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Skills Employers are Looking For


Employment & Learning

It is not easy keeping up with our ever-changing workplace. Technology is changing the way we work in dramatic ways, leading to what some people are calling the fourth industrial revolution; just as each of the past three industrial revolutions (the steam engine, the age of science, and mass production) required workers to adapt their skills to keep up, this technological revolution is forcing us to rethink what we do, and how we do it.

Having new computer skills or knowing how to code is only part of what new technology demands of workers.  It is also about your ability to do the things a computer cannot do – your uniquely human interpersonal “soft” skills.

Complex Problem Solving: The ability to take on a complicated problem and work on solving it has become a high-valued asset. It is not just about the solution – it is the process of figuring it out.  If you think of a time when you took on a complicated problem and worked to resolve it: what happened? What did you do? It may be a problem presented by a customer or client, or perhaps a challenge facing your team. Think about specific examples and find ways to share them on your resume and in your interviews.

Critical Thinking: Critical thinkers who can tell facts from fiction and challenge their own and other’s biases and illogical thinking bring a highly valuable strength to the workplace. A critical thinker can think differently about a situation, gather information, and develop new ways of understanding. Think of situations where you might have been able to challenge a client, colleague, or employee to look at a problem in a new way.

Creativity: Creativity is about innovation, risk-taking, and the willingness to try something new. It takes courage and the ability to challenge the status quo. Think of times where you tried a new way of doing an old thing. Maybe you found a way of making something routine into something fun, or you were able to generate interest in a new idea or behavior among your colleagues or clients.

People Management: If you have had an opportunity to take charge of leading a group, or even simply overseeing an individual, then you may have an interesting skill for employers in this new economy. Leading people is not a skill that technology can handle (yet). Managing others demonstrates your responsibility, initiative, and maturity. It means that your employer trusted you. People management skills include an ability to be a role model, to solve problems, to think on your feet, to make decisions, to be supportive and assertive when necessary.

Coordinating with Others: Many companies are much less hierarchical than in the past. A lot more work happens in small teams; teamwork requires planning and coordination. Your ability to make a plan with others and think of a way to ensure that goals are set and met cooperatively is extremely valuable.  Also, companies are striving for greater inclusiveness, which will benefit from your ability to work well with diverse colleagues and clients.

Service Orientation: Customer service is as important as ever, even if we are providing it using new tech tools such as social media or email. Employers continue to value a personality style that enables an employee to be helpful, patient, and considerate, as well as inclusive, resourceful, and informative in their work with customers.

Your Employment and Learning staff are working in-person by appointment, and remotely through email, phone, and Zoom. Should you have any questions about identifying your skills, resumes, job searching, job interviews, or job searching online, feel free to contact any of your Employment and Learning staff for support.  You can reach us at:

Stay motivated; stay healthy as you achieve your employment goals.

You can view the full original article by Karin Lewis, JVS Toronto at: