As the future of work continues to evolve, the needed skills to improve your attractability as a candidate centres primarily on digital knowledge and soft skills.
While core technical skills will vary from role to role and become differentiated based on seniority, there are many transferable skill sets that candidates can nurture for role advancement.
“Transferrable skills are crucial for professionals looking to enhance their leadership opportunities and advance their careers.” Forbes
From generalist soft skills like curiosity to technical skills like cybersecurity, we explore the top 10 employability skills below.
What are the top skills employers look for in 2023?
In one sense having transferable skills can present you as a well-rounded candidate. In another, it increases the pressure to maintain and showcase how these can be applied to real-world scenarios; employers want to see where you add value.
Communicating with fellow employees and senior management is a great way to gain feedback on what competencies you either excel in or lack. Investing in your personal development via courses and events is a great way to encourage career progression.
But first, it helps to identify what is considered valuable to employers, even if it’s a generalist view.
You’ll often see collaboration signposted on job ads and idealistic company value pages, but what does it really mean, and why is it valued so highly?
A collaborative workplace equates to human connection. And when we communicate our thoughts to our team, we participate in idea sharing. This, in turn, becomes an invaluable aspect of problem-solving.
“Organisations now expect their executive team to regard employees positively and encourage them to collaborate in decision making.”Consultancy UK
So, whether you are working on a project, trying to reach KPIs, or want to drive towards a common mission, collaborating with your fellow employees, both horizontally and vertically, can lead to positive and conclusive results.
Collaboration can also impact other areas, such as productivity, talent retention, and focus.
#2 Data comprehension.
Data is everywhere. It has soaked into almost every role, department, and organisation in the world.
For many companies, data has become a core determiner in things like strategy, product release, processes, and more. Therefore, understanding data collection tools like CRMs, data analysis programmes like Python, and the skill of interruption is essential to showcase.
And even if your role doesn’t involve data at its core, understanding its overall relevance to customers, clients, and employees is useful.
#3 Motivation undeterred by the environment.
Working in an office, at home, in a coffee shop, or in a coworking space?
Over the last 5 years, hybrid working has developed from a corporate quirk to an expected way of working. One looming and often disputed issue behind home-working is motivation, which leaves my employers asking the question: Are workers as motivated or initiative in a remote setting compared to the office?
From a candidate's point of view, displaying achievements or working successes in a remote environment can reassure a hiring manager.
#4 Natural curiosity.
Arguably a trait rather than a skill, curiosity remains an important leverage to learning and developing in the workplace.
Curiosity can indicate other personality aspects such as open-mindedness, personal ambition, an inquiring nature and more. In terms of its professional power, it also strikes as a useful tool.
Not only can it serve as a personal self-improvement tool, but it can also aid an organisation in digital tool investment, increasing the effectiveness of processes, helping problem-solve during projects, and encouraging interpersonal relationships to develop.
All-in-all it's a winner.
#5 Social media awareness.
Social platforms nowadays drive a lot of business, from the development of Booktok adding to publishing sales to B2B marketing companies showing off their sales acquisition strategies on LinkedIn.
Companies that don't have a robust digital footprint are becoming increasingly rare. Because of this, knowing how primary platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and others operate is good generalist knowledge to have, whether your role is directly involved with social media processes or not.
For instance, if you're in a senior role, it could become problematic if you're being delivered a LinkedIn strategy with little understanding of how the platform operates.
#6 Time management.
In a world of zoom meetings, product launch deadlines, and events, timekeeping may be an obvious and "old-school" skill, yet often underappreciated.
Whether meeting a client for the first time and giving a good first impression or responding to a coworker's enquiry about how a particular function works, people will remember how helpful you were.
That doesn't mean you always have to say yes to a task or respond out of hours; time management is largely about communicating your boundaries and building a system that supports them.
As a senior employee, you are also setting a precedent for your team, so being consistent and compassionate about time management expectations is vital.
#7 Cybersecurity knowledge.
As mentioned above, organisations rely on digital tools more now than ever. While this can be extremely beneficial, it can also leave businesses at risk within the online sphere.
Cybersecurity-specific roles, as well as knowledge pockets that dip into the area such as coding, cloud security, blockchain etc., are hugely in demand. However, organisations are struggling to fill the skill shortage, especially in the EU.
As a candidate, this is always a great spot to be in, as you have more leverage around salary and company.
Working well under changing circumstances may just help you land that promotion or secure your dream role.
One Harvard study said,
"...71 percent of 1,500 executives we surveyed in more than 90 countries said that adaptability was the most important leadership quality in these times."
The reality is that within an organisation, priorities can change, project timelines can shift, and new technologies may be implemented to support a process. If you're aiming for a leadership position, not only do you have to manage this turbulence and equip your team with the knowledge and support to handle it too.
Many employers want workers to be impactful; sometimes, this is only possible by being bold in your decision-making. This isn't an invitation to be impolite, overly forceful, or pushy, but a healthy workplace invites push and pull.
Effective leaders want some degree of challenge, especially if an employee spots a detail that has fallen off the radar, whether that's a grammatical change in an advertising campaign or data on new competition within your industry.
For some, boldness may be a natural-born trait. For others, it takes a degree of courage and practice to develop this skill.
In essence, getting stuff done. Talkers, thinkers, and brainstormers are great - they can help inspire an organisation with exciting ideas and perspectives.
But implementation is King and doers get a project from A to B. Being proactive means taking the initiative to drive closer towards a goal, maybe the team needs a deck on Instagram metrics to inform their campaign, or maybe that Learn and Lunch session needs to be given a set date.
Luckily, a CV is a perfect place to advertise your proactivity.