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Skills Employers Look For


What Do Employers Really Want? Top Skills and Values Employers Seek from Job-Seekers

by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D. and Katharine Hansen


Most job-seekers wish they could unlock the secret formula to winning the hearts and minds of employers. What, they wonder, is that unique combination of skills and values that make employers salivate with excitement?

Every employer is looking for a specific set of skills from job-seekers that match the skills necessary to perform a particular job. But beyond these job-specific technical skills, certain skills are nearly universally sought by employers. The good news is that most job-seekers possess these skills to some extent. The better news is that job-seekers with weaknesses in these areas can improve their skills through training, professional development, or obtaining coaching/mentoring from someone who understands these skills.

The best news is that once you understand the skills and characteristics that most employer seek, you can tailor your job-search communication -- your resume, cover letter, and interview language -- to showcase how well your background aligns with common employer requirements.

Numerous studies have identified these critical employability skills, sometimes referred to as soft skills. We have distilled the skills from these many studies into this list of skills most frequently mentioned. We have also included sample verbiage describing each skill; job-seekers can adapt this verbiage to their own resumes, cover letters, and interview talking points.


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