What is it that truly differentiates one candidate from another during the application process? Whether we are talking about the stage involving the vetting of resumes or the interview stage, certain qualities are increasingly taking center stage in the mind of recruiters. They are looking for such qualities in potential hires.
For job-seekers who want to remain a step ahead of the pack, it’s important to know what the most wanted skills are in today’s workplace.
Research on what HR experts believe are the most important skills indicates that we are moving away from a mind-set that potential employees should have the technical know-how and the right academic qualifications. Even though the latter is an inevitable prerequisite, the emphasis has shifted.
In today’s world, employers and recruiters have realized that it is much easier to train smart individuals how to perform the specifics of any role. This is as long as they have already acquired a much harder-to-teach skill set. This skill set comprises the likes of critical thinking, soft skills, and some basic competency in a few areas of expertise.
If you want to get the job of your dreams therefore, or excel in the career you are already following, have a look at the skills below, assess where you stand, and find a way to polish the areas you are not doing so well in.
COMMUNICATION SKILLS (LISTENING, SPEAKING AND WRITING)
Communication skills are perhaps the first set of skills that potential employers will notice. From the initial moment you get in touch with them, the employer will be scrutinizing the way you behave.
Be it the way you talk over the phone, the way you give them information on email, your resume and cover letter, or the way you carry yourself during the interview, they will be assessing whether you have polished communication skills.
Make sure that you proof read any form of written communication you send them, and take your time to listen to what they ask you (or read their instructions carefully), and answer in well-thought out, grammatically correct sentences. The way you communicate your thoughts should be impeccable, as this is the way they expect you to communicate with colleagues and clients alike throughout your tenure in their organization.
ANALYTICAL AND RESEARCH SKILLS
As much as you think a question/problem presented to you is a piece of cake, be very wary of giving a rushed answer. Take the time to analyze the situation, think of all possible scenarios, and if possible ask for some time to go and do some research to find out more.
Being analytical, but also having strong research skills, differentiates one employee from the other. It demonstrates your determination, your ability to assess different scenarios, and your commitment to be 100% sure before giving an answer to your employer. It could mean the difference between a badly thought out idea and something that may gain the company a huge profit!
An ability to manage multiple assignments at the same time, and being flexible enough to work under ever changing conditions, management, environment and rules is highly appreciated.
In today’s world, a job description is very fluid, and can change shape at any time. An employee that is willing to work under a multitude of changing circumstances is highly sought after.
Being able to adapt from one working environment to the next, or even from one type of assignment to another, is a big advantage. It demonstrates the individual’s commitment to the organization, and will influence their career progression.
“No man is an island”. So the saying goes. Increasingly in the workplace, we all have to work with others in order to complete a project.
Be it working in a team, or dealing with clients or suppliers, interpersonal abilities is a definite advantage and something employers always look for.
The ability to build relationships with those around you under any circumstances, and the ability to inspire them to do what needs to be done is essential.
ABILITY TO MAKE DECISIONS AND SOLVE PROBLEMS
Decision making and problem solving is another skill that is high in demand. The ability to identify complex problems and review related information in order to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions, can distinguish one employee from another. The ability to use critical thinking to rationalize a decision will set an individual apart.
ABILITY TO PLAN, ORGANIZE AND PRIORITIZE WORK
Simple as it may sound, an individual that can show that he/she has been able to plan and organize their work is very valuable. Pay special attention to the way you plan your tasks, and ensure you keep up with all the deadlines you are given.
An employee that can stick to assigned timelines and can provide pieces of information with ease and speed indicates that he/she remains on top of things and can always be expected to deliver the required task or information. Similarly, knowing which tasks to prioritize and which ones to leave for later is an important skill.
ABILITY TO WEAR MULTIPLE HATS
Theoretically, when someone is offered a job, there is a job description included in the contract. In reality however, employees are not expected to stick to only what is under their job description.
On the contrary, they are expected to get involved in other areas of the business, understand all the different steps, and offer help where necessary. At the end of the day, employers look for someone willing to try out different things, and wear multiple hats at the same time, deal with different projects and individuals, and provide more than one sole contribution at a time to the company.
The ability to manage people is a very powerful skill. Not only can you inspire individuals to do what is right, you can guide them along the way, and you can monitor their progress in every step. Being able to lead a group and manage these individuals in a way that does not impede their progress and insult their judgement is highly desirable in today’s workplace.
With Gen Y taking over the work place, and their strong desire to be left alone to do what they have to do, it is essential to have managers that know how to lead and manage their teams in a way that leaves all employees room to come up with their own ways of doing things. Exhibiting strong management/leadership skills is therefore a big advantage in today’s working world.
ATTENTION TO DETAIL
Even though many may think that the bigger picture is more important than the tiny details, attention to detail is what will make someone stand out at what they do. Paying attention to detail may save the company a lot of hassle and possibly keep the distance from a catastrophic outcome.
Being self-confident exudes an aura that can convince those you work for (or with) that you know what you are doing. If you do not believe in yourself, your skills and abilities, then you cannot expect anyone else to believe in you. You need to be confident with yourself and ensure everyone sees you as someone that has the ability to pull through whatever situation comes your way.
Naturally, you need tools to help you develop your skills and with our business simulations you can work on 8 of the named above, by simply playing one business game. Don’t forget to check the whole list of our business games! Oh, and for those of you who already have the skills, don’t forget that challenging yourself is also necessary in order not to get rusty.