a project until it’s completed is an excellent thing to highlight on your resume. Chances are high that there will be some chaos involved in working at a startup, so candidates who have a proven record of pushing through difficult times to ultimately succeed will have a better shot at scoring an interview at a startup and ultimately getting hired.


Kossi Adzo is the editor and author of He is software engineer. Innovation, Businesses and companies are his passion. He filled several patents in IT & Communication technologies. He manages the technical operations at

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