You’re one applicant competing with other candidates to nail a position you’re after. So in addition to your well-tailored CVs and your preparation for interviews, you need to know these applicant skills employers require, regardless of the job you’re applying for.
Whether you’re a fresh graduate or someone looking for career advancement, you know that getting a job and keeping it is an absolute must — especially in 2020.
You’ve studied for months and years, or maybe you’re excited to embark on an all-new career path. It’s all well and dandy until you realize that you’ve got one last hurdle to clear before you can declare to the world that you love what you’re doing.
Landing a new job was never easy from the get-go — even more so with the world’s situation and the frequency of remote work hiring these days.
You’re confident your education will give you the technical skills you’ll need, but the interview process still concerns you. Positions at the best companies can be competitive, even in growing industries — so what can you do to make yourself stand out as a qualified job candidate?
Standing out from the crowd and presenting yourself as the only choice is a no-brainer. But what exactly are employers looking for?
What are some applicant skills employers require right off the bat?
7 Applicant Skills Employers Require
Employers or company recruiters look for more than just technical skills when they’re looking to fill a vacancy. Your technical skills are expected in order to accomplish job duties.
But you’ll soon find that the added addition of soft skills blending with technical skills is what separates an average candidate from an exceptional one. Soft skills might not look as important as technical skills, but they create a big impact in the workplace.
“Companies can train employees in technical skills, but soft skills are much harder to teach.”
~ Sophie Miles, cofounder of elMejor Trato
So without further ado, take a look at these applicant skills employers require, so you can be better prepared to land that job interview you want so much. Plus, you might even discover that you’ve already got these traits along the way.
#1 Time Management
Staying efficient and being capable of meeting deadlines is critical to every company across every industry. For this reason, time management is considered to be a very valuable skill for job candidates to have.
When you’re working, you’ll be juggling lots of different projects at one time. Employers want to know if an applicant is capable of managing their time well. It takes a load off of their shoulders and keeps them from checking on you constantly. Instead, they can stay focused and on-track.
Time management efficiency can easily be noticed during an interview. By simply arriving on time or being punctual is already a telltale mark of awareness for time.
During the interview, take it further when the opportunity presents itself. Tell the interviewer about a time in your career or your life where you experienced competing priorities. Tell them how you stayed on top of the deadlines or the challenges.
#2 Frequent Communication
You can forget about ever making it far into your workplace if you don’t possess the ability to communicate effectively with the people around you.
Lots of problems in the workplace have happened and could have been avoided had people communicated properly. Employers value communication skills because it lets them mitigate risk and stir clear of problems before they even arise.
Furthermore, strong communication skills in the digital age signify good writing and speaking skills — both in person and through a computer monitor (with emails and video conferences).
In an interview, you can demonstrate your communication prowess by actively listening, asking questions, remembering the interviewer’s name, and sending a thank-you note.
#3 Problem Solving & Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is a skill that lets you examine information objectively before determining the best way to proceed. It’s a key component in solving problems. In a job, you’re bound to run into unexpected challenges and various setbacks.
Companies rely on employees who actively look for creative and positive solutions that will help the company through a problem.
Before your interview and during your careful job search, brush up on your critical thinking skills by practicing on problems that crop up in your day-to-day life.
Ask smart questions, do your research, and make educated guesses to solve a problem.
#4 Emotionally Intelligent
When we say ’emotional intelligence,’ it is considered as the ability to understand both your own emotions and the emotions of the people around you. It’s especially helpful in the workplace as teams work together to make sure a company functions successfully.
Teamwork is an important component that makes a successful company. Emotional intelligence is the glue that holds and makes collaboration possible.
One of the biggest signs of high emotional intelligence is empathy. Valuable employees sense facts from their peers’ perspectives. Proper shifts in perspective help build a positive and thriving company culture.
There is no career path that is exempt from the importance of teamwork. Even positions with plenty of independent work still require collaboration with others. Each role in a company is connected to the other. An employee that knows how to work well with people and see things from their perspective can think of creative solutions efficiently.
The importance of teamwork can’t be overstated. This is a skill that you’ll want to communicate with the interviewers.
Mention specific instances where you’ve handled working with a team, either during school or in your previous workplace. Highlight the positive outcomes that came out of your group’s effort.
#6 Technological & Digital Literacy
Our world is a technology-driven place. It demands digital literacy for every profession, nowadays. Being comfortable with online research, computers, apps, and software is expected in today’s workplace.
If you’re not very proficient at computers, make sure to showcase your curiosity. You can start with a simple typing practice that will help you improve at your touch-typing, so you can stay focused and even work faster. Typing games are good for improving your typing speed test scores.
There are lots of ways to develop digital literacy, aside from preparing for a typing test. And during your interview, make sure you communicate your willingness to take the extra mile to learn new skills. Curious people make a conscious effort to explore, learn, and investigate without needing external persuasion.
#7 Showing Initiative
Employers will always be on the lookout for employees who are hard-working and take initiative. They like job candidates who are proactive about finding ways to help the company accomplish its goals and do its work.
An employee with an initiative doesn’t just wait for their boss to give them tasks. They’re self-motivated and driven to do what they can to improve their company from their current position.
This inner-drive adds huge value to a company. A strong work ethic is critical for any employee who is driven to aim for results. They are a source of motivation for others in the workplace.
During the interview, share an instance where you brought the initiative to the workplace.
So now that you know the applicant skills employers require, do you think you’re ready to step into your latest job interview?
Practice these 7 skills as you live every day, because they are useful in not just the workplace, but in your daily life as well.
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