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What Skills Make Job Seekers Stand Out?

Do you wonder what Skills Employers Look For?

Employers Assess Three Essential Skill Sets: Transferable, Soft and Hard

It’s important to know the skills that are most important for companies that are hiring. 

This information will assist you to be better prepared for the application and interview process.

Candidates who are qualified to work in fields that have a high demand for workers could have an advantage in the job market.

There are three essential skill sets that applicants should demonstrate when applying for jobs:

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The Skills Employers Want

Employers prioritize transferable, soft, and hard skills differently depending on the job position and industry.

Generally, hard skills are considered essential for technical jobs, while soft skills are valued more for roles that involve communication, collaboration, and customer service.

Transferable skills are highly valued by employers regardless of the job position, as they can be applied to different job roles and industries.

How Employers Prioritize When Hiring

Here’s a breakdown of how employers prioritize the skills they are looking for in the hiring process:

1. Hard Skills:

Hard skills refer to technical or job-specific abilities, such as coding, data analysis, or accounting.

For technical jobs, such as software engineering or data analysis, hard skills are essential, and employers prioritize them during the hiring process.

Employers often use technical tests or assessments to evaluate a candidate’s abilities, such as those required for coding jobs.

Proficiency in coding languages like Python and JavaScript is crucial for software developers in today’s tech-driven world.

2. Soft Skills:

Soft skills refer to non-technical or interpersonal skills, such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and leadership.

Soft skills are highly valued in all job positions, as they are critical for building positive relationships with colleagues, customers, and stakeholders.

Employers often assess soft skills through behavioural or situational interviews, where candidates are asked to provide examples of how they have demonstrated their abilities in the past.

3. Transferable Skills:

Transferable skills are skills that can be applied to different job roles and industries, such as communication, leadership, problem-solving, and critical thinking.

Employers value transferable skills, as they indicate a candidate’s ability to adapt and learn quickly.

Transferable skills are often assessed during interviews.

This is where candidates are asked to describe how they have applied their abilities in different situations and roles.

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Satisfy Employer Priorities to Land the Job: Give Them What They Want!

Employers prioritize a combination of hard, soft, and transferable skills when recruiting, depending on the job position and industry.

A candidate’s ability to demonstrate a mix of skills is highly valued in the hiring process.

This is because it indicates their potential to be successful in the job role and organization.

What Do Employers Look For?

According to various studies and surveys, here are some statistics explaining what employers look for:

1. Communication Skills:

Communication skills are one of the most important abilities that employers look for in potential employees.

Effective communication is essential for team collaboration and successful project management in any workplace.

Expertise in customer service and communication can lead to higher satisfaction rates and stronger client relationships.

A survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) found that communication skills were the most important attribute that employers sought in job candidates (source: NACE Job Outlook 2022).

2. Teamwork and Collaboration:

In addition to communication skills, employers also look for candidates who can work effectively in teams.

According to a survey by LinkedIn, 80% of employers said that teamwork is important for the success of their business (source: LinkedIn Global Talent Trends 2020).

3. Problem-Solving:

Problem-solving skills are also highly valued by employers.

Creative thinking allows individuals to develop innovative solutions to complex problems.

A survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that problem-solving skills were the third most important competency for job candidates, after communication skills and professionalism (source: SHRM Human Capital Benchmarking Report 2019).

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4. Adaptability and Flexibility:

Employers also value candidates who can adapt to change and be flexible in their approach.

Being adaptable helps individuals thrive in dynamic environments and respond effectively to changes.

According to a survey by ManpowerGroup, 91% of employers said that they value employees who can adapt and be flexible (source: ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey Q2 2022).

5. Technical Skills:

Technical skills are also highly valued by employers, especially in fields such as engineering, computer science, and healthcare.

Technical know-how in using various software tools can enhance productivity and streamline workflows.

A survey by LinkedIn found that 50% of employers said that technical skills were the most important attribute when hiring for entry-level roles (source: LinkedIn Global Talent Trends 2020).

6. Leadership Skills:

Leadership skills are important for employees who are looking to advance their careers within an organization.

Leadership qualities, such as motivating and guiding a team, are vital for achieving organizational goals.

According to a survey by the Center for Creative Leadership, 91% of employers said that they value employees who have leadership skills (source: Center for Creative Leadership).

7. Analytical and Critical Thinking:

The ability to analyze and interpret data can provide valuable insights for making informed business decisions.

Employers also value candidates who have strong analytical and critical thinking skills.

