Across almost every industry and at almost every level, there are a few core traits that are woven into every hiring manager’s image of the ideal employee. These core traits shift and evolve over time, and the five most valuable skills sets in 1985, 1997, and 2002 don’t perfectly reflect what employers are looking for today. And of course, these traits might not hold a high priority position ten or fifteen years from now. But in 2015, it’s a good idea to make sure the following high-value traits and skill sets have a place in your job search profile.
1. Comfort with Basic Scheduling, Presentation, and Communication Technology Platforms
“Tech skills” and “tech-savvy” were meaningful and specific terms 20 years ago. If you could sit in front of a screen and click away with competence and flair, you were all set for the digital age. But at this point, these terms have become hollow abstractions. You don’t need Microsoft SQL certification or ERP implementation experience and you don’t need the ability to hack into the international banking system to be considered “tech- savvy.” But you DO need basic proficiency with the MS Office suite. You need to know how to use the internet, manage a simple database, and create a professional presentation. Most important: You’ll need to be comfortable with new platforms and software tools that you’ve never seen before.
2. Teamwork and Leadership Skills
By the same token, once-specific terms like “people skills” and “social skills” have lost their value in the modern job market. These terms can mean any number of things, from conflict resolution to client relationship management. Again, you don’t need to be a professional hostage negotiator to find your way in the world. But you do need basic leadership skills and the ability to function as a member of a team. And you’ll need to know the difference between the two. Nothing frustrates employers more than a worker who can’t transition from one mode to the other when the context changes.
3. Time Management Skills
At the entry level, if you can’t complete a project within a set deadline, the fault lies with your manager, not with you. But as you gain greater trust, you’ll also take on greater responsibility for your own schedule. A truly seasoned and valuable employee knows her own capabilities and can manage her own bandwidth. If she accepts a deadline, she’ll follow through and deliver on time.
4. Executive Functioning and Working Memory
Does your mind ever feel like a browser with twenty tabs open and active at the same time? If you answer yes, then you aren’t much different than every other working person in our modern world. The more tabs you can keep open, active, and under control, the further you’ll take your career.
This isn’t a “skill set”, exactly…It’s more of a mindset. But if you have it, it will show through in everything you do. If you radiate respect for your workplace, your team, your boss, your direct reports, your clients, your vendors, the potted plant on your desk, the community that surrounds your office, your product, and yourself, this respect will come back to you tenfold. You don’t have to agree with everyone or love everyone who crosses your path during the day…but you’ll need to respect them before they’ll respect you. And once they do, you’ll be on your way to achieving your goals.For more on how to land and keep the job you’re looking for, explore the job search tools and resources at MyPerfectResume.
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