Wondering which skills employers are looking for? If you Google “Top 10 Skills Employers Want” you could come up with hundreds of different lists, which probably means there is no one right answer. Each person has their own unique set of skills that they carry with them throughout their life, adding and perfecting skills all the time. Of course, it is always very helpful when writing resumes, cover letters or interviewing to know which skills employers are looking for currently, and which skills to highlight. The NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) in their Job Outlook 2011 surveyed 197 national employers and gathered a list of skills ranked by importance. These are the skills they came up with, which can hopefully help you with your career path:

  1. Communication Skills (Verbal) – Even though written communication is in the top 10, verbal communication is even more valuable to employers. Verbal communication includes listening and speaking and how you communicate can say a lot about you. You can practice these verbal communication skills with peers (or do a mock interview), and then when it is time to execute during an interview you will be prepared.
  2. Strong Work Ethic – An employee who is motivated to getting the job done and committed to deadlines are prized workers. Going above and beyond the job description will make you stand out and demonstrate that you are a hard worker.
  3. Teamwork Skills – Team projects often arise in the workplace whether we like it or not. Being successful with this skill means working productively with a variety of people, utilizing the various skills within the group, and overcoming any differences between members.
  4. Analytical Skills – Being able to gather information in order to assess a situation or problem is a highly desirable skill. It might mean visualizing a way to make a procedure more efficient or figuring out how to compromise to make schedules work.
  5. Initiative – Assessing a situation and taking action before your employer asks not only saves them time with delegating tasks, but shows you can take charge and lead without being asked.
  6. Problem Solving Skills – Employers dislike having to micromanage constantly and being interrupted all the time, thus problem solving skills come in handy, especially when it in turn makes you standout.
  7. Communication Skills (Written) – If you can showcase your ability to communicate in your resume and cover letter you will already have shown them you have solid communication skills. Written communication including email, reports, and proposals, are used in an assortment of jobs.
  8. Interpersonal Skills – Being able to communicate and relate effectively with your coworkers is not only beneficial to you but your employer as well. Relationship building with coworkers makes work more enjoyable for you and saves your boss from having to resolve conflicts between employees.
  9. Computer Skills – According to Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project from 2008, 96% of workers used technology at work, which included online work, email and word processors. Luckily, with school demanding the use of all these technologies, by the time students reach the workplace they already have a solid foundation. In this survey it was reported that computer skills and written communication went hand in hand.

10.  Flexibility/Adaptability – Being able to “go with the flow” has many positive attributes with employers, be it shuffling around projects to make sure one gets completed sooner or rescheduling a meeting. Knowing that you will be able to perform even if the day’s schedule gets messed up gives an employer confidence in your abilities as an employee.

All these skills can easily be displayed in a resume, through the experiences you decide to provide and the use of power verbs. It might give you a leg up if your employer knows you have some of these skills already under your belt. Come in with a resume or cover letter during our drop-in hours (Monday-Thursday 1-4 pm in Kerr Administration Building, Tuesday and Wednesday 6-8 pm in Valley Library and Wednesday 2-4 pm in Milam 116) and we can help you figure out how to represent these skills best, so you can get the job you want!

Posted by Sami Kerzel, Career Services Assistant