Regardless of whether you have a bachelor’s degree or just graduated from high school, the top 15 skills employers seek for high-skill, medium-skill and low-skill occupations are similar according to estimates based on O*NET data. For the purposes of this analysis, high-skill occupations are occupations that require a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, doctoral or a professional degree; medium-skill occupations require post-secondary training (non-degree) or an associate’s degree; and low-skill occupations require a high school diploma or less.
The top 15 skills employers look in job applicants are:
– Writing – communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience
– Active learning – understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making
– Active listening – giving full attention to what other people say, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times
– Speaking – conveying effectively information to others
– Reading comprehension – understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents
– Critical thinking – using logic to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions
– Monitoring – assessing performance, making improvements and taking corrective action
– Judgement and decision making – considering the costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate solution
– Complex problem solving – identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions
– Time management – managing one’s own time and the time of others
– Coordination – adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions
– Service orientation – actively looking for ways to help people
– Social perceptiveness – being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do
– Negotiation – bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences
– Persuasion – persuading others to change their minds or behavior
– Instructing – teaching others how to do something.
To explore the skills, abilities, occupational interests, work activities, organizational context, work styles, work values, tools and technology used for an occupation, visit O*NET and search for the occupation you are interested in. To find out the latest information on wages, employment, job growth and education required for an occupation, visit Occupation Profiles of Quality Info.
To learn about the most common abilities and work activities required to perform a job, read Employment Economist Felicia Bechtoldt’s full article “O*NET Helps Individuals Make Informed Employment Decisions”.
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