Essential Skills for Every Job Seeker

April 19, 2012 by Careerminds

Jennifer Fry
Careerminds Consultant


Looking through job listings, reading required qualifications and skills, a professional in career transition may come to the realization that many of them look fairly similar. Certainly one individual job seeker will likely be reading descriptions for positions in the same general field, but the fact is, many employers are looking for some of the same qualities in all of their employees.
Of course, specialized skills such as expertise in job-specific software or advanced math skills are left for the professionals in those particular areas, but many skills are expected across the board. Regardless of their position, company, field of work, every job candidate is expected to have the following skills.

  • Communication: Both written and verbal communication skills are necessary for nearly every job you could possibly apply for. No matter what you do, there is a good chance that you will be expected to compose written documents, communicate with co-workers (or clients), or even do both. While you don’t need to be the next Shakespeare or a professional orator to get a job, employers need to be able to trust their employees to express their ideas effectively.
  • Teamwork: Working as a part of a team typically requires employees to collaborate as opposed to coordinate. What’s the difference? Collaboration implies shared brainstorming, open communication of ideas, and an overall “we” mindset– equal contribution is key. Coordination generally implies delegating tasks, completing work individually, and a “me” mindset. Make it clear that you can work with other people, not just in the same space as other people.
  • Leadership: In addition to working as part of a team, employers often want job candidates to show that they are competent leaders. Creative and critical thinking skills help leaders achieve goals and motivate teams. Show an employer that you are able to lead by example.
  • Budget Management: This one may come as a surprise, but every department in a company, not just accounting or sales, should be aware of the bottom line. That isn’t to say that you need to become a finance whiz in order to get a job, but it wouldn’t hurt to familiarize yourself with the basics: balance sheets, income statements, accounts payable, accounts receivable, etc. Know what these reports look like and how they may relate to your work.
  • Computer Skills: Out of every skill you could list on your resume, this may be the mostly commonly expected. Everyone needs to know computer basics, and while, at this point in the “digital age” it may be a given, if a job description lists any computer skill as a requirement, you need to include it on your resume, no matter how obvious you think it may be that you know how to use Microsoft Office. Any relevant advanced computer skills (i.e.: HTML, CSS, Java, specific software) should be included, as well.

In addition to these basics, be sure to include any and all job-specific skills that are required according to the job description or that you think an employer will be looking for. This section of your resume lets the employer know that you fit the requirements, so when you move on to writing the experience section and cover letter, in addition to preparing for an interview, be sure to show how you’ve actually used these skills effectively by giving specific examples.


Careerminds provides scalable, strategic solutions to organizations seeking affordable, web-based outplacement services. Using a Web 2.0 e-learning platform that delivers affordable, online career transition services, Careerminds provides a high-tech and high-touch blend of on-demand career transition education supported by senior-level career consultants to help displaced workers reenter the workforce quickly.



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