Here are the Skills That Will Get You Hired– And Be Promoted!

 In Career Development


A key question that many employees want to know is the following, “What is the employer looking for in a new employee?”  Actually, the question is not quite as difficult as you might think.  We have read in the past year or so, since the beginning of the pandemic that “soft skills” are key to many employers.  Now, our experience is that it makes no difference if you are college degreed individual contributor or an individual contributor working on the plant floor– the skills are exactly the same!  Why would you think anything differently?  The truth is, they are not.  Let’s explore what those skills are.


A recent survey by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce,  Workplace Basics: The Competencies Employers Want,  identified the top 5 skills that employees are seeking today.  Those skills are the following:

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Sales and customer service
  • Leadership
  • Problem-solving/complex thinking

This is probably the number one skill employers are seeking in employees today.  The ability to communicate– in written and oral form– not “text talk” or emails.  The ability to speak and write clear and convincingly, be able to address questions and provide a logical, cogent answer when a question is asked.  Emotional intelligence is another factor that ranking with communications.  Do you possess the emotional sensitivity to work in a team environment?


In today’s world, working in a team environment is both crucial and critical for success.  There are few “independent players” in the workplace today.  Being able to get along with a wide variety of people of different cultures, backgrounds, ethnic and religious differences, handicaps as well as sexual orientations is crucial to success.  Everyone succeeds when the team wins, nobody succeeds when the team fails.  Leadership is another key, crucial area that aligns with teamwork.  Employers like to see employees who can lead a team, make good decisions, are able to “coach” and guide their teammates into making decisions that ensure team success.  Note that I did not say BOSS– I said lead.  There is a big difference.  Anybody can boss– just look at the Pointy Haired boss in Dilbert.  If you look further, you see he never gets any results from either Dilbert, Wally, Alice, Asoc or the other individuals who work at the company.  Leadership and communication skills go hand in hand.

Sales and Customer Service

Remember, if nothing is sold, no money is made.  We are all in sales, everyone of us.  We have to remember that if the customer does not buy what we are selling, no profits are made and we are out of a job.  Customer service is critical.  Taking care of the customer ensures that they will come back and buy again.  We all like to buy from someone we like, know and trust.  Here are some ideas on how to improve your customer service skills.

Problem Solving and Critical Thinking

This is one of the most sought after skills in the employee today.  Can you think and figure out the challenge?  Our experience is that we ensure that the new employee has the training, but them we let the employee work to solve a problem.  Hard, critical thinking is important here.  If you don’t know, be sure to ask.  However, asking for direction and guidance every time is a sure sign that you are unable to think and analyze situations that you are faced with.  We expect college graduates to be able to “jump in and go” with less training today than in previous years.  This is not all good.  One has to have some background and experience in order to make good decisions.  Good decisions come from making bad decisions.  We have all made bad decisions– and learned what went wrong!  As always, if you don’t know, ask.  Ask as many times as necessary, but hopefully each time you ask, the question is different!

Our Advice

Being able to ask good questions, think critically and logically while working in a team environment where you help lead the team to success while ensuring that the customer is taken care of will ensure that you have a job and are able to fulfill mission requirements.  Happy customers mean increased sales and profits.  No customers mean that there are no profits.  Ensure that you have happy customers!


Picture by pexels

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