Top Skills Employers Are Looking for in Candidates in 2021
14th Sep 2021
There are a number of universal skills that employers look for in candidates regardless of what the position is. Possessing and demonstrating these skills will make you vastly more desirable to employers. These skills essentially include communication, problem solving and teamwork.
Whilst there are specific skills needed for each industry and job, there are also core competencies that span across all professions. These are considered key employability skills and are essential to being an effective employee, and future leader.
See below the most sought-after employability skills that hiring managers search for in candidates:
Communication skills are fundamental for essentially every job, within every industry. Employers require team members who will successfully interpret what is being asked of them, as well as effectively communicate with others. These skills are particularly of importance in senior roles which enables others and yourself to understand information more accurately and efficiently. Being able to articulate well provides a significant advantage!
To perform your job effectively, you need to successfully discuss problems, request information, interact with others, and have good human relations skills – these are all part of having good communication skills. They help in being understood well and in helping understand the needs of those around you. In a recent poll, undertaken by Corvus, we discovered that the number one quality that hiring managers look for in candidates are communication skills, with 46% deeming it more important than dependability, confidence and ambition combined.
Leadership skills are one of the soft skills that many employers look for in candidates and that can be helpful at all levels of your career. From managing a team to contributing to a project, leadership skills will help you motivate others and ensure tasks are completed promptly. Managerial roles, in particular, require this ability to lead, alongside a strong willingness and the desire to accept responsibility for results. It’s the experience to take charge, to volunteer for assignments, and to accept accountability for achieving the required results of those assignments.
Leaders have a unique ability to inspire a vision and motivate others towards it; sometimes to go beyond what’s required of them. Whereas managers focus on tasks and managing work to achieve organisational goals. But having someone who can do both effectively, you’re more likely to have engaged, committed, and productive employees.
Employers seek these skills in the candidates they hire for leadership roles. The indication of the leader is that he or she does not make excuses. You must demonstrate your willingness to be a leader within the organisation by offering to take charge of achieving company goals and then committing yourself to perform at high levels.
Effective teamwork was a challenge even before the global pandemic. Lockdown definitely made it even harder. Now, as people gradually return to work, organisations need to restore their focus on enabling teamwork.
Regardless of your job title or industry, many employers consider teamwork skills a must when reviewing applicants. Candidates with a positive attitude towards teamwork are sought out by employers for many reasons—they demonstrate leadership, collaboration, and good communication.
When a team tackles a problem, the project benefits from multiple perspectives, skillsets, and experiences all at once. The American Psychological Association found that diverse teams can offer greater innovation and creativity, and a competitive advantage. The ability to manage, lead or contribute to a team is imperative to maximise opportunity and performance.
Additionally, when employees work together and succeed as a team, they form bonds that can turn into trust and friendship. This is ultimately great for your company, as employees who like and trust each other are more likely to communicate better, support and motivate each other, and work cooperatively.
Businesses must understand the importance of personal skills in order to support employees nurture better communication and collaboration. Managers should identify areas for improvement and help their employees evolve. They should encourage them to attend courses and training that promote personal growth and put them in situations where they can practice good communication skills and improve collaboration.
These skills enable you to build relationships, communicate effectively and handle situations in an appropriate manner. It is essential to have people with solid personable skills on your team, as it will allow your business to run smoothly and make your day-to-day operations much more efficient.
Interpersonal skills help individuals to interact with others effectively on the job. Some people are born with such skills, and some need to acquire and improve them. It is imperative for you to have impeccable interpersonal communication skills to handle clients and maintain good relations within the team.
Learning skills enable you to learn new things and adapt to new situations within the workplace. This is especially important given the ever-changing workplace and the need for employers to stay competitive by implementing new initiatives. Having good learning and adaptability skills can set you apart from other candidates and show employers your willingness to learn and change when necessary.
Employers want to hire employees who are successfully able to manage changes in the workplace, and being adaptable shows employers that you're able to handle new changes and challenges with ease. Essentially, having a natural ability to adapt indicates that candidates will possess a higher degree of leadership qualities, including focus, motivation, and an open-minded outlook. When others see you embracing change, it'll inspire them to do the same. Being adaptable will also help you earn the respect of your co-workers. The better you're able to manage change, the better you'll be able to lead your company at large.
With the ongoing changes in technology and other fields, it's important to stay relevant in your chosen profession. The more adaptable you are, the more comfortable you'll be embracing new ways of doing things. This involves the implementation of a new workplace system, new tools, or new business strategies. The more adaptable and therefore relevant you are, the better you'll be able to change with the ongoing landscape.
