Top 10 Skills that Employers want

Monday, June 25th, 2012 - Skills Qualifications Experiences

Top 10 Skills

that Employers want

I often get asked, what are the top skills that employers want?

As we are coming up to graduation season – post examination period for schools, colleges and universities, when most graduates actually start job seeking – I expect to get asked this question more and more over the next two to three months.

Skills v Skills?

My first problem with putting any list down, is that from an employers view point application counts as much as capability. Secondly, while any one can claim a skill, but the deciding point for the employer is:

  • Have you ever applied it (ie: where’s the evidence)
  • Who will supportthat claim (ie: where’s the supporting reference?)

Hence, like most, the skills that I am about to outline are classical competencies. But, remember that in the eyes of the employer, application and referencing count as much if not more than any claimed skill.

Top 10 skills

  1. Verbal Communication: able to express your ideas clearly and confidently in speech. Simply put, if you can’t communicate/be spoken to, then it makes it difficult for you to work
  2. Teamwork: Work confidently within a group. In all jobs you will be working with others, be they your manager, work colleagues, customers or suppliers
  3. Commercial Awareness: Understand the commercial realities affecting the organisation. All organisations, be they private or public, charity or third sector, have comercial realities to live within
  4. Problem Solving: able to gather information systematically to establish facts and principles, identifying possible solutions, and being able to debate why you choose one in particular
  5. Self Motivation: able to act on your own initiative, in identifying opportunities. Proactive in putting forward ideas and solutions
  6. Drive: determination to get things done, and make things happen. Constantly looking for better ways of doing things
  7. Written Communication: able to express yourself clearly in writing
  8. Planning & Orgainsation: able to plan both your own work and group activities/workload, and then manage them through effectively
  9. Flexibility: adapt successfully to changing situations and environments. Orgaisations are constantly chnaging and needing to adapt to new working a commercial enviornments. Can you keep up with these in your market/company?
  10. Time Management: manage time effectively, prioritising tasks and able to work to deadlines.

Skills v Power Words

The list was compiled from a number of sources, but the first thing that struck me as a recruiter and Professional CV Writer was:

  • How many actually are required/essential skills
  • How many were also CV Power Words

What worries me most at present about many CV’s that we see at this time of the year, is that they will be splattered like a Jackson Pollock painting with both claimed skills, and power words. It’s like there’s a current trend to do this, much like wearing Gucci.

However, the problems arise when these job applications arrive on our job applications desk:

  1. They have not been adjusted to reflect the requirements of our job adverts
  2. If they have, the power words and skills out rank our requirements, and we have to dig deep to find them
  3. When we do find them, there is no evidence of application of the claimed skill or any thought to support through a reference

So please don’t go using this list like an artists colour work board! Don’t think that just because I have written these down for you, that by using them you will gain instant employment: err, you won’t!

Follow the 5 Steps To Employment system, and you will see where these skills fit in to communicating your suitability to do that job or jobs.

Good Luck!


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photo by: bisgovuk
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