Fundamental Things That Every Job Seeker Must Have

When searching for the right candidate to fill a job, we often focus on the applicant’s work experience and level of education. Sometimes it’s all about who they know or who referred them to the job. But what we should really focus on is the candidate’s employability skills. There are certain skills employers want from every job seeker must have, no matter what role they’ll have in the company. From entry-level workers to executives, every employee should possess these personal skills in order to succeed and help your company move forward.

These are good skills for any job, which means they should be top-of-mind for every employer. And they’re good skills for any resume, so qualified candidates should be including examples of these skills in their resumes.

Here are the 12 essential skills employers want from every employee, no matter what their role is:

1. Communication
More than two-thirds of recruiters across all industries say communication is the most important skill they look for. Good verbal and written communication skills are often thought of as a given, but not everyone can communicate effectively in one or either format. Make sure the candidates you consider have proven effective communication skills.

2. Decision-Making
You may think decision-making skills are only needed for upper management, but that’s not true. Every employee should be able to make smart, quick decisions for the betterment of the company, no matter what role they play. 


3. Flexibility
Some jobs have a lot of variety in their day-to-day, while others are more predictable. But even in jobs that have very little variance, employees must be flexible enough not to get stumped when something doesn’t go as planned.

4. Computer
No more hunting and pecking on a keyboard. Companies today expect employees to know how to apply for a job online and take computer-based training. They also expect employees to have introductory word, spreadsheet, and presentation processing skills.

5. Commitment
Hiring candidates that show a commitment to their employer and are engaged at work is a smart financial decision, especially considering a Gallup analysis that shows businesses with engaged employees are 21% more profitable and 17% more productive.

6. Problem Solving
Other people cannot solve all your problems. Employees need to be able to do some critical thinking, reasoning and problem solving on their own. Every Job Seeker Must Have this point.

7. Innovation & Learning
This skill is not just for scientists and inventors. According to a PWC Global Innovation Survey, 43% of the executives interviewed said that innovation is a “competitive necessity” for their company. Always look for candidates that demonstrate innovation on the job.

8. Research and Information Gathering
This links back to many of the other skills I’ve mentioned. In today’s world, we have to figure some stuff out on our own. Whether it’s searching the computer forums to troubleshoot a problem we’re having or collecting data to soothe an unhappy customer.

9. Empathy
By now, we all understand that empathy is not sympathy. But empathy can be very difficult to learn. It’s a key component to customer service, effective communications and teamwork.

10. Integrity
It’s hard to imagine that not all candidates possess this skill. You want candidates who’ll follow procedures and company standards, understand when something is confidential, and speak up when they witness something wrong or inappropriate.

11. Leadership
Again, this is not just for senior-level employees; the ability to lead and motivate others is priceless. According to a Harvard Business Review study, 38% of respondents said being able to inspire and motivate others is the most important leadership skill. Look for candidates who have shown leadership skills, even in unusual circumstances where it’s not so apparent, like peer-to-peer leadership.

12. Life-long Learning
Life-long learners are interested in continuing to learn new skills, not just for their current role but for future ones as well. According to a Pew study, 63% of those in the workforce had taken a course or received additional training to improve their job skills and expertise. When reviewing resumes, look for candidates who have several degrees or certificates.

13. Motivation
Good employees show up and do their work. Great job seeker are motivated and passionate about their work. As Daniel Pink explains in his book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, “It’s not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between nine-to-five. It’s whether our work fulfills us.” Every Job Seeker Must Have Motivation.

14. Negotiation
Good negotiation skills are not just for the sales team. Candidates with this skill are able to discuss and reach agreements with others. They can explain concepts and effectively advocate for a particular course of action.

15. Organization
I’m going to lump into this category planning and scheduling. Everyone has multiple things going on in their lives. We all have to find a method for keeping a list, putting it on a calendar, or whatever. But forgetting stuff all the time isn’t an option.

16. Teamwork
Nearly three-fourths of employers rated teamwork and collaboration as “very important,” according to a Queens University survey. Every employee you hire should be able to work confidently and effectively within a group. Even if they don’t have to work in a team all of the time, the ability to work with others is paramount when it comes to finding the right candidate. Every Job Seeker Must Have Teamwork too.

No matter who we are and what job we have, it’s impossible to do it alone. Employees must be able to work with others. This means communicate effectively with them. Empathize with their issues. And learn from them. Virtual workers are not exempt from this.

17. Time Management
Every job these days requires us to wear many different hats. Look for candidates that know how to successfully manage their time, who can prioritize tasks and meet deadlines.

18. Customer Service
The majority of jobs being created today are in the services industries. Understanding the value of customers is essential. This includes the proper way to greet customers, remembering their name, and answering customer inquiries.

These are basic skills that every job seeker must have. Want to really go far in your career? You better gain some kind of expertise in them!

A quick career development exercise for anyone: For each of these skills, rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 (1=very little knowledge to 10=consider yourself to be an expert). Any area you’ve rated yourself less than a 5 might be worth some focus. You can develop skills by doing three things.

Reading – books, blogs, magazines, or online content

Listening – podcasts, webinars, or attending conferences

Doing – volunteering for a task or practicing a skill during training

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