No matter what type of job you are applying for, there are a common set of skills and abilities that all employers are looking for. If you can demonstrate your competence in these five areas, the chance of landing that job will increase dramatically. Every employer will vary, and each role is different, but all will need you to demonstrate these top five skills.
1. Ability to communicate clearly
The ability to communicate clearly is vital. This does not mean ‘talks the hind leg off a donkey’, nor does it mean ‘has a loud voice and is happy to speak in front of a large audience’. This is about being able to convey your thoughts in a concise and understandable manner. It is not just about spoken communication either, the ability to use clear and concise written language is as important, perhaps more important in many jobs. You can help demonstrate this via a simple, clear and compelling cover letter.
You are being employed to do a job and your employer will be very keen that you are able to do it on a regular basis! Reliability also means they can trust you to deliver work on-time and without the need to be micro-managed. Being on-time for interviews is a great start, as is proactively doing some background research about the company and role. References that highlight reliability in previous work or academic environments are really helpful too!
3. Commercial awareness
Commercial awareness is not about trying to emulate contestants on The Apprentice (please no!) It’s about understanding the commercial environment that the employer operates in and making decisions that fit that environment well. Do some research to understand the organisation’s products and services, as well as who their customers and competitors are. Think about how the commercial environment will affect the role you are applying for.
4. Teamwork and interpersonal skills
Birth, death, taxes and working in a team environment. Four things that happen to us all. Show that you can lead, but also be led. Demonstrate you can delegate effectively too. Teamwork is about building effective relationships to help achieve project goals and business objectives. Think about teams you have successfully worked in and be prepared to discuss. One last tip, if you are in a panel type interview, be sure to engage with each member of the panel, using effective listening skills and maintaining eye contact as appropriate. Show you are inclusive. It really works.
5. Problem-solving skills
You can add ‘problems’ to the list of things that happen to us all. What separates an OK employee from a great one, is how they go about solving those problems. Come up with some killer examples, including one where you solved a problem of your own making (no one is perfect!) Problem solving often involves effectively using others, so think about the team aspect too. Often, solving a problem leads to innovation and new ideas. Try to think of a great example with a real wow factor.
These five important job skills really are must-haves if you are looking for a job. Spending a little time to brush up on these skills and thinking about how you can demonstrate them, will go a long way.