With so many job seekers competing against each other for various roles each day, their rate of success lies in demonstrating whether or not they have the right skills for the job. While the requirements of each job vary, and specific skills and knowledge are needed, there are some attributes and skills that employers look for in almost every industry.

It’s likely that you will have developed many sought after skills during your studies, work experience or voluntary work, or even while participating in sports and other activities you enjoy.

Here are the top attributes and skills that employers look for when hiring new recruits.


1. Commercial awareness

Employers will be looking for you to demonstrate a knowledge of the company and how the industry works. You should be clued up on market competitors and have an understanding of what the organisation wants to achieve.


2. Planning and organising

The ability to plan your schedule and prioritise your work effectively is really important. It will help you meet deadlines and, ultimately, get the results the company is looking for. Employers will want to know that you’re capable of managing your own work load.


3. Communication

You need to be able to express yourself clearly and confidently, and should be comfortable communicating verbally, and in writing. Employers will also note whether you have the ability to listen well, process information, and convey information in a structured and effective manner.


4. Team work

Employers will want you to prove your ability to work closely with people and build positive working relationships while achieving common goals. You must demonstrate your ability to cooperate, contribute ideas, accepting and learning from criticism, and give constructive feedback to others.


5. Analysing and problem solving

Your ability to take a logical and analytical approach to solving problems will be vital within most organisations, and you should be capable of gathering information systematically in order to establish facts.


6. Leadership

Showing you have the potential to inspire, motivate and direct others could improve your chances of securing employment. You’re at an advantage if you’re able to Influence others in order to achieve goals, and anticipate potential problems, taking swift action to solve them.


7. Perseverance and drive

Demonstrating your motivation and positive attitude, alongside your determination to overcome obstacles in order to achieve your goals may make employers view you favourably. It’s good to describe examples of when you’ve utilised these abilities in the past.


8. Working under pressure

The ability to remain calm in stressful situations is an incredibly important attribute to have, especially in high-pressure roles. It’s advantageous if you’re able to manage your priorities appropriately so as not to become overwhelmed. Crisis management is a good skill to have, but won’t be required in more junior roles.


9. Confidence

Confidence is a good trait to have, and there are some industries where lack of confidence can be the difference between you securing a job and losing out. Employers will want to see evidence of self-belief, and you will need to show that you’re confident in your abilities.


10. Flexibility

If you’re flexible, you’ll be good at adapting your skills and mindset to suit different situations and environments. Flexibility is highly valued by employers; they’ll appreciate your ability to deal with change of priorities and unforeseen circumstances.


11. Decision making

If you plan to climb the ranks once you have secured a job, decision making will be an essential skill in helping you do so. You should learn how to evaluate situations based on facts and logic, weigh up options and decide on the right course of action.


12. Creativity and initiative

Pitching ideas can help you stand out from the crowd, and is almost guaranteed to get you noticed by the right people. Taking the initiative to think outside of the box and present original but realistic ideas might make you ‘one-to-watch’ with employers.


13. IT skills

Computers are used in a large amount of everyday jobs, so it’s important to know your way around them, whether it’s Windows or Mac. With younger generations this comes fairly naturally. As well as the typical word processing, spreadsheets and emailing, some roles will look for more advanced knowledge in areas such as coding and content management systems (CMS).


14. Integrity and professionalism

It’s really important to follow an organisation’s policies, standards and procedures. You should also hold high ethical standards and remain professional at all times. Employers will also look for candidates who are honest at all times.


15. Negotiation

Often, those in more senior positions have to possess a certain degree of negotiation skills. If you hope to reach management level one day, it’s vital that you’re able to negotiate when necessary in order to achieve a better outcome for the company.


Now that you know what employers are looking for, have a look at how to use the STAR(T) approach to ace a job interview