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Career Development Tips

Top Skills That Employers Look For by Category

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated June 29, 2021

Guide Overview

Why is it important to include a skills list on your resume?Top skills employers look forHow to improve your skillsHighlighting skills during the job search process

Guide Overview

Top skills in the workplace

While each job position requires a certain set of skills, there are many skills that are transferrable across positions and that employers actively seek out in candidates. A few of the most important types of skills most professionals should possess include time management, interpersonal skills, communication skills, and active listening. Here we explore a comprehensive list of these and other top skills as well as how you can improve upon them, use them in the workplace, and highlight these skills in the skills list on your resume and in job interviews.

Why is it important to include a skills list on your resume?

The skills list on your resume is the place where hiring managers can quickly see the abilities you possess and if they match the requirements for the job you’re applying for. Many employers pay close attention to this area of your resume, as it provides insight as to whether you can successfully perform the job and if you’re lacking any skills required to work in the position. Including relevant and quality skills in the skills section of your resume ensures employers know you’re qualified for capable of performing the job.

Top skills employers look for

The following are several skills that are important to employers divided by category:

Communication

Communication skills are crucial in nearly any position and refer to a person’s ability to clearly, concisely, and effectively relay information to others. It also refers to how a person expresses themselves in the workplace. Jobs that require especially strong communication skills include those in sales, marketing, and management positions. However, this skill can benefit a professional in any job and greatly impacts their ability to interact and work with others.

Good common skills to include on your resume are:

  • Written communication
  • Nonverbal communication
  • Verbal communication
  • Active listening
  • Confidence
  • Friendliness
  • Empathy
  • Clarity
  • Conciseness
  • Respect

Teamwork

Teamwork is another skill that nearly any professional will benefit from. Teamwork skills enable you to work effectively within a group and to successfully function within an office setting. Good teamwork skills are directly related to your communication skills as well as your ability to be honest, listen, and hold yourself accountable and responsible in the workplace. Teamwork skills that employers value include:

  • Honesty
  • Empathy
  • Communication
  • Responsibility
  • Accountability
  • Awareness
  • Collaboration
  • Conflict management
  • Mediation
  • Coordination
  • Negotiating

Work ethic

A strong work ethic is a soft skill that gives you the ability to put all of your efforts into completing your work due to your belief that your work is important and will strengthen your personal character. A good work ethic is important in virtually every career but is especially important in positions that are more taxing, such as those of doctors, nurses, and first responders. Skills that fall under the soft skill of a strong work ethic include:

  • Discipline
  • Integrity
  • Accountability
  • Initiative
  • Self-motivation
  • Time management
  • Professionalism
  • Commitment
  • Dependability

Computer skills

Nearly every position requires at least some knowledge of basic computer skills, and many positions require the ability to use a computer in day-to-day job duties. Computer skills refer to a person’s ability to operate various types of technology, such as computers, computer software, computer programs, and applications. Common computer skills that employers look for in candidates include:

  • Email management
  • Word processing and typing
  • Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
  • Calendar management
  • QuickBooks
  • Data entry
  • Coding
  • Social media

Time management

Time management is crucial in nearly any job position, and especially those in which the employee is working mostly on their own unsupervised. Time management skills are also essential for management positions and those in leadership roles, as they often have to oversee not only their own work but the work of their employees as well. Quality time management skills employees look for when hiring new candidates include:

  • Planning
  • Self-starting
  • Prioritizing
  • Goal setting
  • Stress management
  • Organization
  • Delegation

Interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills are skills that allow you to effectively interact with others both in and out of the workplace. Most employers value good interpersonal skills, and many professionals need them to function effectively in their roles. Interpersonal skills include:

  • Team building
  • Flexibility
  • Mentoring
  • Asking for and providing feedback
  • Risk-taking
  • Humor
  • Public speaking
  • Patience
  • Diplomacy
  • Tolerance
  • Sensitivity

How to improve your skills

There are several steps you can take to improve your workplace skills, including:

  1. Identify the skills you want to improve on. Choose one of two skills you want to focus on improving and put your efforts into working on those until you feel confident you’ve mastered them.
  2. Set goals. Setting goals for each skill is an important part of getting better at them. For example, if you want to increase your typing speed, set a goal of how fast you want to be able to type by a certain date, and then work achieve that goal.
  3. Ask for feedback. Asking a close colleague or friend to identify the skills you need to work on and to provide feedback as you work to improve on those skills is a great way to measure your progress and get honest assessments from others.

Highlighting skills during the job search process

There are several opportunities for you to highlight your skills throughout the job search process. These include:

On your resume

Include a skills section on your resume that has a comprehensive list of the skills you possess that are most relevant to the position you’re applying to. For example, if you’re applying to a management position, you’ll want to include communication skills, interpersonal skills, time management skills, and others that show you’re capable of acting in the role of a manger. You can also mention specific skills in the work history section of your resume by providing quantifiable examples of times in which you used those skills in your previous positions.

In your cover letter

When including skills in your cover letter, choose one to three skills to highlight in the body of the letter. For each skill, provide an in-depth example of how you used that skill successfully in your previous or current job.

In a job interview

A job interview is a great time to highlight your skills, as most hiring managers will ask several interview questions that relate to your skills and abilities. In interviews, use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method when answering questions to fully demonstrate your ability to use a particular skill.

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