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What skills do you frequently see hiring managers look for that you have lacked either in the past, present, or something that you somewhat lack and are looking to improve upon?

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John’s Answer

Kaela If you're looking for a way to set yourself apart from the rest of the candidates out there, you need to think beyond your degree and your certifications. Start thinking about the top job skills employers want that will enable them to build a better workforce. Most people who apply for a position have the nuts-and-bolts training required to do the job. Nearly all the hiring managers and talent acquisition professionals, I know, agree that it's your soft skills that can put you at the top of the candidate list.


1.) TIME MANAGEMENT – Time management has always been important, that means that your employers have to trust that you can manage your time and get your work done without anyone looking over your shoulder. In today's age of smartphones, social media, and binge-worthy TV, you need to prove that you can stay on task and on target.

2.) COLLABORATION – Maybe you feel that you work best solo. But in truth, today's modern age tends to bundle multiple complicated technologies into almost every project, and you can't always do it alone. What used to be a simple blog post now might need a video, user-experience design tweaks, search engine optimization, and social media marketing as well. You don't have to do it all yourself, but you do need to be able to work with others effectively.

3.) CRITAL THINKING – Have you noticed that things are changing faster than ever? As technology evolves, we're finding new ways to use it. That means the old “We've always done it this way!” attitude is nothing but dead weight on your career. Another way to think of this is “thinking outside of the box.” Adaptive thinking allows you to take the real-life situation at hand and find a solution to the problem at hand.

4.) COMMUNICATION SKILLS – Employers are looking for strong communication skills from the get-go. They want to know that you will effectively represent the company when communicating with colleagues and clients in emails, phone calls, meetings, presentations, and day-to-day work. Most importantly, they want to see that you’re able to clearly share your point of view in a concise and professional way. The good news? You can easily show this off during the hiring process when emailing potential employers or speaking in an interview.

5.) QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS – Data Management is the backbone of many organizations, and your ability to organize, analyze, interpret, and present that data is important whether you’re creating an app or looking for ways to attract new customers. Specifically, employers said they value an ability to review organized data and create an action plan based on it. So, if you’re able to dig into the numbers and emerge with real insights, you’ll have a leg up on the competition.

Condensing an incomprehensible pile of data into a few key slides for your bosses presentation. “that is Data Management.” Nailing it in the brainstorming session on how you were going to position a few new hires on your team. “That is Critical Thinking.” Even that time you organized the company softball game. That also counts as communication Kaela.

Hope this was Helpful Kaela

Thank You Ashley. “Help one another. There’s no time like the present, and no present like the time.” – James Durst John Frick

Thank You Catherine. “Our generation has the ability and the responsibility to make our ever-more connected world a more hopeful, stable and peaceful place.” — Natalie Portman John Frick

Thank You Alexandra. “Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless.” – Sherry Anderson John Frick

Thank You Alison. “If our hopes of building a better and safer world are to become more than wishful thinking, we will need the engagement of volunteers more than ever.” — Kofi Annan John Frick

Thank You Mohit. “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill John Frick

Thank You Victor. “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” — Mahatma Gandhi John Frick

Thank You Melisa. “Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth who reflect this nation’s compassion, unselfish caring, patience, and just plain loving one another.” – Erma Bombeck John Frick

Thank You Malorie. “Help one another. There’s no time like the present, and no present like the time.” – James Durst John Frick

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Alexandra’s Answer

In addition to looking for competency in the skills required to do the job you’re applying for, I’ve found that employers value soft skills that will make you an enjoyable teammate to work with. As others have mentioned, soft skills include things like time management and communication.

Employers want to be sure that you can effectively prioritize tasks and complete them in a timely manner— much like you probably do as a student.

Strong communication can mean a variety of things:
-Communicating clearly and concisely can help minimize the risk of misunderstandings among teammates
- Knowing when more communication is needed to make sure everyone is on the same page and manage expectations
- Being an active listener, everyone wants to feel like their voice is heard

Your communication skills and style can greatly influence your coworkers’ perception of you. People will want to work with you if you seem approachable and easy to communicate with.

I’ve also heard from a number of employers that even if a job candidate has less experience than another, they value a general sense of curiosity and willingness to learn and excel at their job.

I love this perspective, especially the aspect about willingness to learn. I work with a lot of hiring managers who often say that they want someone who has a desire to grow and the potential to grow. Obviously, it's important to have many of the basic requirements already, when applying to a job, so see what skills you might be able to learn via certification, online, or by volunteering. However, if you can provide examples of how you actively listened to others on your teams in the past, adapted quickly, raised your hand for new challenges, and avoided getting stuck in a rut, that helps managers determine their need to be a mentor versus a "hand holder." Alison Buck

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Catherine’s Answer

I think a skill in interviewing that often gets overlooked is highlighting how you are able to transfer skills from one job to another.

