The job search in 2021 requires patience, diligence, and often having to respond to individualized queries from recruiters. Even virtual interviews can be a part of the applications on some career sites where the individual records a series of answers on the computer in response to the job site’s questions. It’s not your father’s or mother’s job search.

So, what are the top 10 skills employers are looking for?

  1. Computer literacy 
  2. Strong communication skills
  3. Leadership abilities 
  4. Strong work ethic 
  5. Ability to learn and adapt
  6. Strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  7. Organizational proficiency
  8. Interpersonal savvy 
  9. Self-initiative
  10. Positive attitude 

Let’s look at each one in greater detail.

The basic assets employers seek have not changed except to look for candidates with advanced computer literacy as we find ourselves in a technology-driven age. Few professions in the corporate, academic, professional, and government world seek anyone who is limited in computer knowledge. And one needs to be fluent in a variety of software applications beyond all the Microsoft technology including web databases, online research, many types of apps, and industry-specific software. A natural curiosity and a willingness to expand one’s knowledge often assists the potential employee to obtain a position in this demanding world.

Exhibiting strong communication skills has always been paramount in the job market, and it starts with the interview process. Strong writing and speaking qualities become more valuable in a world now using video conferencing web technology on a regular basis along with understanding the basics of writing an email or memorandum. 

Leadership skills are needed to help move toward decisions as people seek creative solutions to an array of problems. Leaders who are goal-oriented present a solid direction for short- and long-term goals by helping teams address new skills, set good examples, and work at improving individual performance. The end result of strong leadership skill sets allows for solid direction with respect to what the team needs to achieve on a daily basis while looking to the larger requirements in the future. 

A strong work ethic relates to a person’s determination and dedication; this in turn produces professional success. Employees reveal their strong work ethic skills through several traits including reliability, dedication, discipline, productivity, cooperation, integrity, responsibility and professionalism.

Learning and adaptability go hand in hand with effective leadership and a strong work ethic. The ability with which one can change one’s attitude, habits, and environmental understanding will allow that person to easily conform to a new situation. New policies and procedures or changes in management require adjusting one’s mindset and possibly everyday interactions to achieve a positive outcome. The employee with adaptability will be able to change as the industry changes, present a positive and forward-moving style within the group, and may also inspire less adaptable employees to embrace change. 

Employers are also looking for people with strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills. This involves analyzing projects or events to recommend a change in the current approach. It often involves the employee implementing the solution without explaining the changes to management but informing one’s bosses that they might be to one’s advantage. The process involves assessing the problem or malfunction, asking intelligent questions (this could involve others or just be an activity by oneself), conducting research if necessary, and arriving at a possible solution. 

Being organized and bringing organizational skills to projects and teamwork are other valuable assets for employees. This allows the team to meet deadlines and to be efficient. Time management appears at the center of the organizational skill set, and employees who can juggle multiple projects at a time are sought after by companies. This skill becomes apparent during the job interview processes by arriving at the interview early, answering all questions with a straightforward narrative, and expressing one’s assets in a succinct manner. Sharing examples of projects or times when one’s organizational skills were used to the advantage of a project are extremely helpful. 

Strong and effective interpersonal skills align nicely with the other desired skill sets listed here. These include active listening, teamwork, dependability, leadership, motivation, flexibility, and patience. 

Having initiative frees the management of companies from having to babysit or assign specific tasks to employees. One is proactive about finding new ways to assist the project and meet its goals. People with initiative do not wait for their bosses to tell them what to do, but instead they are self-motivated and driven to do whatever they can to improve the company.

A positive attitude will go a long way in landing and keeping a good job. Although it would not be the only asset, it will be extremely valuable. Employers want their employees to be positive even in stressful and challenging circumstances, and this in turn demonstrates one’s level of resilience. The “can do” attitude shows team members and management that a person is flexible, dedicated, and willing to contribute extra effort to get the job done in the face of challenges.

Keeping these ten attributes in mind when applying for a job and while working for a company or other employer will help to keep you as a valued employee and as an asset to everyone around you. 

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The Future of Connection for Women

Grace Aspinall

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