A survey by PayScale found that analytical skills were the second most important skill for employees in the tech industry, after programming skills (source: PayScale Tech Skills Report 2021).

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FAQ for Job Seekers: Matching Your Abilities with Employer Needs

Q1: How can I identify my job abilities?

A1: Start by reflecting on your past experiences, both professional and personal.

Consider what tasks you excel at and what comes naturally to you.

Additionally, seek feedback from colleagues, mentors, and friends to gain an outside perspective on your strengths.

Q2: What is job readiness, and why is it important?

A2: Job readiness refers to how prepared you are to enter the workforce or transition to a new role.

It encompasses having the necessary qualifications, experience, and mindset to meet the demands of a job.

Being job-ready increases your chances of securing employment and succeeding in your position.

Q3: How can I align my job abilities with what employers are looking for?

A3: Research the industry and specific roles you are interested in.

Look at job descriptions to identify common requirements and match them with your competencies.

Tailor your resume and cover letter to highlight these matching abilities.

Q4: What are transferable abilities, and how can they help me?

A4: Transferable abilities are those that can be applied across different jobs and industries, such as communication, problem-solving, and leadership.

Emphasizing these can show employers that you have a versatile background and are adaptable to various roles.

Q5: How do I demonstrate my job readiness in an interview?

A5: Prepare by understanding the job requirements and how your experience relates to them.

Provide specific examples of past achievements that illustrate your proficiency in relevant areas. Showing enthusiasm and a willingness to learn can also convey readiness.

Q6: What if I lack experience in a specific area required by the job?

A6: Highlight any related experiences or training you have.

You can also express your eagerness to develop in that area and discuss any steps you are taking to gain the necessary knowledge or experience.

Q7: How can continuous learning enhance my job readiness?

A7: Engaging in continuous learning through courses, certifications, and workshops keeps you updated with industry trends and technologies.

This not only enhances your expertise but also demonstrates your commitment to professional growth.

Q8: Why is it important to understand an employer’s expectations?

A8: Knowing what an employer values helps you tailor your application and interview responses to align with their priorities.

It also ensures that you are a good fit for the company culture and job demands, leading to greater job satisfaction and performance.

Q9: How can networking improve my chances of matching my abilities to job opportunities?

A9: Networking connects you with professionals who can provide insights into industry standards and expectations.

It also opens doors to potential job opportunities that match your capabilities through referrals and recommendations.

Q10: What role does self-assessment play in job readiness?

A10: Regular self-assessment helps you stay aware of your strengths and areas for improvement.

By continuously evaluating your abilities and seeking ways to enhance them, you can ensure you remain competitive and prepared for job opportunities.

Q11: How can I effectively showcase my job abilities on my resume?

A11: Highlight your most relevant experiences and achievements by using bullet points that focus on outcomes and contributions.

Use action verbs to describe your responsibilities and quantify your successes with numbers and percentages where possible.

Q12: What should I include in my cover letter to reflect my job readiness?

A12: Your cover letter should explain why you are interested in the position and how your background makes you an ideal candidate. Mention specific job requirements and discuss how your experiences align with them.

Show enthusiasm for the role and the company.

Q13: How can I use social media to improve my job readiness?

A13: Optimize your LinkedIn profile by detailing your work history, accomplishments, and professional skills.

Join industry groups and participate in discussions to expand your network.

Share relevant articles and insights to demonstrate your knowledge and engagement in your field.

Q14: How important is adaptability in job readiness?

A14: Adaptability is crucial as it shows your ability to thrive in changing environments and take on new challenges.

Employers value candidates who can quickly adjust to new roles, technologies, and processes.

Demonstrate your adaptability through examples from your work history.

Q15: What role does emotional intelligence play in demonstrating job abilities?

A15: Emotional intelligence involves understanding and managing your emotions and those of others.

It is important for teamwork, leadership, and handling workplace conflicts.

Displaying high emotional intelligence can make you a more attractive candidate by showing that you can maintain positive working relationships and navigate complex social situations.


  • NACE Job Outlook 2022
  • LinkedIn Global Talent Trends 2020:
  • SHRM Human Capital Benchmarking Report 2019
  • ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey Q2 2022
  • Center for Creative Leadership
  • PayScale Tech Skills Report 2021

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Leonie Hall

Leonie Hall, disruptive thinker and dynamic strategist, is an expert in education, development, quality management and innovation. She has spoken at local and international conferences; and currently works as an independent consultant and content developer. Contact Leonie for a consultation.

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What Skills Do Employers Look For?