Top 5 Employability Skills

Employability Skills for Resumes, Cover Letters, and Interviews

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Employability skills are the core skills and traits that are needed in nearly every job. These are the general skills that make someone “employable.” Hiring managers almost always look for employees with these skills.

Employability skills are sometimes called foundational skills or job-readiness skills. They are soft skills that allow you to work well with others, apply knowledge to solve problems, and fit into any work environment.

They also include the professional skills that enable you to be successful in the workplace. These are seen as transferable skills because you can apply them to a job in any industry.

Read below for a list of employability skills that employers seek in job candidates. Included is a detailed list of the five most important employability skills, as well as a longer list of even more employability skills.

How to Use Skills Lists

You can use these skills lists throughout your job search process. Firstly, you can use these skill words in your resume. In the description of your work history, you might want to use some of these keywords.

Secondly, you can use these in your cover letter. In the body of your letter, you can mention one or two of these skills, and give a specific example of a time when you demonstrated each of those skills at work.

Finally, you can use these skill words in an interview.

Make sure you have at least one example for a time you demonstrated each of the top five skills listed here.

Of course, each job will require different skills and experiences, so make sure you read the job description carefully, and focus on the skills listed by the employer.

Also review our other lists of skills listed by job and by type of skill.

Top Five Employability Skills


All employers look for job candidates with strong communication skills. Communication refers to one’s ability to convey information clearly to others. Employers want employees with strong written, verbal, and nonverbal communication skills. Part of being a strong communicator also includes being a good listener; employees need to be able to understand the questions and concerns of their clients, and listen to their employer’s directions.


Teamwork is important in almost any work setting. If an employee works on a number of group projects, he or she needs to be able to get along well with others, sharing the workload with colleagues to complete a goal. Even if an employee does not do a lot of team projects, he or she still needs to be able to get along with his or her colleagues, working hard to achieve the company goals.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking refers to one’s ability to understand, analyze, and interpret information, and draw conclusions. In any job, an employee will have to assess situations and solve problems. Employees need to be logical, and make reasoned judgments.


Ethics is a broad category that refers to an employee’s principles.

Companies want employees who understand and follow company rules, are honest and trustworthy, and act professionally and responsibly.

Information Technology (IT) Knowledge

While most employability skills are soft skills, IT is a hard skill that is increasingly required in almost every job. While jobs in the field of IT (such as computer programmers) require extensive IT knowledge, every job requires a little bit of experience with information technology. Employers want job candidates who can use common programs like Microsoft Office, especially Word and Excel. Any other IT experience is almost always considered a plus.

Employability Skills List

Below is a detailed list of employability skills, including the ones described above.

A – D

  • Adaptable
  • Adheres to deadlines
  • Aligned with goals of company
  • Analytical
  • Applied knowledge
  • Attention to detail
  • Collaborative
  • Communication
  • Computing
  • Confidence
  • Conflict resolution
  • Creativity
  • Critical thinking
  • Dependability
  • Digital knowledge

E – O

P – Z

  • Perseverance
  • Personal development
  • Planning
  • Polite
  • Positive attitude
  • Presentation skills
  • Problem solving
  • Professionalism
  • Punctuality
  • Respectful
  • Responsibility
  • Responsive to feedback
  • Self awareness
  • Self discipline
  • Self motivated
  • Self worth
  • Stress management
  • Teamwork
  • Technology
  • Time management
  • Trustworthy
  • Values diversity and difference
  • Verbal communication
  • Willing to learn
  • Works well under pressure
  • Written communication

Skills Lists: Employment Skills Listed by Job | Lists of Skills for Resumes

Related Articles: Soft vs. Hard Skills | How to Include Keywords in Your Resume | List of Keywords for Resumes and Cover Letters