qualities employers look for

9 Top Skills and Qualities Employers are looking for


Every year. Thousands of students graduate from colleges and universities. Yet many of these graduates barely know how to land their first job. Or at worse, they are ill-prepared for the world of work.

Sadly many eventually stay unemployed for longer than they ever wished for themselves. According to Statista, between 2019 and 2020, the number of unemployed people worldwide increased from 185.95 million to 223.67 million.

That’s to tell you that building a career requires more than having paper certificates. No doubt, people go to school to learn. If the goal of educational institutions is to hand certificates to graduates, the entire system has failed. That said, beyond earning degrees, graduates look forward to building a career for themselves. 

Therefore the question is, how will a fresh graduate build a career when he has barely landed himself his first job? In this article, you’ll learn about the top 9 skills employers look for.

9 Top skills and Qualities Employers seek from every job applicant

There are jobs. Lots of them. Yet only a few will match up with the skill sets, qualifications, and experience an individual has. Hence, the chance of one securing a good-paying job amongst the few available ones is dependent on knowing the things employers look out for– when recruiting new hands to join their teams. 

And they include: 

  • Communication skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Teamwork spirit
  • Time management 
  • Organizational skill
  • Openness to knowledge
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Adaptive skills

#1. Communication skills

Communications skill is the first skill employers look out for in any person they will ever employ. And the human resource department of any firm assesses this ability in various ways. It may be through careful perusal of the curriculum vitae of applicants. To see how these applicants present their thoughts with clarity. Without ambiguity. 

Essentially, employers assess the communication skills of prospective job applicants through written and oral interviews.

That is because communication can either be written or oral. So, whether we like it or not, there is usually some interpersonal communication amongst workers within a firm and others outside. 

Communication is not only an employable skill but a marketable skill whose significance cannot be over-discussed. That is the reason why developing communication skills such as writing, speaking, and listening before landing your first job will give you an edge.

#2. Interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skill has to do with the ability to relate with others. Some call it ‘people skills. Employers of labor in different industries look for individuals with excellent interpersonal relationship skills.

In every business organization, different forms of interpersonal communication take place. It could be in writing, through face-to-face verbal communication, or as the case may be. And it can occur within the organizational structure of a firm in different directions. 

Also, interpersonal communications can be within a department, or between two or more departments; or as the case may be.

And basically, no recruiting team of any company is negligent of the implication of these interpersonal communications and relationships on the productivity and efficiency of a company. On that note, you should strive to polish your interpersonal skills by improving your relationship with others.

#3. Teamwork spirit

Without the value of team spirit, no business entity will ever rise to a conglomerate. A business organization starved of teamwork is sure of liquidation. That explains why most employers carefully seek this quality in prospective applicants in any job recruitment exercise.

As it were, every business is profit-driven. Based on this, the management of every business hires people that are quick to grasp the objectives and vision of the company while they work hand in hand with others towards realizing them step by step.

Meanwhile, working with others to achieve a set goal(s) requires dedication, commitment, and diligence.

#4. Time management

Managing time is one thing many people experience difficulty doing. That is because doing so demands a greater level of discipline, self-control, and staying focused.

Indeed the corporate goal of any firm or company comes first. It comes before the personal gain or interests of people. According to the business entity concept, a business is considered a separate entity different from the person(s) who signed the papers that led to its incorporation.

Without a doubt, there are a series of related things and activities to be done daily in the workplace. There are clients to be contacted. While on the other end, some online research needs to be done, amongst a host of other possible engagements captured in the operations of a business, based on its nature and size.

To be a good time manager, one must master the art of setting goals and staying committed to them through actions, with zero tolerance for distractions and issues like procrastination.

#5. Organizational skills

Have you ever walked into a room or an office that is untidy before? What comes to your mind? Organizational skills.

Organizational skill is the ability to arrange and coordinate resources to enhance the actualization of a predetermined goal or objectives.

Employers seek these skills in those they intend to recruit at any time because it takes people to organizational skills to coordinate business assets, procedures, operations, and the office environment to stimulate effectiveness and efficiency. 

#6. Openness to knowledge

Learning is continuous. Therefore, employers, in the recruitment process, source for people committed to learning new things. That is because they know no business operation is static. 

There will always be change to effect arising from growth, expansion, change in policy, or technology. And the only way to keep up is through learning.

In other words, as a fresh graduate desiring to land yourself a first job, you must ensure you impress in the heart of your employer that you are someone ready to learn and advance through learning. Be it through research, reading, and training of any sort.

#7. Problem-solving skills.

Solving problems require critical and analytical thinking. On this note, problem-solving skills cover all the competencies needed to solve problems or challenges. 

For a particular business, the challenge might be a reduction in sales. And in an attempt to overcome this challenge, one may have to identify the cause of the decline in turnover. And then research and map out strategies on ways to achieve an increase in sales. It could mean more efforts to be channeled to marketing, research, and development, or as the case may be.

#8. Leadership skills

Many believe leaders are born. And others think leaders are made through conscious training and learning. Whatever school of thought one belongs to, the fact remains. Leadership is a crucial skill that most employers expect from anyone joining their team.

But aside from being one of the top qualities employers look for in job applicants, leadership skill is a life skill that you all through your lifetime.

For the sake of definition, leadership skills are the abilities of a person to influence others to act in a particular direction. Mainly toward the attainment of a common goal.

#9. Adaptive skills

Changes are bound to happen in workplaces. It could be a change in technology, policy, job description, leadership, or perhaps a change in geography. Whatever the case may be. Employers expect their employees to adapt.

That explains why the recruitment team of corporate organizations wants individuals with this skill to be part of their formidable team. 

Employers believe adaptive skills reflect the emotional strength of individuals and their capacity to work under pressure and manage stress at the workplace. However, beyond the working environment, adaptive skill is life skills that everyone needs to have. 


Having read this write-up, what other skills do you think this article doesn’t cover? 

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    1. Oh yes! Digital skills are very essential in this modern age. Every applicant needs to have a reasonable level of computer literacy. Meanwhile, you might want to talk about Reflective and Speculative skills.

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