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Top 10 Most Valued Job Skills

September 28, 2012 by Dr. Jon Warner in Career Management

Top 10 Most Valued Job Skills

Finding and keeping a job has been a major challenge in the last few years. This is not only because there are fewer jobs but because employers have become much more sophisticated in looking for particular skills that they want in every individual that they hire. In fact, research suggests that some skills are so highly valued that if an individual has 6 or more of the top 10 that are most desired, his/her chances of getting the job, that he or she is applying for, is doubled versus those who have scores of 3 or less.

So what are these most valued job skills? In the table below we have listed the top 10 in the order in which they are ranked (with number 1 being the highest). This list has been compiled by taking over 40 studies that have been conducted on the most valued job skills for medium to large-scale employers in the years 2009-2012. Just over half of these surveys were conducted in the US, but surveys were also included for Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Holland, India, New Zealand, Singapore, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The following list reflects the most frequently mentioned skills.

# Job Skill Detail
1 Enthusiastic/Positive attitude The ability to remain consistently positive and optimistic and to maintain enthusiasm in all work tasks and projects.
2 Good communication skills To be proficient in both verbal and written communication.
3 Self-motivated/initiative Taking responsibility for originating tasks/new ideas/methods and the ability to think and act without being prompted.
4 Honest The ability to consistently speak the truth and be honest at all times, and encourage others to do the same
5 Must like people Ability to relate well to others (of all types and ages) to successfully accomplish tasks and goals of the job.
6 Persistent The capacity to follow-through strongly to completion, despite setbacks and/or obstacles.
7 Able to work in a team Effectively cooperate with others in the performance of job assignments.
8 Good organizational skills/ Work well under pressure The ability to organize self and others and to work consistently and without getting overloaded even when the pressure is high.
9 Willing to learn The capacity to maintain a mind that is open to new ways of doing things and willing to accept constructive feedback.
10 Dependable/Hardworking The ability to turn up regularly for work on time and work hard on a consistent basis.

It should be noted that the first three job skills on this list had considerably more mentions than the other seven on the list. Hence, a positive or enthusiastic attitude, excellent communication ability and self-motivation or the ability to take initiative are the “super-skills” as far as employers are concerned.

At first glance, this list seems almost too good to be true – can one person really have all these characteristics? Well maybe not absolutely every one of them perhaps, but as we said earlier, the more of these an applicant for a job has, the better (and he or she is therefore much more likely to get the position sought). It is therefore not only a good idea for any individual to assess whether he or she has enough of these characteristics (and try to develop them through coaching or training if not) but also start to use some of these same words in letters of application, a résumé and during job interviews?

Further Research Links

For those of you who want to look at some further research on the most valued skills, the list below provides a good starting point. These articles not only provide support for our list above but add other skills that are considered to be almost as important (and in some cases just as important in the few international examples we have provided).

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About Dr. Jon Warner

Dr. Jon Warner is a prolific author, management consultant and executive coach with over 25 years experience. He has an MBA and a PhD in Organizational Psychology. Jon can be reached at

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One Comment

  1. Guest Blogger Article – Who Wants to Be Promoted? « Ileighanne's BlogOctober 27, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    […] recently read a poll on the Top 10 Most Valued Job Skills – guess what was #2?  Yes, Communication Skills. It came right after Enthusiastic/Positive […]

About the Editor and Primary Author

Jon Warner

Jon Warner is an executive coach and management consultant and in the past has been a CEO in three very different companies. Read more

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