The Top Skills Employers Look For - Penn-Mar

The Top Skills Employers Look For

Posted on May 17, 2022

The process of searching for a new job isn’t always easy. There’s so much to consider when trying to put your best foot forward and stand out from other applicants, like building your resume, writing cover letters, getting letters of recommendation, and more. Another important part of job hunting is having the skills employers are looking for.

At the end of February, there were over 11 million job openings across the United States. While the skills needed for each particular job vary from job to job, there are a collection of general skills that employers look for in candidates. In this article, we’ll share some of the top skills employers look for.

What Skills Do Employers Look For?

There is a wide range of skills and qualities employers look for when hiring for a role at their company. Different positions will require different skills, and as a candidate, you’ll want to be sure to include both hard and soft skills on your resume and in your other application documents. While hard skills are a necessity for certain job opportunities, issues with soft skills are one of the main reasons hires don’t work out, and are therefore what most employers are looking for. Most—but not all—of the following skills will involve soft skills, including:

Communication Skills

Communication skills are vital for just about every job there is. Whether it is with fellow team members, clients, or other individuals outside the company, communication is a key part of being a productive employee. Some of the most sought after communication skills include:

  • Verbal communication
  • Written communication
  • Nonverbal communication
  • Conciseness
  • Friendliness
  • Active listening
  • Respect
  • Clarity
  • Empathy

Work Ethic

Other types of skills that employers are almost always looking for involve work ethic. Most organizations won’t want to give you a chance if they don’t think you’ll work hard and do everything you can to succeed. Here are some of the specific skills that relate to work ethic:

  • Dependability
  • Professionalism
  • Initiative
  • Accountability
  • Commitment
  • Time management
  • Self-motivation
  • Integrity
  • Discipline


Skills that impact teamwork are also essential to nearly all employers. Companies only run efficiently when their employees work well with each other. How well you work together with others can be a major factor in whether or not you are chosen for a position. Here are some of the skills related to teamwork:

  • Communication
  • Responsibility
  • Negotiating
  • Empathy
  • Honesty
  • Mediation
  • Accountability
  • Conflict management
  • Collaboration
  • Coordination
  • Awareness

Interpersonal Skills

Similar to teamwork, interpersonal skills are also something that most employers are looking for in candidates. Interpersonal skills involve how you interact with individuals at your company and outside of it as well. Many of these skills are often essential for employees to fulfill their job duties, and include:

  • Asking for feedback
  • Providing feedback to others
  • Flexibility
  • Team building
  • Patience
  • Tolerance
  • Mentoring
  • Diplomacy
  • Risk-taking
  • Public speaking
  • Sensitivity
  • Humor

Time Management

Time management is a skill listed under the work ethic skills, but it is also an area made up of many skills itself. These skills determine how well you are able to stay on task, whether you are able to get your work done, and how efficient you are. Time management skills include:

  • Delegation
  • Goal setting
  • Planning
  • Prioritizing
  • Self-starting
  • Organization
  • Stress management

Computer Skills

As technology continues to evolve and become a part of everything that we do, computer skills are necessary for the majority of jobs out there. These skills mark the first set of skills on this list that are considered hard skills instead of soft. Some of the most important computer skills that employers are looking for include:

  • Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
  • Word processing and typing
  • Email management
  • QuickBooks
  • Data entry
  • Calendar management
  • Social media
  • Coding
  • Google Suite
  • Photoshop

Some of these different areas of skills overlap with one another, but this only demonstrates how important those skills are. If you don’t already have these skills, you should make it a priority to try and improve them. Then, you should make sure to highlight them in your resume, as well as emphasizing these skills in any cover letters that you send out to employers—which you should definitely do!

Now that you know which skills employers are looking for, it’s time to work on cultivating those skills, and putting a spotlight on them when applying to jobs. Hopefully, you’ll be hired for your dream role! We even hope it’s with us at Penn-Mar Human Services!

At Penn-Mar Human Services, our mission is to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) to live courageous lives full of self-determination, independence, and equity. Our approach is innovative, person-centered, and successful. Through meaningful employment, community inclusion, and residential choice, the people Penn-Mar supports are empowered to live their best lives.

If you’re interested in a human services career and want to make a difference in the lives of others, consider filling out an application to join our team! We offer a wide range of employee benefits and competitive compensation. You can also get involved by learning more about our services, making a donation, or signing up to volunteer with us today!

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