Top Skills and Attributes Employers Look For

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What skills are most important for companies when they hire? There are some skills and qualities employers require of all applicants, regardless of the position. These are called soft skills. Soft skills include the interpersonal skills and attributes you need to succeed in the workplace. They also include professional skills essential for workplace success.

Aside from these soft skills, there are other more tangible skills you need to do the job effectively. These are called hard skills, and they are the specific knowledge and abilities required to do the job. You’ll need both for most jobs, and it's important to show employers that you have the combination of hybrid skills they need when you're applying and interviewing for jobs.

In order to get your application noticed, be sure to incorporate the skills you have that are required for the position for which you are applying in your resume and cover letter. Also, highlight your most relevant skills during job interviews.

Here are some of the skills employers consider to be the most important when recruiting and hiring employees.

1. Analytical

Employees need to be able to figure things out, so you will need to have some analytic skills to succeed in the workplace. The skills you need and the level of skills required will vary depending on the job and the industry. In conjunction with being able to analyze, employees are expected to be able to organize, plan and prioritize effectively.

2. Communication

The ability to communicate effectively — both verbally and in writing — is essential, no matter what job you have or industry you work in. You will need to be able to communicate effectively with employees, managers and customers in-person, online, in writing and/or over the phone.

3. Interpersonal

Interpersonal skills, also known as people skills, are the skills you use to interact and engage with others. I just heard about someone who was hired because of his ability to connect with people. That trumped the other skills the employer was seeking, so be sure yours are up to par.

Your interpersonal skills will be evaluated during job interviews, so be sure you prepare for the interview. This will make sure you are as comfortable and confident as possible when interviewing.

4. Leadership

When companies hire for leadership roles, they seek employees who can successfully interact with employees, colleagues, clients and others. Even if you're not applying for management jobs, leadership is a valuable skill to bring to the employer.

5. Positive Attitude

Attitude may not be everything, but it’s extremely valuable. Employers want employees who are positive — even in stressful and challenging circumstances. They want to hire applicants with a “can do” attitude who are flexible, dedicated and who are willing to contribute anything extra, if necessary, to get the job done.

6. Teamwork

Regardless of the job, employers want to hire people who are team players — people who are cooperative and work well with others. They don’t want employees who are difficult to work with. When you are interviewing, be sure to share examples of how you worked well on a team.

7. Technical

The technical skills you need will vary, of course, depending on the job. However, most positions require at least some technical skills.

Other Important Skills

These days, technology has helped shape the workforce. That's why many employers also want the people they hire to come equipped with certain technological skills. Scan any of the job postings online, and you'll probably notice a trend.

So it's a good time to brush up on the following skills if you aren't already tech-savvy:

Social media skills: If you're working in a specific field that involves communications, you'll likely need to sharpen your social media skills. This doesn't just mean learning how to use the platforms, though. You should also know how to use these social media sites effectively. Learning how to get your message across on social media will help make you an attractive candidate. So be sure you bring examples of this to the table, too.

Computer skills: Having at least some computer skills is a given in almost any job out there. Most jobs now require some degree of computer literacy, whether that's using Word, Excel or even more advanced software. If there's a specific software that a company is using, you'll probably get trained on it. These may include content management systems (CMSs) or specific data entry tools.

Problem solving skills: This may seem a little like an analytical or interpersonal skill, but problem-solving is often considered a separate skill. You may have to deal with problems that arise that require a quick response and resolution. Being able to think on your feet and solve problems at a moment's notice is an important asset any employer loves to have.

Showcase Your Skills

To be sure you are showing your top skills during your job search, make a list of the skills and qualities that best reflect your background. Incorporate them into your resume and cover letters.

Also think of examples of how you have applied these skills to achieve success on the job, in the classroom or in volunteer work. Share these examples with your interviewers so they know exactly how much of an asset you will be when you're hired.

Need Skills?

Skill sharing has become increasingly popular, allowing people to connect online or in their communities and exchange useful tips, valuable information and invaluable skills. Find out how skill sharing can help you upgrade your skills.

Transferable Skills

If you’re switching jobs or industries, you’ll need to focus on the skills that are transferable from your old position to the new.