Organisational skills are some of the most important and transferable job skills an employee can acquire. They encompass a set of capabilities that help a person plan, prioritize, and achieve their goals, which, in turn, can save a company time and money. These skills are essential for multitasking and keeping a business running smoothly and successfully.
Employers aim to recruit candidates who can work to achieve results consistently, even when unforeseen delays or problems arise. If you are the kind of employee that knows how to get things done in the most efficient manner possible, your existing company will value your efforts, and other firms should be beating down your door!
An organised employee helps save their company time and money. These individuals can multitask and maximise their employer’s resources. When you discuss your organisational skills in an interview, you will show your value by proving your ability to consistently achieve results, even in the event of unforeseen circumstances. Good organisational skills lead to better productivity; something every company craves!
One of the essential skills in any workplace is the problem of problem-solving and critical thinking. At its most effective, it allows employees to seamlessly engage in the psychological process of realising, evaluating, and resolving challenges faced daily. At the core of business development, the ability to problem solve allows employees to learn to use accessible resources to work out issues in a productive manner that does not betray your company’s integrity.
We often associate the skill of problem-solving with those in senior positions. After all, they have more responsibilities, as well as the authority to tackle any issues that may arise. While it’s not very likely that you will be asked to find a solution to a major business issue on your first day of a new job, the way you handle even the smallest of problems will demonstrate to an employer how well you can deal with larger ones. If your boss doubts your ability to overcome difficulties that come your way, they may not trust you with more responsibility, or consider you for a managerial role later on.
Knowing how to solve problems is therefore of paramount importance vital. Luckily, there are many ways you can develop the skill, and learning how to demonstrate it can prove invaluable at job interviews.
In order to survive whatever trials and tribulations the future might bring, we need to learn to adapt. Business leaders must learn to be more open-minded, which means being receptive to the views, ideas and knowledge of others. An open mind can be an unstoppable force in driving business strategy, building culture and enhancing the financial performance of your company.
Having an open mind helps us think more critically, especially when faced with unpredictable circumstances. It helps us see the bigger picture and think more laterally about how best to solve a problem not only in the short term, but in the long term too. No two problems will ever be the same, but an open mind makes us more adaptable to finding solutions.
Most industries today are quickly evolving, which means the old tried and tested methods for success are likely to be redundant, as ever new developments come into play. The only way to ensure your business survives is to stay ahead of the curve, which means being receptive to new business practices and trying something new. Maintaining an open mind as a leader or employee means you’re less likely to get stuck in a rut when going about your everyday business tasks, enabling us to become more naturally inquisitive, which in turn makes is more able to better ourselves and improve our knowledge and understanding, day-by-day.
Strong work ethic
Employers want employees who they can trust to perform their duties and meet deadlines without having to micro-manage them. Having a great work ethic ensures you can complete your tasks and manage your work effectively even when no one is regularly checking your progress. Stanford Research Centre and Harvard University, and Carnegie foundation found that a whopping 85% of job success comes from excellent soft and people skills.
At work, accomplishing tasks and projects with a good work ethic shows that you are a reliable employee and opens you up to more responsibilities and leadership opportunities, which can increase your chances of a raise or promotion.
Having a good work ethic is also key to a positive experience in the workplace for both you and your co-workers. When you possess these skills, you likely perform high-quality work, have strong relationships with colleagues and contribute towards achieving important tasks that add value to your team and organisation. Also, those with a strong work ethic can often inspire other colleagues by serving as an example of how employees should behave. This can establish an organisational culture that values hard work, cooperation and peer support.
Where do employers assess these skills?
Employers encounter applicant's skills in a few different places, with the most important places being CV, cover letters, LinkedIn and interviews. Here are factors to keep in mind when highlighting your skills in each of these settings:
The best place to highlight your top skills is in the "Skills" section on your CV, or you can easily incorporate mentions of these skills throughout the experience section of your CV in the descriptions of your job duties.
Your cover letter should include mention of two to three of your most marketable skills as they relate to the job you are applying for. Include these skills in the body of your cover letter as well as an example for each of how you have used these skills in your previous work experience.
With 87% of active and passive candidates open to job opportunities, it is undeniable that employers will do their research in reviewing your skills prior to your interview. Ensure your profile is up to date and professional throughout. This is the perfect platform to highlight your skills and achievements which may be a deciding factor in being invited to interview.
A job interview is a great time to openly talk about your marketable skills with the employer. During the interview, provide examples of how you have used your skills in the past. Try to mention all skills that are relevant for the position, especially the skills that were specifically mentioned in the job posting.
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