By L. L. Evans
Trio Programs Coordinator Yavapai College Verde Valley Campus
Forbes.com has reviewed several sources to compile the top ten skills that employers want in 2013:
• Critical thinking (found in 90 percent of jobs)
• Complex problem solving (90 percent)
• Judgment and decision-making (90 percent)
• Active listening (90 percent)
• Computer/electronic know-how (80 percent)
• Mathematics (60 percent)
• Operations/Systems analysis (50 percent)
• Monitoring performance of self or others (50 percent)
• Computer programming (30 percent)
• Sales/Marketing (20 percent)
These skills haven’t changed dramatically, but they aren’t as technical as many would have imagined – they are broader in scope, and also somewhat trickier to display on a resume or in an interview.
Monster.com has a shorter list: They suggest that job seekers also assume that employers are looking for those who write/speak clearly, are self-motivated, set goals, and deal well with data and with diverse teams.
So, job seekers need to be aware that even if the job description doesn’t state some of these general transferable skills, that employers are looking for them. Plan in advance, and practice to a friendly audience, how you will show that you have the top five skills in an interview.
Think of examples of when you were part of a team and solved problems, or demonstrated that you could listen very well to others.
Having several concrete examples that show measurable outcomes, such as cost savings, or increased sales will help prove your point. Standard interviews ask behavioral questions about what you have done in the past, giving you the opportunity to provide different examples of your abilities that you want to put to work for them.
For example, interviewers usually ask how you’ve handled difficult situations, how you work with a team, and what strengths and weaknesses you possess.
If you are broadening your job search or are changing careers, there are many resources available to improve transferable skills or build your resume, some of which are free:
• Formal education, training, certifications or degrees through reputable schools
• Personal research through the library, trade magazines, online, and information interviews with people currently in the field
• Use of local job services such as D.E.S., or careful use of online resources such as www.Monster.com
• Volunteer work, community service, or job shadowing to gather experience/skills
• Computer skills: Online free tutorials for e-mail/common software, local computer clubs, Goodwill Job Connection services
• To improve verbal communication skills, Toastmasters clubs meet in Sedona and Cottonwood
• To improve basic reading/writing/math skills, contact Adult Basic Education at 634-6544
• If you are a veteran, the Veterans Upward Bound program at Yavapai College offers free computer and pre-college writing and math courses (call 634-6596)
No matter what level of job or career you are seeking, tailoring your resume to match the job description, preparing to showcase your transferable skills, doing your research about your employer, and practicing your interview answers will set you apart from the rest of the applicants.