If you’ve got a particular career goal in mind, then you probably know all about the specific “hard” skills that you’ll need to get there. Aside from these, however, there are a range of more universal traits that all employers will look for when they’re running a recruitment drive.

Some of these may be more or less important depending on the position and industry, but none of them will hurt your chances of moving forward with your career.

Here’s a list of some of the universally desirable traits everyone should try to develop…

1. Communication Skills

The broad term “communication skills” contains a variety of abilities, including the capacity to listen, write and speak clearly. It’s no wonder that this is one of the major qualities that modern employers emphasise when they’re screening new hires.

Good communication is essential for receiving information, interpreting it, and then giving direction to the resulting instructions. Closely tied with these things is a sense of social intelligence. Employees at all levels need to be able to understand the semantics of what their colleagues, managers and stakeholders say, not just the literal meanings.

This will allow them to empathise better, and act more effectively on the instructions they’re given.

2. Multi-Tasking 

More and more businesses are having their employees work on multiple initiatives, tasks and projects simultaneously. With this in mind, the ability to juggle several different jobs at once will be very valuable in your future career.

Try getting some practice in at your current position, by tackling several of your duties at once. The more you do this, the easier it will be to accomplish things correctly and effectively, with a minimum amount of stress.

If you can copy and paste in one window, polish an email in another, and keep up with the rest of your team on a project, you’ll come off as an asset that employers will fight over!

3. Enthusiasm 

While this isn’t exactly a skill, it’s still a very valuable trait to have when you’re gunning for the next big step in your career. A high level of enthusiasm will show that the employee in question is passionate about the tasks that they’re performing, or may be performing for the organisation.

It also goes hand in hand with a generally positive outlook, which can make a real difference to working environments that become fast-paced and hectic. A positive attitude will not only spread to your colleagues, but will also have a positive impact on your performance, your pressured decision-making, your creativity and the company’s turnover.

If you know that you tend to be a little pessimistic in a professional setting, this is one thing that you should work on turning around.

4. Problem Solving 

The ability to make snap decisions and get around problems is all a matter of level-headedness, creativity, and plain old logic. People with good problem solving skills show an indispensable ability to objectively interpret the information they’re given, and then act intelligently and gracefully in applying a solution.

Being a strategic thinker simply isn’t enough. You also need to be able to keep your cool and fix your mind on the task at hand when things get difficult, and be able to move swiftly forward with a task without the need for micromanagement and other counter-productive habits.

5. Organisation 

It probably comes as no surprise that organisational skills can be a massive asset to any worker. Good organisation indicates that a person has enough self-discipline to keep all their tasks well-managed and to a tight schedule.

While these traits are generally more associated with the upper echelons of a business, they can be very desirable in any worker, no matter where they are on the corporate pyramid.

There’s no guarantee that showing great organisation will help you get your boss’s job. However, it will certainly drive you to be more professional, productive and efficient.

6. Integrity 

Though this term is pretty thin on the ground, it’s still very important to think about for anyone looking to increase their career prospects. Integrity essentially means being unshakably true to both yourself and others.

It means having the courage to stand by your mistakes, and to point out the flaws in the actions of people more senior than you.

A high degree of integrity is a sign of someone who’s familiar with their strengths and weaknesses, who won’t shy away from their responsibilities, and in a lot of cases, will have a stalwart loyalty to their boss and organisation.

All of these things are a major asset to any business, so make sure that you can demonstrate it in some way whenever you’re looking for your next job.

7. Tech-Savviness

This is one that’s extremely important right now, and will only become more and more of an essential in professionals as time goes on. All modern businesses are heavily dependent on a range of different technologies, and no employer wants to use up their precious time on training people to use tools that are alien to them.

You need to be able to show that you can hit the ground running, no matter what kind of interfaces they put in front of you. Make sure you’re intimately familiar with all the standard “office” programs, and aware of the nuances that separate different versions of it, especially the ones by Microsoft and Apple.

Aside from that, it may be helpful to get clued up on accounting software and other popular business tools by using free trials. Technology is moving ahead at a mind-boggling speed, and it’s not going to slow down any time soon!

Being well-versed in current standards is going to be an extremely valuable thing to note on your resume, no matter what sector you want to advance in.


There you have a list of the key skills all modern employers will be looking for in job candidates. If you’re lacking in any of them, it’s time to act! Go out of your way to develop these traits, and you’ll make yourself significantly more valuable in the eyes of any employer.

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