Top 10 Skills Your Employers are Looking For

Occasionally we have a guest blogger here at Dave Cordle Career Coaching and I am delighted to introduce my colleague and friend, Hannah Courtney-Bennett.

Hannah is a Registered Career Development Professional and Chartered Psychologist who adopts a strengths-based approach to her work, recognising the importance of Flow in the work place to achieve career resilience and wellbeing.

In this article she outlines the top skills employers are looking for. Once you have read her article, you can read her daughter’s article here.

 I'll leave you in Hannah's capable hands:

Soft Skills and Creativity in the work place and the need for Career Resilience

As part of the speaking part of her English Language GCSE my daughter delivered a talk entitled Creativity in Education which explored the apparent lack of kudos or value afforded to students with strengths in the Arts subjects compared to those students who excel in the much lauded STEM subjects.  As part of her preparation for delivering this talk my daughter happened to rehearse in front of parents of one of her friends with whom she was staying with for the weekend.  Needless to say, she would never have rehearsed in front of me!  As a result of this exercise my daughter was encouraged to write her ideas down in the form of an essay, the content of which has subsequently featured as a guest blog here.

My daughter concludes her musings observing that, in the near future, although more students across the globe will be graduating from education than ever before, the majority of these will be in STEM based subjects.  However, it is likely that having qualifications in a range of subjects will be most useful, not only to display diverse intelligence but also because many tech-based skills and functions will be executed by computers.  She proposes that the structure of education is shifting and valuing academic subjects whilst completely disregarding creative ones will cease to serve us because soon enough there will be almost no jobs in those areas that require actual people.

Whether she is entirely right or not I can’t decide, however it set me thinking about the importance of all of those skills that are influential in career management and that fall outside of the remit of taught subjects.  All of these skills are strongly correlated with Creativity.

Career Development Professionals should be urging their clients to reflect on and champion their prowess in these ‘soft skills’.  Depending on the career sector/profession you choose to work in, there could be very specific skills, abilities and knowledge needed to do the job.  However, complementing these are general competencies and behaviours that are essential for successful working.  These are the key employability skills – the core skills that will make you effective at work, whatever job you do, sometimes referred to as ‘transferable skills’.  According to the annual report of the Institute of Student Employers (ISE) the top ten skills that employers want are:

  1. Commerciality
  2. Communication
  3. Teamwork
  4. Negotiation and persuasion
  5. Problem solving
  6. Leadership
  7. Organisation
  8. Perseverance and motivation
  9. Ability to work under pressure
  10. Confidence

As well as being highly desirable to any employer these skills are clearly important to any individual who is navigating themselves through today’s shifting Careerscape. 

Which brings me on to the need for developing Career Resilience.

Career resilience is about the ability to bounce back from career-related setbacks and learn from experiences so you can keep moving towards your career goals.  Career resilient individuals are dedicated to the idea of continuous learning, ready to reinvent themselves to keep pace with change, take responsibility for their own career management and, last but not least, are committed.

To have career resilience means being aware of one’s own skills—of one’s strengths and weaknesses—and having a plan for enhancing one’s performance and long-term employability.  This means staying knowledgeable about market trends and understanding the skills and behaviours needed tomorrow.  It means having the willingness and ability to respond quickly and flexibly to changing business needs, and it means moving on when a win-win relationship is no longer possible.

Being resilient in your career allows you to bounce back from adversity, adapt to change and resume your career identity in spite of career setbacks.

As Career Development Professionals we must strive to work with our clients to help them to not only identify their strengths – be they science based or creative skills and hopefully a blend of both – but also to encourage them to learn to value the worth of their more generic skills.  Whilst all the time encouraging them towards achieving flow in their chosen occupation and understanding and maintaining a growth mindset.

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