Every job-seeker has at one point had this question cross their mind: “What skills and traits are employers looking for?” Especially as a new graduate, job hunting can be a bit of a scary time trying to find your first real job out of school. Most job-seekers wish they could unlock the secret formula to winning the hearts and minds of employers. While every job is different and each employer is looking for a specific set of skills, there are some employee traits that are universal across the board that employers are looking for. The good news is that most job seekers possess these skills to some extent.
Here are the top three skills that you can use to your advantage that employers are looking for:
- Communication Skills – By far, the one skill mentioned most often by employers is the ability to listen, write, and speak effectively. Employers want to make sure that you can communicate in various mediums including writing emails, taking phone messages, writing to-do lists, talking on the phone, taking down meeting notes, listening and following directions, leading a presentation, and providing feedback to others. Successful communication is a critical skill to have in any career.
- Analytical/Technical Skills – Every job out there requires you to think and learn. So it’s important that you have the ability to not only assess a situation and come up with a solution, but you need to also have the ability to research and understand how to properly do your job. Employers are ultimately looking for an employee who will be efficient with their work and doing their job. Employees that have the skills to come up with a solution in a timely manner (whether that means asking someone for help or using a specific tool) are often highly-valued workers.
- Interpersonal Skills – Even if you fit all the skills in a job posting, an employer will refuse to hire you if they don’t feel that you fit into the company culture well. The ability to relate to your co-workers, inspire others to participate, and mediate conflict with co-workers is essential, especially when you think about how much of your life is spent at work. These “soft skills” can be viewed as just as important to employers as the other “hard skills” listed in job descriptions. At the end of the day, we all want to work in a positive environment and employers admire employees who can work well with others, no matter the difference in personalities and circumstances.
There are many other valuable and employable skills and traits out there that employers are looking for, but based on my experience and numerous job interviews I’ve been on throughout my life, these are the top three most wanted. Skills are the critical tools and traits you need to succeed in the workplace — and they are all elements that you can learn, develop, and maintain over your lifetime.
– Rebecca Bartley
Public Relations ‘14
Follow Rebecca @rbartleyann