You’re ready to make an impression. You know what you have to offer, you’re selling yourself, and companies should buy because, well, you’re one of the best employees they’ll have the honor of hiring. (Never forget that companies need you as much as you need them.)
Okay, so perhaps that’s how you view yourself. You’re the best thing since sliced bread. But what happens when someone who’s a slice better than you comes along? Competition is fierce, and many employers look at applicants’ resumes specifically to see what skills are being brought to the table. When all else is equal, the applicant with an edge is the one with marketable skills any employer will hire for.
We’re talking about other qualities that you offer as an individual and not just the core competencies that every other applicant out there likely has, too. These are the kind of skills that will make you valuable regardless of the type of company you eventually work for. To give you a good idea of the type of abilities almost every employer is looking for, we put together a list of seven of the best skills to learn for jobs that you should try to ensure you have.
Be a good communicator
You’ve probably heard that “communication is key.” That statement is true in just about every sense, regardless of context. If you can’t communicate well, your relationships in every area of life will suffer. That’s just as true of workplace and business relationships as it is of romantic ones. Those who can communicate well add value to their employers by avoiding problems before they come up in the first place.
To demonstrate that you’ve got good communication skills, you need to write solidly and speak well. Doing so over the internet with email and video conferencing tools is necessary for today’s day and age. Yet, there will also be moments when you are called upon to utilize your communication skills in person too.
Manage your time well
Staying efficient and meeting deadlines is essential regardless of the industry you’re in. If you have to juggle multiple projects, then time management is an even more critical skill to master. People who manage their time well are looked favorably upon by management since they don’t have to constantly check on the employee to make sure work is finished when it’s supposed to be.
Problem-solving and critical thinking
If you can objectively take a look at a given set of data and then determine the best way to move forward, then it’s likely you’re able to think critically to some degree. If you can, that’s great because thinking critically is a vital component of problem-solving. There are always unexpected problems and issues popping up. There are annoying setbacks that occur, and if you can demonstrate the ability to find creative solutions, your employer is much more likely to be appreciative.
Be a team player
You may work better alone, but if you’re going to work for someone else, it’s better to be a team player. The truth is that even loners who dream of being entrepreneurs and flying solo still end up having to work with others in one capacity or another. The ability to collaborate is a skill that you shouldn’t look down upon. If you’re a natural at teamwork, all the better. Just as critical thinking is a crucial aspect in problem-solving, so is teamwork. Those who work well with others often find creative solutions to problems much faster and more effectively than anyone does by themselves.
Possess emotional intelligence
Being able to understand the feelings of those with whom you work is a huge plus. In fact, the ability to empathize with other people is the glue that keeps teams functioning successfully.
Be computer literate
Digital literacy is a must in today’s workforce. Gone are the days when computers didn’t impact almost every aspect of a day’s work. No matter what industry you’re in, there are basic computer skills everyone should have. Knowing your way around basic computer applications and software ( and sometimes industry-specific software) is expected of employees at all levels.
Although some could argue that this is an “iffy” skill since some employers don’t empower their employees to do well when initiative is taken, the truth is that the majority of employers prefer to hire those who are proactive when it comes to advancing the goals of the company. Employees that can take tasks upon themselves without waiting for them to be assigned show that they are self-motivated. These types of individuals have an increased chance of climbing the corporate ladder faster than their peers.
Don’t forget the interview! Do you want to show some initiative? Try learning as much as possible about the company for which you want to work. Come up with some exciting ways they might be able to save money, penetrate a particular market, or produce a product more efficiently. Write it up as a presentation and deliver it along with your resume.
You can bet your bottom dollar most other applicants won’t make an effort. Bottom line? You’ll make an impression that will help you stand out and maybe make you one slice better than your top competition.
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