by Cindy Wenmeir

Skills for 2013

Skills one should improve for an employable new year

Brush up on skills needed
Job seekers need flexible skills

Even though a cloud of economic turmoil looms over the job market for next year, job-seekers should not lose hope – developing the following skills will improve one's employability.

Hiring will occur, albeit in a very conservative manner. In the interim, those seeking employment can improve certain skills to impress prospective employers.

Human resource experts say that apart from domain knowledge, there are five behavioural and knowledge skills that candidates should possess to increase their chances of bagging a job.

Emotional quotient (EQ) – This refers to an employee’s understanding of his/her emotions and ability to engage with them in a better manner. More than the intelligence quotient (IQ), it is EQ for which employers hunt in prospective candidates. High EQ helps individuals build and maintain relations with co-workers and increases level of sensitivity toward others. Firms therefore look for a EQ:IQ ratio of approximately 80:20 in potential candidates, as they believe IQ can be built, but EQ is often in-built. 

Communication skills – Job-seekers should have a sound ability to communicate with others. Communication is the key in any organisation and a good set of interpersonal skills brings about a degree of transparency within the organisational culture.

Foreign language proficiency – In an era when 40%-50% of the turnover of all big firms comes from international markets, ability to communicate in a foreign language gives a candidate a natural edge. A command over either French, German, Spanish, Japanese or Chinese gives an added advantage. Job hunters can use their free time to enrol in foreign language classes.

Digital savvy – Candidates need to be savvy in computers and technology. But they should also be enthusiastic about working in a virtual environment through the telephone, Internet, video conferencing etc. Experts say that many deals and discussions take place through a virtual environment and candidates need to be comfortable and confident about enacting their roles through a virtual setup, rather than always insisting on a face-to-face meeting.


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