List of Key Skills
Interpersonal, Communication, Managerial, Leadership
n April 2015, Bloomberg released its Recruiter Report that was a game-changer for industry and job-hopefuls alike. It answered questions that had confounded hardworking young men and women, whose resumes looked like winners on paper but who, inexplicably, were just not making the cut.
So here’s the thing: The report revealed that, more than hard skills or the knowledge you need to actually get the job done, recruiters are increasingly screening candidates for smart and emotionally intelligent people.
What was that again? Yes, more and more, recruiters and employers are leaning heavily on skills beyond the technical qualifications that got you into that pool of hopefuls but couldn’t save your resume from fluttering to the bottom of the heap.
What Key Skills Do Employers Really Want?
According to Bloomberg’s report, here’s what employers are really looking for: creative problem-solving, strategic thinking, leadership skills and communication skills.
These four skills, common across industries, were in greatest demand and, you guessed it, in short supply. Other in-demand skills that were more commonly available were analytical thinking and the ability to work collaboratively.
Till not so long ago, terms like ‘strategic thinking’ and ‘creative problem solving’ sounded like just so much gibberish to graduates of B-Schools too. Employers were still thinking old school, till they realised that college degrees and technically qualified staff were not enough to get the job done – efficiently.
Yes, that one little word – ‘efficiently’ – began to make all the difference to how companies found themselves performing vis-à-vis the competition.
It wasn’t enough to hire well-qualified candidates; their employees also had to be self-motivated, performance-oriented, team players and team leaders who were high on critical thinking, analytical thinking and who could also think out of the box.
The bottomline is, these skills made a difference to their bottomlines.
This tectonic shift in perspective was profit-driven and it was irreversible. The embarrassing part is that while even the top B-Schools, with their cutting-edge curricula were churning out job-ready candidates, they hadn’t taught their students an iota about personal skills like the ones listed in the preceding paragraph.
They were churning out MBA grads in mint condition but had not addressed even relatively simpler personal skills such as interpersonal communication, listening, reading and writing, which have a greater impact on your performance at work than you think. The truth is, when B-Schools weren’t looking, the definition of ‘smart’ had changed.
Hard Skills vs Soft Skills
So what’s all the fuss about? Let’s take a look at some job-related skill sets and how they impact your performance, regardless of industry, role and seniority.
First, hard skills versus soft skills.
Hard skills include specific knowledge and abilities that help you perform your job successfully.
So, for instance, a finance specialist would need quantitative abilities, the ability to crunch data and numbers, and superior analytical abilities. A computer programmer would need to be able to write software programs just as a nurse would require medical knowledge and a secretary the ability to type.
Whereas hard skills were once all you needed to get hired, now soft skills, aka people skills, are top of the charts for recruiters.
These are personality or behavioural attributes that mainly affect the way you relate to and interact with people such as colleagues, seniors, customers or even the public at large, depending on the kind of work you do.
List of Soft skills
Here’s a list of the key soft skills that employers value.
- Interpersonal skills
- Communication skills
Many employers place a premium on soft skills because, while hard skills are teachable, soft skills are not.
While some careers more than others demand strong ‘people skills’, such as customer care, healthcare, retail and entertainment, soft skills are a boon in any career domain.
Remember, bosses are always more inclined towards employees who are personable, extraverted, easygoing and empathetic, and if you have a sense of humour, work it to your advantage!
Managerial Skills: Are You A Good Manager?
Another ‘hot’ skill set relates to technical skills, which generally include managerial or marketing skills. Knowing what these are can help you answer the question: do you have the makings of a good manager? And, if you’ve ever wondered what makes for a good manager, the answer is NOT years of experience; it’s sound technical skills.
The top-most among these coveted qualities is teamwork and leadership. Being a team player means possessing the ability to manage and delegate work. It’s about buying into the shared vision of your company/department/team and actively working towards achieving these goals and/or targets.
As you work your way up the ladder, you will need to hone another skill set – leadership skills. Can you motivate your colleagues and lead a team or, better still, entire teams of employees? Are you able to assign, delegate, set deadlines and lead by example?
If you have good organisational skills, so much the better. It means you can prioritise, decide what’s important and focus on getting it done. Simply put, it is the ability to meet deadlines. And which employer doesn’t love someone who can?
Sometimes, your ability to work under pressure, multi-task, adapt and be flexible can be decisive factors in either landing a job, being promoted or even choosing a career.
List of Managerial skills
These skills become more important as you grow in your career.
- Leadership skills
- People management
- Project management
- Time management
- Self management
- Coaching skills
Read more about each of these key management skills.
Resume Writing & Presentation Skills
We could’ve simply called this self-promotion skills. You might be the best in the business, but no one would know that unless you package and promote yourself well.
Now that you have understood the different types of skills that are called into play at the workplace, it’s time for some introspection.
We recommend that you draw up a checklist of your skills – such as hard skills, soft skills, personal skills, technical skills and professional skills – and assess your own strengths and weaknesses.
Mind you, everyone has strengths; the point is knowing what yours are and then presenting and promoting them to recruiters and prospective employers.
It is with good reason that resume writing is an art. Remember, your resume is your first impression among thousands of others that a recruiter sifts through, and your presentation skills must be top notch. Your resume needs to be compelling, relevant and powerful enough for them to sit up and take notice.
But there’s more. In times when recruiters are increasingly scouring job portals to hunt for candidates, you need to optimise your resume and cover letter so that it will match job vacancies.
There are a number of portals out there that can teach you resume writing skills that include techniques like using the right keywords, what skill sets to highlight and how to highlight them while still representing your unique strengths and abilities.
If this sounds complicated, it’s not, at least not once you get the hang of it. The point is to get your job application selected by the systems employers use to shortlist applicants to interview.
List of key skills for branding and self-promotion
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