For example, I was recently hired for a role where I did not have the exact experience they were looking for. I believe that I helped put myself into a position to be hired by finding the high level skills in all my previous roles (or in fresh grad cases, courses or projects) that I think would apply to the job description.

For my interview, I stringed together all the skills I carried from position to position to show that I had the ability to apply previous experiences and learn on the job.

I think it's important to remember that your ability to be a good worker and learner is just as valuable to an employer as the technical skills you'll bring with you on Day 1 of the job.

Catherine recommends the following next steps:

Practice telling the "story" of your resume in reverse order to communicate how you've grown professionally.
Determine what attributes or skills link your experiences together.

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Derek’s Answer

I most often see people get passed over for roles because they either lack the depth to be a strong individual contributor, or lack the breadth to be a strong teammate. No matter what field you pursue, I'd advise building out a T shaped skillset (https://medium.com/@jchyip/why-t-shaped-people-e8706198e437).

You asked for personal experience, so I'll add that I was too much of a generalist for the job I wanted fresh out of school (hazards of biomedical engineering). It took many nights and weekends developing sufficient depth to my T before I was able to compete for the role I wanted.

As a note on the premise of the question, it's often not a matter of skillset. I've been in more "is this the job they actually want" conversations than "can they do the job" conversations...especially for more junior roles. I like it when folks have an online portfolio to help me understand where they are trying to go.

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Amanda’s Answer

We're at a really cool point in history right now, where more and more routine tasks are being automated. As such, the things that hiring managers are looking for are evolving.

The skills that are increasingly important are the ones that are harder to automate. Things like creative and strategic thinking, storytelling - specifically being able to tell a compelling story based on complex data analysis, and being able to relate it to what is important for your audience, whether that is a business outcome, or a broader social/economic context, or something else. Also, skills around tech-enabled automation such as building bots and being able to understand and/or code artificial intelligence are becoming more sought after (even for professionals in non-tech fields!). Also, anything related to relationship building and management, whether it's with colleagues, leaders, employees or clients.

In terms of the skills I'm working on developing to stay up to speed with this right now, it's the data analysis & visualization side of things, so I can improve my ability to influence and persuade through storytelling. But, the cool thing is that the most important skills will continue to evolve as you progress through your career, as your interests and skills develop, and as the world continues to grow!

Best of luck with your jobseeking :-)

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Krasti’s Answer

Hi Kaela,

From my recruiting experience, hiring managers tend to focus on soft skills, such as communication, teamwork, adaptability, problem solving and willingness to learn. It is important to highlight situations where you demonstrate these skills. If one of these skills is a weakness, it is good to acknowledge the action plan that you are taking to improve that skill. By doing so shows the hiring manager that you are self aware of your strengths and weaknesses and willing to take the necessary steps to become better at it. Keep in mind that not everyone is perfect and there is often room for improvement somewhere.

1. Communication - does this person speak clearly? Does this person have experience presenting or talking to a group of audience?
2. Teamwork - is this person a team player? does this person collaborate and work well with other people?
3. Adaptability - can this person adapt to any work environment?
4. Problem Solving - is this person able to identify and root cause a problem on their own?
5. Willingness to Learn - is this person willing to learn if he or she does not have the proper skill set/knowledge for the position?

Great answer Krasti. These are valuable skills to have, no matter what your role or career choice is. Melisa Cameron

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Gloria’s Answer

I recently had a promotion opportunity in my job. One of the main questions that each person asked me about was how I stayed up-to-date on trends in my industry. I am in Learning and Development with my specific job role being that of Instructional Designer. The biggest trend during this time of COVID is knowledge of virtual training, whether leader-led or web-based. Another issue related to this would be knowledge of tools that support virtual training, from Webex Teams to Zoom to Adobe Connect. I would say that whatever you choose to do as a career, make sure that you have a plan to stay engaged with the changing nature of your job. For my field, understanding trends in adult learning is more critical than the tools that you use as all the tools have the same basic components to build instruction. However, some companies may hire solely on your ability to work with programs like the Adobe Cloud Suite in my case. You have to stay active in learning about your field. There will never be a time when you know everything, so invest in becoming a life long learner. If you do see a job you desire, read the job description carefully. There are usually clues in the details about what the hiring manager is looking for, especially the first three items in a job description.

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Jack’s Answer

Hi Kaela,

Providing another perspective on an already engaging question!

As someone whose main job isn't in recruiting, but building programs to help recruits, companies are looking for talented individuals, such as yourself, who are able to think on their own. Now what exactly does that mean?

