7 Key Skills You Need to Get Hired Right Now

job skills specialties get hiredBy Jada A. Graves

The days when employers hired generalists are gone. Today, employers seek hires who possess particular skills, be they technical -- computer skills, for instance -- or analytic, such as problem solving. In some cases, these skills are specialized and specific to particular types of jobs. Other skills are coveted across a variety of professions. According to career experts and various sources, these are the top seven skills employers are seeking in job candidates:


1. Project Management
The Project Management Institute recently released a forecast predicting that between 2010 and 2020, there will be 15.7 million project-management positions created globally across seven project-intensive industries: business services, construction, finance and insurance, information systems, manufacturing, oil and gas, and utilities. In the United States, demand for project-management professionals should translate to 6.2 million jobs by this decade's close.

If you're hoping to snag one of these positions, you should provide concrete evidence of your capabilities as a project manager and also obtain the proper certification. PMI reports that those with a Project Management Professional credential earn approximately 16 percent more than those without it. During the hiring process, be sure to emphasize your distinctive strengths, keeping in mind certain components of the job. Mark Langley, president and CEO of PMI, says that some of those skills include schedule and budget management, strong leadership, strategic and business-management skills, plus organizational expertise.

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2. SEO, SEM And Social Media Savvy
The jobs marketplace HireArt matches employers with the best hires through automated interviews and online tasks that exhibit an applicant's specific skills. HireArt's vetting process found that companies are seeking employees with social media know-how. But getting a job in social media is about more than following your favorite celebs on Twitter and trolling Facebook for the funniest statuses. There's strategy involved in using a social network to promote, and employers are specifically seeking those with search engine optimization and search engine marketing skills. But "it's hard to get a job [in this field] if you've never done it before," says Elli Sharef, co-founder of HireArt.

If you have no experience actually working in social media, you might be able to use a guerrilla approach to prove your worth. "Employers are open to a new type of proof," Sharef says. "If you're able to generate a large following on Twitter, that's proof that you could do the same for your target company as well. If you're a candidate who wants to break into this field, the best way is to just start doing it on your own."

Proving you're flexible could also give you a leg up. "In the beginning, if you wanted to be a social media manager, you just needed to know Facebook," Sharef says. "Now you need to know Twitter, Snapchat and more."

Lastly, job seekers in this field should turn to the Web for courses in analytics, SEO and SEM. Free online courses may illuminate some of the rudimentary skills, but advanced seminars are also available.


3. Critical Thinking And Data Analysis
One of the more abstract in-demand skills employers desire to find in candidates is the ability to assess and analyze information, then use that information to make prognoses, recommendations and plan projects. But your approach to prove dexterity as a critical thinker is similar to how you'd discuss other "soft skills": Relate and emphasize both professional and pertinent real-life instances where you've utilized these skills and achieved positive results.

More: Match Your Communication Skills With The Right Job


4. Sales Experience
A few implied skills go along with mastering the art of the sell. Being articulate to relate the qualities of the product you're selling. Practicing the patience required to wait on customers to determine that the product is something they're interested in. Having a talent for relating to a variety of people and adjusting your pitch according to their personalities. Possessing the stamina to handle the workload and the drive to meet quotas. When a young job seeker dissects "sales experience" according to these qualifiers, it might be easier for them to see some of the advantages of the profession -- particularly for companies hiring today. There are other important qualities an effective salesperson must show. "It takes a gregariousness, charm and extroversion, and on top of that you have to be very tech-savvy," Sharef says.

If you don't have as much experience as the job description outlines, don't underestimate how much your ability to effectively sell yourself could help you in an interview.


5. Writing
Nearly every job description includes a line about seeking a candidate with "strong communication skills." Before you shrug it off, consider why this seemingly minimal requirement hasn't yet become a job-listing given.

