Everyone knows the really rare gems are the priciest. For a hiring manager, finding a candidate with all the necessary skills to do a particular job can feel like discovering a giant emerald right in your backyard -- incredibly rewarding and also highly unlikely.
As a job seeker, how can you position yourself to be that rare find? Add to your skills, of course. The key is choosing skills that employers value above others: It’s no surprise the most desired traits are a mixture of very specific tech skills and soft skills, or people skills. Here are three skills employers say they’re desperate to find.
Software Engineering and Development
"Employers today are desperate to find competent software engineers,” says Isaac Oates, CEO and co-founder of Justworks, which offers online tools for payroll, benefits and compliance management. “iOS and the programming language Ruby on Rails are specifically in high demand, but engineers with strong fundamentals can pick up any language needed.”
Oates says that so many businesses are utilizing mobile technology that the demand for engineers has simply outpaced the supply. There aren’t enough quality developers who are competent in iOS or Ruby on Rails, he says.
There are some tech skills that recruiters and employers are always looking for, says Raedawn Johnson, HR pro and recruiter with Solutionary, an IT security company. These forever in-demand skills include Linux and network security knowledge. Johnson also says it’s a struggle now to find people who are familiar with relatively new technologies, such as Hadoop.
Hiring managers are looking for employees with the ability to communicate effectively with clients and colleagues at all levels in the organization, says Chris Fleek, director of HR services at Octane Recruiting. Fleek says this communication should include educating and managing staff as well as giving strategic presentations to executives.
“Managing up, the ability to present ideas and manage expectations with leaders in an organization, is a crucial skill in today’s fast-moving organizations,” Fleek says. “Instead of filtering information through layer upon layer within an org chart, team members must be comfortable pitching their research, work product or new idea directly to decision-makers.”
Need help with your communication skills? Check out local writing courses to improve your word-usage and Toastmasters to improve your public speaking.
A mixture of poise, leadership, communication and industry knowledge -- these qualities, and others, make up executive presence. It’s a difficult quality to define, but recruiters, hiring managers and decision-makers say they know it when they see it.
They’re looking for someone with confidence who can represent the company or their specific team in customer visits or presentations with the board of directors, says Tiffany Kuehl, staffing manager at Honeywell and HR blogger at Performance I Create. “An individual who not only knows the industry inside and out, but can confidently facilitate a conversation without breaking down and crumbling the moment they are asked a tough question, is a candidate likely to have presence,” Kuehl says.
If you’re easily rattled, try to team up with a more polished mentor and get some tips on building your confidence and keeping your cool.
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