If I were to give you a fairly simple problem and ask you to build a presentation for me, I would hope that you could take the ask and work independently and problem solve. This doesn't mean that I am saying that you need to exclude yourself from your team. It means that we need more people who can take a problem, perform their own due diligence/research, and provide some sort of 'deliverable' to show that you took the initiative to attempt to solve it on your own. Will you get it right every time? No. Does an employer expect you to the first time? Maybe not. However, when you learn from your own experiences, you will show that you have the mental fortitude and maturity to tackle any problem!

Hope this helps! :D

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Vinay’s Answer

Dear Kaela

As a hiring manager few things which i consider while finalising a candidate as as follows

Communication / Soft skill : One of the most important aspect is how well a candidate articulate his/her thought process . Use of practical examples that clearly demonstrate how candidate managed an actual situation , delivered results helps me identify if candidate is really fit for the role i am interviewing.

Self awareness : I am usually very much interested to understand how well candidate knows his/her strengths and opportunity area. This is important because if a person knows what are his strong areas he can always play on his strengths and same time can work on his/her opportunity areas to improve himself. Again i look for the practical examples where candidate explains how he used his strengths in actual situations and what impact candidate created and what challenges candidate faced due to his opportunity areas.

Learning appetite : Another important aspect for me is candidate's willingness for continuous learning and upgrading his/her skill set to stay relevant in the industry. Some examples how candidate choose his latest learning path helps me understand about learning appetite of the candidate

Vinay recommends the following next steps:

Find out your strengths and weakness and have some examples ready on why do you thing those are your strengths / weakness
Think about your past interviews and try to answer the questions based on the what i mentioned in my answer. How would you answer them differently

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Katie’s Answer

As someone who has interviewed many many candidates for my group over the last 10 years, I would suggest the following:
1) Express that you want the role and why you want it. It means a lot when a candidate comes in telling me why they want this role and that they're excited about it. I don't want to just feel like this role is one of many that you're applying to - I want to feel like THIS is the job that you REALLY want. If I can see you're passionate about the role and that you'll do what it takes to learn quickly, it'll often elevate you over other candidates that may have a bit more relevant experience.
2) Have good real life examples and stories ready. Stories and examples resonate more with interviewers, compared to you just listing qualifications and business jargon.
3) Always follow-up with a thank you email, thanking the interviewer for their time and commenting on something that was discussed during the interview. Somehow I feel like this practice has been lost over the last several years, but I personally still appreciate when candidates take the time to write these emails.
4) Smile! It's so important. People want to hire candidates who seem friendly and that they would want to work with. In my job, I would rather spend a week working with someone who is friendly and enjoyable to be around over someone who is slightly technically more proficient.

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Estelle’s Answer

Hiring managers are always looking for someone special. I worked in HR and was amazed at the super ordinary resumes we would get and the poorly executed phone interview or in person interview. I would recommend for whatever field you want to get into, look to do something special that makes you special in front of the HR department. For potential med students it medical mission trips or volunteering at the local hospital. Try to bring something special to your resume that other people who you are competing with for the job do not have. Be someone they remember.

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Chelsea’s Answer

Volunteer opportunities, continued education credits, seminars and training.

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Tamara’s Answer

Hiring managers are generally looking for the skills required to perform the job they are hiring for. When interviewing for a position it is important to highlight the skills or experience identified in the job posting. Job interviews are your opportunity to highlight your skills and your ability to communicate why they should hire you over other applicants is critical. It is also a good idea to highlight soft skills such as time management the ability to work with at team during the interview.

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Amy’s Answer

In all of your hashtags, I see that you are seeking generally technical work. I would recommend that you take as many courses in Excel that you can. One employer I had joked that if Excel went away, the company would collapse. The ability to create stories from data is very important in all the areas that you have an interest in.

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Dennis’s Answer

I'll give you my advice - communication is key. A lot of people may be technically smart but having the communication skills to discuss things and put technical items in a way that other people can understand them ... that's a very high-demand skill. Also being able to take initiative and be a self-starter. Managers like to surround themselves with people who can take general direction and to come to them with plans - actionable items that they could start doing to solve the problem posed to them. Managers do not like (for the most part) when they have to direct their employees or answer question after question... They like when people take initiative and come to them with both a question and a possible solution. Be a problem solver, not just go to a manager with an issue. Be creative. Good luck!

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Ning’s Answer

Hi Kaela,

In addition to what has already been shared, i would highlight the below:-

- Analytical skills : When given a scenario based question, hiring managers would like to see how an individual analyzes the scenario and their thought process behind it. There may not be a right or wrong answer but it is their thought process that matters

- Transferable skills / knowledge : Are your skills transferable? Can your skills / knowledge be used in perhaps a different job function?

