For every time period in history and every geographic area of the world, there are sets of general skills that can make a person seem more trustworthy, competent, and hirable then his or her peers. And right now is no exception.
If you’re trying to navigate the current American labor landscape, then there are a few must-have skills. Employers value these abilities more than they ever have, and possibly more than they ever will again. What traits and skills do modern employees need most?
1. Written Communication Skills
It may seem odd in a world where books and paper are giving way to screens and feeds, but in this day and age, we write. We all write, all day long, and we rely on written words more than ever before.
The subtle implications of a text message or one-line email have the power to make or break a career. And if quick messages are important, the word choices we make in proposals, ads, resumes, and formal reports carry even more comparative weight.
What’s more, as written communication becomes more vital, high levels of skill in this area become harder for employers to find. Those with strong writing abilities are very valuable right now, and probably will be for a long time.
2. Muti-Tasking Ability
With distractions hurling at us from all sides, multitasking isn’t just a job skill in our day and age—it’s a survival skill. Our performance is often better and stronger when we focus on one task and one demand at a time…but for most of us, that just isn’t an option. We need to work within the environment that surrounds us, and we need to make the most of the tools we’re given. Sometimes this means we simply have to do two, three, or five important tasks at the same time. And like it or not, we have to do all of them well.
Can you work effectively from home without being micromanaged? If so, you possess one of the most valuable skill sets a modern employee can have. Wise employers don’t resent sending teams out of the office to work—in fact, they like it, since it allows them to reduce overhead and other expenses. But it’s not easy to find employees with the drive and discipline to work entirely on their own.
If you can adapt to the unexpected, work without the benefit of clear instructions, or find your own path instead of waiting to be told what to do, you’re in luck. Because employers need these skills, and they’re very, very difficult to find. Most people like security, safety, predictability, and clear leadership. So if you can handle the absence of these things while remaining calm, collected, and productive, make sure potential employers know this.
Use Your Resume to Set Yourself Apart
To showcase your best and most valuable assets during your job search, you’ll need to start with a strong resume. And you’ll need to frame that resume with a cover letter than shows employers—instead of just telling them—what you have to offer. Visit MyPerfectResume for tools, tips, and formatting guidelines that can help you get started.
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2000 episodes.
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