Posted by: careerworks | May 12, 2011

Top Job Skills for 2011

Depending on your industry, certain skills are bound to trump others. But overall, what are employers looking for in an ideal candidate?

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Job Outlook 2011 survey, employers are looking for job candidates these top five skills and qualities:

  1. Verbal communication skills
  2. Strong work ethic
  3. Teamwork skills
  4. Analytical skills
  5. Initiative

Skill #1: Verbal communication skills

In the workplace, you need to be able to clearly and concisely communicate with co-workers, clients and supervisors. This is an important skill and is often evaluated during your initial interview with the hiring manager.

Skill #2: Strong work ethic

An employer is looking for a candidate who is reliable, takes initiative, and works hard and does what it takes to get the work done. You need to show that you can work independently, arrive on time and fulfill your commitments in order to be perceived as having a strong work ethic. It’s also important to strive for quality work—employers want someone who can do the job right the first time.

Skill #3: Teamwork skills

The ability to work in a group effectively is key to success on any job. It’s likely that, at some point, you’ll need to work with others in order to get a project done. You need to possess solid communication skills (including listening) and the ability to speak knowledgably while also maintaining a commitment to the team and voicing your opinion.

Skill #4: Analytical skills

You should possess the ability to visualize, articulate, and solve complex problems and concepts. Analytical skills include the ability to use logic to design and test solutions to problems. This also encompasses formulating plans to solve problems.

Skill #5: Initiative

The definition of initiative is the readiness, ability, and willingness to take action. Although some things may not be in your job description, it’s important to convey your desire for the organizations success by offering expertise on new projects or volunteering for tasks that interest you.

Skill #6: Emotional intelligence 

Other highly sought after skills in candidates are those associated with emotional intelligence. Measured as one’s ability to understand and deal with their own emotions, the emotions of others and how to properly act on those emotions. Emotional intelligence can be broken down into several categories: social skills, social awareness, self-awareness, and self-management. Identified as 22 competencies ranging from Integrity and Trust to Standing up for what’s right. These skills are low supply in the workplace and candidates with high EQ are advanced quickly.

How can you improve upon these skills in demand?

For development options, you can look to:

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