- Scalability : As their business scales and grows, are you as an individual able to scale with the business or would you need additional skills / experience to assist with that? Do you have an open mindset to be able to scale along with the business when required?

- Honesty : If you do not know the answer to a question, be upfront and let them know you do not have the answer rather than try to bullshit your way through. It is very common and perhaps at times, a self activated mechanism in some of us when we try to attempt to answer the question. Hiring managers can see through that very quickly which does not reflect well on the individual.

Hope this helps. Cheers!

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Ashley’s Answer

I would say my ability to articulately communicate detailed facts in a BLUF format but with just enough information for them to make an assessment.

I would echo what Amy suggested as my field is mostly writing and we still live on excel.

Further, I would recommend perfecting a skillset with excel and with access as some employers have a preference so being able to bounce from one to the other and/or convert data from one to the other would be very useful depending on your field of study.

Also, I would only add that since most of the programs work with one another, I wish I would have completed a series of courses on the entirety of Microsoft programs.

Additionally, and dare I say especially in understanding how newer technological advances can contribute to your employers environment and efficiency.

Our newer and younger employees are constantly teaching me what I have deemed to be "new age magic," and for that I value them, but mostly, I value their ability to adapt their explanations of how each of their area of expertise affects one another to those outside their own career field.

I hope this insight proves useful to you!

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Gabrielle’s Answer

Here are some skills that hiring managers are always always ALWAYS looking for: communication, leadership, interpersonal skills, learning/adaptability, organizational skills and self-management skills. Now depending on the job/career, these can fluctuate but usually these skills are the basic skills of any good employee. If you can hone down these skills along with not networking, the opportunities are endless. All of those, a long with drive and something that motivates you to be the best, can land you any job that you need. The best thing you can do now is recognize those that you lack, and start finding different ways to develop them. Volunteering in professional and social aspects can help you build all the skills listed above. Also, finding mentors in the career fields you are looking into is great, you'll be able to obtain wisdom from them and also any mistakes they may have made on their way to get to where they are. Having a mentor should allow you to see all the skills in action, and allow you to see in which ways you can sharpen the ones you lack. Best wishes!

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Praveen’s Answer

Hi Kaela, One of the key skills that I personally would look at 'Clarity in the current work' that you are currently doing. Are you doing it with passion or just for the sake of it. The next in line would be 'Adaptability' - I throw couple of challenging scenarios and try to see how open and excited to take up those challenges. Ofcourse the 'Attitude' with which this is being conveyed is the final factor into consideration. Overall its the soft-skills that matter to me rather than anything else when it comes to Hiring manager.

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Analise’s Answer

Hi Kaela - Great question!
Going through the recruiting process in college I found that hiring managers were looking for 3 main things:
1.) Strong communication skills - Hiring Managers want to know that you will be able to communicate effectively with your co-workers, boss, or clients. Some people are naturally very good at this and others have to work a little harder at it. I would suggest doing practice interviews with friends or on YouTube to help strengthen your confidence in this area if you are struggling.
2.) Strong team member- Hiring Managers also want to see that you can work well in a team setting as many jobs now revolve around team work. In order to showcase this, make sure you have stories of times when you worked well in a team whether in a leadership role or as a member of the team.
3.) Passion for the topic- It is also vital to have passion for the topic. Hiring managers are usually able to see if you are actually excited about this job. People do the best work when they're passionate about something so make sure you're following your interests!

Hope this helps!

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Barbara’s Answer

I'm a Sr. Program Manager in a software company; and my MA is in psychology. I often see folks in technical companies needing to improve communication and presentation skills for a variety of audiences (peers, executives, their reports, non-technical staff, and customers). Also, developing listening skills to understand others in international diverse companies and while working remotely.

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shane’s Answer

I think that there are two segments of skills to consider for a hiring manager - tangible (hard skills) and intangible (EQ- or soft skills):

1) Your ability to engage or the behavioral or 'soft skills'. Can you present these skills with specific examples or how you can show that you possess these skills.

Are you collaborative in your relationships with the folks you have worked with.
Are you innovative?
Can you influence people that do not report to you?
Are you authentic and open?

2) Your ability to deliver results or 'hard skills'. Can you present specific examples and share the results.

What is your business understanding of the role you are looking for?
Are you focused on the customer? No matter what the role may be, there is always a customer.
What is your decision making ability?
Can you execute? Whether in sales, projects, etc.
Are you able to adapt to changing environments? Work like life is constant change.

Make sure you challenge yourself by answering these questions and saying to yourself 'how do I know' and always have specifics.