22 Jun

3 Skills Employers Look For – Expert Opinions

skills employers look for

Are you having trouble finding a job? Do you struggle with interviews?

These can be challenging tasks, I get it!

We are here to help you figure out exactly how you can appeal to employers by learning which skills employers look for. This way, you know which qualities to focus on during your interview.

It's time to take a step back, assess yourself and situation, and put yourself in the perfect position to lock down that job you have been searching for!

So, exactly what do employers look for? Let's start with communication skills…

Communication Skills

Effective communication skills are an absolutely essential quality that almost all employers look for. Understanding the benefits of effective communication (both verbal and nonverbal) could potentially be the difference between getting the job and not getting the job.

No matter what, you cannot get around communication. The first component to human interaction is communication, which is why it bleeds into every aspect of everything we do. Keeping that concept in mind, it is easy to understand why employers place such great value on effective communication.

Things always run much smoother in the workplace when everyone is working together. Think about it, people who have great communication skills are more than capable of effectively working with a team. You may have a diverse group of coworkers with different ideas and values, for example, but everyone is there for a reason. Effective communication helps you to understand others, come together, and effectively perform your job. Team building and employee morale are results of effective communication. Teams that work together are typically highly productive, and have high levels of integrity.

Mark Dyson, founder of thevoiceofjobseekers.com, had this to say about communication skills…

“It's the understanding of how to relate to a variety of personalities, handling difficult clients and problems,  and communicating satisfaction or dissatisfaction.”

Effective workplace communication, at all levels, clearly contributes to an overall healthy work environment.

It is so important to display your communication skills during the interview. You want to impress the interviewer and show him, that you do in fact, have those precious communication skills that he/she is looking for.

Below, there is a list of a few ways you can improve your communication skills:

  • Actively listen- Many of us forget how to listen. For example, let whoever you are speaking to say what they have to say without interrupting. It is rude to interrupt others, and employers want you to value what others have to say.
  • Think before you speak- This is a huge one. You have to tailor your messages to the audience you are speaking to, especially in an interview. Also, you should up your empathy. This will you understand others and even develop relationships, which is exactly what you want. You want to make the employer like you.
  • Ask questions/remain interested & aware- If you are actively communicating during the interview, the employer will notice. It is a sign that you are taking the job seriously. You are making it clear that you want the job!
  • Be aware of your body language- Many people fail to understand how important your body language. For example, if you are interviewing in a slouched, relaxed, nonchalant manor, you may decrease your chance of getting the job.

Problem Solving Skills

The ability to problem solve is another one of the top vital skills that employers look for. This one is pretty self explanatory. When a problem arises, you have to have the ability to figure out a solution.

It might be difficult to actually display your problem solving skills in an interview, so it may be smart to take a different approach. Before you go into the interview, you should already have examples of previous situations in which you have displayed problem solving skills.

You can then refer to those experiences and relate them to the job that you are interviewing for. This will go a long way with employers, as well as show them you are capable of overcoming any obstacles in your way.

Director of lifeandmyfinances.com, Derek Sall noted…

“The #1 quality/skill that employers look for today is the ability to identify problems AND come up with fantastic solutions. How do you attain this skill? You need to put down your cell phone and think.”

To become a better problem solver, you need to break the process down into four steps. Those steps include:

  1. Identify the problem
    • Think about the problem, and determine the origin of the problem. This will help you determine what happened and why it happened. This will help you figure out how to prevent it from happening in the future.
  2. Propose solutions
    • List potential resolutions for your problem, and be sure to list the risks and benefits associated with each one.
  3. Evaluate Options
    • Work as a team, weighing out how those risks/benefits will effect your company.
    • More experienced team members are important for this step, because they have the most knowledge of the company. Chances are they have been in a similar question, so it is always good to value experienced opinions.
  4. Implement a solution
    • Take your time, as a team, and assess the impact of your evaluated options.
    • This can be done through evaluation the way you approached previous problems. Chances are you have learned from your previous approach, so you can improve upon it, and implement the best solution.

Planning & Organizing Work Skills

Being able to plan and organize your work is extremely important. Planning and organizational skills are some of the most important skills a worker can possess. Essentially, these are the kind of skills that make your job easier, save time, and cut down on guess work. I don't know about you, but it feels good to be organized and be on top of my work.

It may be hard to display these skills during an interview as well, but when you get the job, your employer will quickly notice if you have these skills or if you do not.

I will break these skills down so that you will be an expert in no time…

Organizing and planning go hand and hand. Organizing is important because it puts you in the position to follow your plan in a timely fashion.  Organizational skills in the workplace could potentially include:

  • General organizing
  • Time management
  • Coordinating resources
  • Meeting deadlines.
  • Planning/Scheduling

Planning is important because it helps you get ahead. I think the best way to plan is to make a schedule at the beginning of each week. Your schedule should assign time periods to specific tasks every day. This is especially useful for tasks that have a due date or a some kind of time period.

If you do not like the sounds of having every minute of every day planned out, that is completely okay. In this case, you would still create a plan. You could simply list out everything you have to do in the day, maybe most important to least important. From there, you would just work on your own time. As long as everything is completed by the end of the day, you are on the right path!

Planning is especially useful for staying on task.

Derek Sall went on to say…

“Get off social media, stop reading the gossipy news, and actually look around…and think. Most people don't do this anymore. For those of you that still do, you'll excel, and excel quickly.”

He makes it clear, stay on task! Practicing skills such as planning and organizing give you a platform for you being able to do so.

Personal Quality: Passion & Desire

Not so much a skill, but rather a quality that employers look for is passion & desire, which are more important than most people think.

In most cases, skills can be taught, but passion can't be. In fact, I've never heard of somebody having the skill of being passionate. Obviously, you can't be passionate about a job that you really do not care about, which is why you should pursue a career that you are passionate about. If you are going to be working in a specific field every day, you want to enjoy the work!

Many employers look for people that are passionate about their area of work. Chances are that the employer can quickly tell if you are excited and passionate about that specific career path.

Victoria Crispo, from idealistcareers.org, weighed in…

“Make sure your passion goes beyond “I want to help” and that you demonstrate a strong understanding of the cause area. Make sure you're not just scratching the surface but really understand the ins and outs of the organization and how it does its work.”

Victoria Crispo does a lot of non-profit work, which is yet another industry that builds valuable experience that employers like to see. If you want to read more about what she's written, check out her course “Reboot Your Nonprofit Resume.”

In conclusion, it is important be aware of the skills employers look for. If you actively practice and try to improve your communication skills, problem solving skills, and planning/organizing skills, it could be the difference between getting a job and not getting a job. These skills combined with a genuine passion for the line of work you are in is a recipe for success in your professional life.

For a comprensive guide full of tips on how to get a job, click here!