What Skills Do Employers Want?

Every worker has two types of skills: Technical Skills and Employability Skills.

Paulette WootenTechnical Skills are the specific skills you need for a job — like working a forklift, computer animation design, cosmetology, being a trained surgeon, or financial analyst skills. Technical Skills, or Occupational Skills, are what you learn in on-the-job training, in an apprenticeship, or in college.

Employability Skills are often called Soft Skills, or sometimes Work-Readiness Skills. They are also Transferable Skills because you can use them in many jobs. Employability Skills are what all employees at all levels need to be considered hirable.

In other words, you can be a very skilled Carpenter or Librarian, but if you don’t follow company rules, or you are mean to customers, then you will not keep your job very long or you will not move up into higher-paying positions.

Look up “employability skills” and you will find several long lists of people skills and personality traits. The Employability Skills that hiring managers look for most often include:

  • Communication Skills (speaking and writing)
  • Interpersonal Skills (getting along with others, being polite and good-tempered)
  • Problem-Solving Skills (able to think on your feet, willing to change actions quickly)
  • Teamwork (comfortable working with different types of people, contributing to group work)
  • Ethics (take responsibility for own actions, honest and trustworthy)

Other Employability Skills include being organized, computer and mobile technology skills, consistently showing up to work on time, being a self starter, having clean appearance and hygiene, and managing your own career.