most important skills employers

Time and again, when clients show me their old resumes, I see skills that are completely outdated or irrelevant. Not only does listing these skills take you out of the running, but it really ages you as well. To avoid this career faux-pas, here are the most in demand skills employers look for in 2019. I won’t say “and beyond,” because in a highly technical environment, things change so rapidly that in 2020, this post probably won’t be up-to-date. But trust me – I’m staying abreast of trends in employment so that you can focus on doing what you need to do in order to get ahead in your job search. (and read “7 Signs that Your Resume is Outdated” to make sure yours isn’t).

Most of my clients these days are in one of four types of fields: data analytics, supply chain logistics, digital marketing, and fintech. This doesn’t mean that companies aren’t hiring sales people or accountants or administrative assistants, but it does mean that even those roles require time management, collaborative, and creative skills, as well as a working knowledge of the newest software tools for their field. Case in point – I received a call from an individual who hadn’t worked in retail for over 20 years, but wanted to return. Pointing out that candidates with more recent experience would be familiar with POS (point of sales) software, her response was, “what’s that?” You see my point.

Skills that are fairly meaningless in 2019 – but that some job candidates insist on including on their resumes include typing speed, the ability to “use the Internet,” and Outlook (is Outlook even a skill? I think of it as office email/calendar, etc).

So, what are the most in demand skills employers look for in 2019?

Let’s divide them into soft skills and hard skills. According to a LinkedIn survey, the most important skills employers require are as follows:

Soft skills: time management, adaptability, collaboration, persuasion, and creativity

Hard skills: UX design, talent management, analytics, AI, and cloud computing

Let’s tackle hard skills first, since you get to choose which one(s) interest you, and then all you need to do is find some classes that teach you the skill. Soft skills are harder to qualify because everybody thinks they have them, and they say they have them, but how do you prove it? And how do you revise your resume around any of these important skills employers want?

For soft skills, instead of saying that you manage time well, provide specific examples where your awesome time management skills saved a project, or made a difficult client happy. Don’t say you’re creative; give an example of your creativity. You’re persuasive? Cite an example of your influence in a corporate setting.

Make sure your resume addresses skills-in-progress

Let’s say you haven’t yet been hired for a job that requires one of those top five hard skills, but you are taking courses and/or getting certified. Include on your resume academic projects in your field. So if you’re studying UX design, link to a site that you designed as an academic project so employers can see that you know what you’re doing well enough to be hired on an entry level, at the very least. Interested in talent management? While earning a degree or certification in human resources, include on your resume case studies you and your classmates wrote about employee engagement, or performance evaluations.

For some examples of how to include academic projects in your resume, take a look at the samples of recent graduate resumes on my website.

If you’d like personal assistance with crafting your resume to showcase these skills employers looking for, let’s talk: