Top 10 Key Skills for Any Job: What Employers Want

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Have you got the skills that employers are looking for? If you’re on the hunt for a job, there are certain skills and competencies that you’ll want to highlight in your job applications and demonstrate at interviews.

While the industry and roles you are considering will require their own specialist skills and knowledge, there are a number of general capabilities that are essential for career success and extremely desirable for employers.

Whether you’ve only just graduated or have years of expertise and experience to bring to the table, employers want to see these top 10 key skills.

1. Communications skills

Communication skills are to do with your ability to put across your own thoughts and ideas as well as how you listen to others. Employers want to see great verbal and written communication skills, as ultimately, you will be required to communicate with a range of people throughout your working life.

You can demonstrate your written communication skills early with your CV and covering letter. Is your message clear, concise and easy to read? Is your application professional? Are there any spelling or grammatical errors?

As you (hopefully) move through to interview stages, you then have a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate your verbal communication and listening skills. You can also tell employers about examples of when you have used your communication skills. For example, when you have had to speak publicly or make a presentation, or when you have written for a student newspaper or blog.

2. Commercial awareness

Commercial awareness is all about understanding how a business and industry works. Your commercial awareness will develop naturally as you gain experience, however, for recent graduates, a lack of commercial awareness can be their downfall during the recruitment process. Indeed, according to the Association of Graduate Recruiters, it is the number one skill that graduates lack!

3. Teamwork

The success of any business relies on a team of people working together to achieve a common goal. Naturally then, employers want to hire good team players that effectively contribute and take direction within a team.

4. Leadership

Another important part of being in a team is being able to motivate and lead others. This is a desirable skill whether you are applying for a management position or not. Can you manage and delegate tasks well? Do you lead by example?

5. Resilience

Resilience is a skill and key quality that employers are increasingly placing value on. It’s to do with how you cope with setbacks and changes at work. Can you adapt quickly? Can you maintain a positive attitude? Are you driven and able to motivate yourself no matter what happens?

6. Confidence

Employers want to see that you are confident in yourself and your abilities. We know that anxiety and self-doubt can prevent us from realising our potential, so if you’re lacking in confidence be sure to make it a priority to develop this key skill.

NOTE: It’s important to strike the right balance between confidence and arrogance. Here are some tips on how to promote yourself at work without sounding big-headed.

7. Organisation

Organisation is an important skill to have as it enables you to effectively manage and prioritise your workload. Employers look for employees who can manage their time well, work productively and meet deadlines. Think about what examples you can use and how you can highlight your organisation skills in your CV.

8. Influencing skills

Can you persuade others, win them around to your way of thinking and negotiate effectively? Influencing skills are extremely valuable in the workplace. Discover 6 influencer tools here.

9. Problem-solving skills

Problems crop up at work in every role and employers want people who can think logically and analytically to solve any problem. Have an example of when you have used your problem-solving skills ready before interviews, as employers may ask you about them.

10. Positivity

Positive thinking is part skill and part attitude, but either way it has a big impact on your success at work. If you’re a positive person, you will have a positive impact on the rest of your team and will be more likely to achieve your goals at work. Plus, people like positive people!

Bringing it all together

Possessing these employability skills will certainly boost your chances of job search and career success. You should aim to acquire them early with part-time jobs and work experience and then continue to build upon them further throughout your career.

About the Author

Bridgewater Graduates offer sales, management and a variety of other commercial graduate jobs with market-leading businesses across the UK.

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