If you’ve ever wondered what skills employers value the most, a blog post last week on the job search engine Indeed.com will help. Indeed analyzed millions of job postings in its index from January through June, and extracted the top 15 professional attributes. Here are the top five, along with my take on why each is important today:
- Leadership. You need this if you're an executive or manager. But even if you're not, many organizations are becoming "flatter" and empowering non-managers to lead company initiatives, notably projects. It may not necessarily lead you into a management role, but that feeling of empowerment can act as a jolt of energy and boost your enthusiasm about your role and your employer.
- Interpersonal. As in "interpersonal communications." Most jobs require people who can communicate effectively with their co-workers, customers, and suppliers. Today, that means mastering both written (as in, email and instant messaging) and oral communications. You can also extend this to casual conversations with co-workers, because hiring managers want employees who can get along with everyone.
- Problem solving. Employers like to hire people who can find problems and fix them. That's part of the reason why most schools today incorporate analytical thinking into their curricula, even at the elementary school level. It hasn't always been that way.
- Motivated. A paycheck can motivate you, but employers want to hire people who want to do good work, not just for themselves but for the company. If you believe in the corporate mission, and if it meshes with what you want to get out of the job, you have a good foundation to be motivated.
- Efficient. How much work can you do in a given block of time? Do you organize yourself well? Employers want people who are not only productive, but who can manage their time so well that they can get more done, and done well.
What does this mean for you? Look at these five attributes and the other 10 on the Indeed list, then give your resume a thorough, painstaking review. Which of these words or phrases jump out from the accomplishments and responsibilities you've listed in your work history? Match up what you have with what the employer wants, and use your cover letter to reinforce that connection.
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