Employment Skills: What Are They Really Looking For?

Weaknesses For InterviewsIn today’s economy, it helps have a wide variety of employment skills. Throughout the course of your career, you’ll likely change companies, positions and locations on a number of occasions. Because of this, it’s important not to be stuck with the skills you need for only one particular career path. While you don’t need to be a master of both quantum physics and journalism, it’s important to perfect a certain handful of transferrable skills that are widely desired in most career paths. From interpersonal skills to leadership, here are ten employment skills that you shouldn’t be without.

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Interpersonal Skills

Think back to all of the jobs you have held in your lifetime. When have you held a job that didn’t require any human interaction? While these jobs certainly exist, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll find yourself completely alone throughout the course of your career. Potential employers can gauge your interpersonal skills as early as the first interview, so it’s important to work on these first. Your ability to effectively interact with others allows you to succeed in customer / client satisfaction, effectively engage in teamwork, negotiate with others, make decisions and create healthy professional relationships with your peers.

Communication Skills

planningWhile this certainly ties into your interpersonal skills, it’s important that you know how to communicate with others, both verbally and in writing. This includes knowing how to make good eye contact while having a conversation with someone, understanding how to write clearly and concisely, and knowing how to alter the way you write or speak depending on your particular audience at the time. Good communication skills also include good listening skills. You should be able to listen to others and gain valuable information, which can help you better understand the company and its processes.

Critical Thinking Skills

Understanding how to make decisions and solve problems by coming up with creative solutions is a huge asset to any company. Those who know how to take a look at all of the facts and come up with a solution without being guided every step of the way make any manager’s job much, much easier. Critical thinking skills require the ability to gather information from reputable sources, effectively analyze the information in order to come up with a variety of different solutions, and select the solution that will benefit the company the most, without hurting others in the process. Those with this particular set of skills are valuable to any company due to their ability to think outside of the box and keep the company moving forward.


What sort of company would want an employee who doesn’t bother showing up to work on time, constantly forgets to finish important assignments and doesn’t ever go the extra mile? In order to succeed at your job, you must enjoy what you are doing. Otherwise, you’ll have no drive to actually excel and continue to move up in the ranks. When a company hires employees that they know are dependable and will constantly be striving to make themselves and the company better, it puts less strain on the company as a whole.

Personal Development

While personal development loosely ties into commitment, it also goes beyond that. Those with a strong sense of personal development are always striving to do better. They eagerly listen to everything their managers have to say, they are constantly trying to go the extra mile, and they seek out ways to gain knowledge so that they can continue to move up the ladder. Most jobs include change in one form or another, whether it be within the office or the company as a whole, so employees are expected to be flexible and adaptive to anything that may come their way.

Basic IT Skills

accelerated learning techniquesWhile you don’t need to be a computer whiz in every career path out there, having a basic knowledge of computers and Microsoft products gives you a leg up. Being computer literate requires a basic understanding of the way computers work, being able to do research on the internet and using various programs to create presentations and send emails. Many jobs (especially those in an office) require an understanding of Excel, Word, Outlook and PowerPoint. The more computer literate you are, the better your chance of employment.


When have you ever been required to only be doing one thing during your job? Wouldn’t it be great if you were given one assignment, an unlimited amount of time to complete it, and were only assigned something else once you had completed the initial assignment? Unfortunately, this is hardly ever the case. Even if you’re not working on five huge projects at once, you’re likely required to attend a staff meeting in-between working on an important presentation in-between responding to hundreds of emails. If you aren’t able to multi-task, you should start practicing now. Those without good multi-tasking skills will quickly fall behind in the workplace.

Organization Skills

In order to multi-task effectively, you have to be organized. Oftentimes you’ll be assigned a particular project which requires careful planning and time management, as well as the ability to separate the task into smaller, more manageable tasks that all must be completed within a certain amount of time. You’ll need to understand who to contact in case of trouble, how to arrange files so that you can find them quickly and easily, and how to organize your desk or office in order to streamline the process.

Positive Attitude

Employee AppreciationA positive attitude is necessary for everything in life, not just excelling in your career. Walking into your first interview with a smile on your face will automatically give your potential employer a good first impression. Walking into your first day on the job with a smile on your face will give all of your coworkers a good first impression as well. If something goes wrong, negativity does not help solve any problems. Having a positive outlook will give you the courage you need to take a step back, look at the situation as a whole, and determine how to best go about solving it. You’ll be able to communicate more effectively, and people will be more apt to want to listen to what you have to say. Having a positive attitude can help everyone else around you have a positive attitude as well – happiness is contagious.


Effective leadership skills come with a high level of self-confidence. If you don’t believe in yourself, it is incredibly difficult to get others to believe in you. You must first get rid of any self-doubt and negativity that may be residing within you. Leadership skills require many of the skills already listed. You must be able to work in a team, communicate effectively, and constantly be striving for the greater good of yourself, your coworkers, and your company. It’s important to be assertive yet understanding; being able to take things under your own control while respecting the opinions and ideas of others around you. Showing that you have strong leadership skills is one of the first steps to gaining a valuable promotion.

These Skills Will Help You Time and Time Again

If you walk into a job interview with all ten of these skills under your belt – and you are able to show that to your potential employer – then you already have a leg up on your competition. While these skills aren’t developed overnight, you can be actively working to improve on them every single day. Think about which of these skills you are lacking in, and make it a goal to improve on them.

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