Many candidates are proving to hiring managers that they lack basic writing ability by submitting grammatically tragic cover letters and poorly constructed resumes. Although it varies from manager to manager, something as innocuous as the wrong "their" could keep you out of the running for a dream position. This is particularly true if you're looking to enter a communications field.

Those entering other lines of work don't need to be Hemingway, but they do need to elevate their written communication several notches above LOLspeak. According to Sharef, one of the main reasons young job candidates haven't conquered spelling, subject-verb agreement and proper tense is because they live in a mobile-phone culture. "We do a writing test at HireArt and that's one of the biggest ways that people fail," she says.

Also keep in mind the way that you write on social networks and in other easy-to-Google forums. A sleuthing recruiter could quickly and easily stumble across your poorly worded opinions elsewhere.

More: How To Get Ahead At Work: What I Wish My Parents Told Me


6. Fluency In Computer Languages
Common computer languages like C++ and Python will always be necessary to know, but Sharef says companies are also looking for engineers proficient in Ruby on Rails. Staying ahead of the curve on JavaScript is also imperative: "There are huge changes happening with JavaScript. For example, when you use Facebook now, the page doesn't reload the whole page every time there's an update. It just updates a small portion," she says. "It's JavaScript that provides the ability to make those AJAX [Asynchronous JavaScript and XML] changes."

These obviously aren't fake-it-until-you-make-it skill sets. Only those with the chops will even be considered for tech positions. There are minor things you could do to stay more relevant in the industry, however. Building mobile-phone applications is currently a blossoming subsector, so you should be deft with all the operating systems. "If you're an iPhone user, borrow your friend's Android phone for two days. Learn more about how they work," Sharef says.


7. Problem solving.
According to sites like Mashable.com, the ability to identify a problem and make intelligent plans for a successful solution is another, less-quantifiable trait that employers are eager to find in job seekers today. And similar to having social media skills, this is one where previous professional experience helps, but isn't always necessary if you have relatable real-life experience that can show your mettle to the hiring manager.

Casually mentioning your expertise in this arena won't do the trick. (Other than effectively showing that you don't actually have enough problem-solving skills to solve the problem of landing a job.) The best evidence would be specific and detailed examples on your resume, cover letter, and during an interview of how you've worked to overcome obstacles and achieve success.

You Must Have These Job Skills for 2013



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Bob Prosen

Landing a job in today’s economy requires you to think and act differently. If you’re wed to the traditional way of job-hunting you’re destined to compete with everyone else chasing the same few opportunities.

The most effective way to get a job is to think like an employer. Sounds simple but many people don’t appreciate the importance or know how to do it.

Before beginning your search you have to understand why all companies hire. It’s to solve problems and your challenge is to position yourself as the solution. In other words, hiring you allows the company to solve problems faster, better and cheaper than they could without you. Here’s how to start.

Step 1 - Identify your skills and expertise. Match them with specific job openings and position titles.

Step 2 - Find the companies you want to work for and research them to uncover their problems. Use the Internet, Google alerts, read press releases and speak with current and former employees.

Your ability to uncover your target employers’ problems and position yourself as the solution is what will get you hired.

Here are just a few potential problem areas. Completing projects on time and on budget, improve product quality, improve customer service, increase sales, reduce costs, enhance online marketing, etc.

Step 3 – Identify the hiring manager.

Step 4 – Create a personal marketing plan to get your solutions in the hands of the hiring manager.

Step 5 – Develop a “One-Sheet” resume, to separate you from the crowd, along with a set of compelling cover letters that show your experience solving similar problems.

Step 6 – Follow up is essential to getting an interview. Be persistent but not a pest.

As a former executive with several Fortune companies I know how leaders think. People who have followed this process have gotten hired.

Good luck and never give up!

Bob Prosen –
CEO
The Prosen Center for Business Advancement
www.mycareeraccelerator.com

P.S. And yes, this works for recent college grads as well.
P.S.S. Market yourself to the companies you want to work for whether or not they have an opening.

February 26 2013 at 9:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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