Job Skills

5 Job Skills in Demand in 2011


Job Skills in 2011This article lists five types of job skills in demand in 2011 – plus a bonus!

Depending on your industry, certain skills are bound to trump others. But overall, what are employers looking for in an ideal candidate?

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Job Outlook 2011 survey, employers are looking for job candidates these top five skills and qualities:

  1. Verbal communication skills
  2. Strong work ethic
  3. Teamwork skills
  4. Analytical skills
  5. Initiative

Skill #1: Verbal communication skills

In the workplace, you need to be able to clearly and concisely communicate with co-workers, clients and supervisors. This is an important skill and is often evaluated based upon your initial interview with the hiring manager.

Skill #2: Strong work ethic

An employer is looking for a candidate who is reliable, takes initiative, and works hard. You need to show that you can work independently, arrive on time and fulfill your commitments in order to be perceived as having a strong work ethic. It’s also important to strive for quality work—employers want someone who can do the job right the first time.

Skill #3: Teamwork skills

The ability to work in a group effectively is key to success on any job. It’s likely that, at some point, you’ll need to work with others in order to get a project done. You need to possess solid communication skills (including listening) and the ability to speak knowledgably while also maintaining a commitment to the team and voicing your opinion.

Skill #4: Analytical skills

You should possess the ability to visualize, articulate, and solve complex problems and concepts. Analytical skills include the ability to use logic and design and test solutions to problems. This also encompasses formulating plans to solve problems.

Skill #5: Initiative

The definition of initiative is the readiness and ability to take action. Although some things may not be in your job description, it’s important to convey your passion for the organization and its success by offering expertise on new projects or volunteering for tasks that interest you.

Skill #6: Emotional intelligence (BONUS!)

Another highly sought after skill or quality in candidates is emotional intelligence. This can be defined as the measure of one’s ability to understand and deal with their own emotions, the emotions of others and how to properly act on those emotions. Emotional intelligence can be broken down into several categories: social skills, social awareness, self-awareness, and self-management.

How can you improve upon these skills in demand?

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Heather Huhman

Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder of Come Recommended, a content marketing consultancy.


  1. None of these matter if you do not have the skill sets for the job. I am an engineer major, and if you look at the job skills required. Non of these is anywhere near the priority. It is always the skill sets you have: programming languages, technical background…

  2. I absolutely agree! If every employee brought those six characteristics to the workplace, and I would add the willingness to learn and update his/her skills, his/her career would take off in no time!

  3. Sadly, although I am hugely strong in all those qualities, AND have evidence and testimonials to back it up, I am over 55. Therefore, laws be darned, I don’t get interviews if my resume gives a hint of my age. And those who ASK me for interviews on the basis of my excellent resume are gung-ho until they see me and recognize that I am not 30. Then, when it comes time to select a the winner, I’m told, “Your qualifications for the job are impeccable, but we’ve chosen another candidate”. Time after time after time. I’d like to know what kind of solution there is to this besides a body transplant or becoming a Wal-Mart Greeteer.

    • I sympathized with what you had encountered and an ordeal to deal with this cruel factual of our modern society. I personal have the same faith as you do and strongly agreeing with you why are all the hiring managers discriminating at the candidate age which it not supposed to be. In actual fact most of our local job positing especially in those non commerical organisation they are highly discriminating not only on age but also on the professional academatic qualificiations. You give them a masters they wana a Hons, you give them an Hons they tell you they wana a first class or 2nd class and must be from a very sounded or well known university. Wondering when this is going to put an end to all this discrimination.

      I am from Singapore, discrimination is high and always unavoidable here. Leaving all those who are 40s and 50s out of job and being unemployment even thou they are highly skilled workers. Whose fault and who to be blame????

  4. Are these skills or traits? I thought skills could be taught, such as typing skills, programming skills, computer hacking skills, nunchuck skills and so on. How do you teach initiative or emotional intelligence?

    • Michael Dvorscak (Reply to) – Michael if you read the very last line it said “skills” and “qualities” emphasis on Qualities which would fall into initiative and emotional intelligence (2, 5, and 6). These qualities are usually “inherent” (traits) in a person as “Good Work Ethics.” The rest (1, 3, 4) are considered “learned” skills.

      Mastering all of these through consistent self-improvement, self-awareness, humility, and a willingness to do so, one would become a “well rounded person” to work with. And a valued employee…

      Many people today lack “a lot” of these qualities. It’s called being Lazy. And working at “a job” not “Thee Job.” Big difference. Hope this bit of working wisdom helps…

      Good luck and God bless.

    • My employer has suddenly decided that verbal/communication skills are much more important than the quality of work or quantity of work that I put out. I have very little interaction with other employees but it is all under a microscope this last year. Very, very frustrating after being here for 10 years. It makes me feel as though they are looking for something to complain about now! I agree that these are traits and not skills but apparently these are now being added to job descriptions under, “Other duties as assigned!” LOL!

    • Exactly. That’s why you need evidence – experience, qualifications, “demonstrated skills” (tell them about a time when…), achievements, awards and especially testimonials. Otherwise you’re saying exactly what every other candidate is saying and the employer can’t make a selection on that basis. If you don’t support your claims the claims are likely ignored.

  5. Sounds like the “Strengths-Finder” results to me. If so, mine are Learner, Intellection, Ideation, Adaptiility, Includer.

    One of my sayings is “There is no “I” in team but there are four “I”s in initiative.”

    • Scott, I would agree. Not sure initiative is the skill I would be looking for in today’s environment. I would look for someone who has the drive to make things happen, and not just take the initiative to do something. The person needs to own the process and ask for forgiveness not permission.

      • This is exactly right! I’ve noticed that managers, directors, etc…spend far too much time babysitting.  I LOVE this philosophy “…Own the process and ask for forgiveness, not permission.”  We need more doers

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