Employers: What are they looking for?

job-interviewAnyone who has sat down to tailor a resume has asked themselves a question along the lines of “what will create the best impression?” or “what will optimize my chances of getting this job?” Ultimately the employer will weight skills above all else.

Let’s split up skills into two categories, technical skills and soft skills. Technical skills tend to be specific and easily quantifiable; application development, speaking a second language, or the ability to operate heavy machinery can all be considered technical skills. Soft skills on the other hand are a little more broad and are skills that you can find in most jobs; communication, leadership, or teamwork are some common soft skills.

The top desired technical skills vary depending on what industry you’re seeking entrance into, a company seeking an engineer might be interested in their experience with computer-aided design modeling programs whereas a company seeking a programmer could be interested in the programmer’s experience with PHP, MySQL, etc. These are generally the kind of skills that people learn in school and/or specialize in.

Programming skills, technical support, networking, project management, and database administration top the charts in terms of employer demand for these skills. This list is not all that surprising either, most modern businesses rely heavily upon software to an extremely heavy degree, so much so that having technical experts in-house is essential. Within my own job as a software tester, although I consider myself to very skilled with the usage of computers, if one of those technical skills on the top five list weren’t present within our organization, it would be very hard to get our jobs done. Most companies are coming to this same realization that they need technically skilled people with sometimes very specific areas of expertise in order to keep their operations running smoothly (Zwieg, 2006).
Soft skills on the other hand, tend to be far more universal across most positions that you’ll come across. The top soft skills that employers want are communication, teamwork skills, flexibility, problem solving skills, and leadership kills. The reason why these skills are so desired is because, no matter how many technical skills you posses, not having these skills can serious hinder your ability to function within the workplace.

Communication is by far the most desired of all of these soft skills (Zwieg, 2006), many jobs require you to work with others and, in the process of doing so, be capable of clearly articulating what’s on you’re mind in a way that minimizes miscommunication. Even within a highly technical job, such as my own job as a software tester, these is a need to be able to communicate very clearly in order to keep things running smoothly. If I were report a software bug and not clearly describe the steps to replicate it, this could mean having to take an extra half-hour in a meeting in order to explain each individual bug to the developer. I could easily have saved that time by just writing it out clearly to begin with.

Both soft skills and technical skills play important roles within the workplace, lacking one or the other will seriously hinder your chances of an employer choosing you for the job over someone that already has these skills developed.


Employment Stats [Image]. Retrieved November 09, 2014, from: http://bit.ly/1B4uSDH

Interview Sign [Image]. Retrieved November 09, 2014, from: http://bit.ly/1y7hKLr


Mason, B. (2014, June 1). Top 10 Soft Skills in Demand. Retrieved November 10, 2014.


Zwieg, P., Kaiser, K., Beath, C., Bullen, C., Gallagher, K. P., Goles, T., … & Wion, R. (2006). The information technology

workforce: Trends and implications 2005-2008. MIS Quarterly Executive, 5(2), 47-54.




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