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A U.S. survey of employers reveals the skills and qualities most in demand. (iStockphoto/iStockphoto)
A U.S. survey of employers reveals the skills and qualities most in demand. (iStockphoto/iStockphoto)

Careers

Top employers reveal the skills they value most Add to ...

The job market has improved, but is still very tight and highly competitive. Because of this, it is imperative that you do all you can to set yourself above and apart from the competition, by honing and highlighting your skills that are in high demand by employers. To help you on this path, we covered the six skills and qualities most desired by employers.

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In their Job Outlook 2012 report, the U.S. National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) included the results of a 2011 survey in which it asked employers which of the skills and qualities they value most in candidates. The following are six of the most important, listed in the order of importance based on the results of the survey.

Ability to work in a team structure

More often than not, your job will require you to work with others in order to get tasks and projects completed. This means that potential employers will want to be sure that you take kindly to sharing ideas, that you are open to ideas and input from others and that you are willing to put the team and the company’s interests ahead of your own.

Ability to verbally communicate

In order to get work done, you may need to communicate with multiple departments in the organization. This can come in handy when you need to get something expedited for a customer, or if you need to understand how a function or process works. You will also need to effectively communicate with customers and vendors. An effective communicator is often a good motivator, which means you can get others to do their jobs.

Ability to make decisions and solve problems

Problems will eventually arise in every organization, but how you respond to these problems will determine how much damage they will cause. Making decisions that are in the best interest of the company, and solving problems with the most efficiency and limiting damage are traits of a good candidate.

Ability to obtain and process information

As a new employee, you will have a steep learning curve. How quickly you are able to understand the requirements of your job, will depend on your ability to understand or process the information that you receive. In some case, you will not be left on your own until the company is sure that you can do the job well. Someone who is unable to process information easily may become a liability to the company. In addition, you will need to demonstrate that you can take initiative and obtain information that is necessary to perform your job, instead of waiting for someone else to provide you with that information.

Ability to plan, organize and prioritize work

Employees are often assigned multiple tasks and projects. An effective and efficient employee should be able to categorize these assignments by due dates and level of priority, which is usually based on guidelines established by the company. Completing a task perfectly may mean nothing if it is late, or if it adversely affected another assignment.

Ability to analyze quantitative data

Every company measures its success based on numbers. The numbers that apply to you may depend on the department in which you work. For example, if you are in customer service, you may need to understand why more customers call during a certain period. Your ability to understand the statistics as they relate to the company can help you to implement plans that help improve efficiency and help the company to make more money.

The bottom line

You should never forget that your résumé is what will get you the interview, therefore it is up to you to sell yourself well enough so that when a potential employer sees it, they know right away that you are a good candidate for them. Make sure that your résumé is up to date and showcases all of your skills and qualities.

When applying for a job, do your research so that you know the skills required by that employer. The importance of skills may vary among different employers and will also depend on the job for which you are applying. Be sure to highlight the skills for the job you want on your résumé.

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