18 Key Skills Employers Look For in 2024

Understanding what key skills are in demand by the job market is important to set yourself apart from other candidates. When you know what employers are looking for, you’ll be able to optimise your CV accordingly and have a higher chance of standing out from the crowd. 

Fortunately, you don’t need to look further. We’ve got the ultimate list of the skills you should possess and should be including in your CV to make your job application a success. 

Highlighting a mix of both soft and hard skills, here are the top 18 key skills that employers are looking for in 2024: 


Microsoft Office: Familiarity with Microsoft Office (and GSuite) is essential across several industries that employers expect competence in these tools, even at entry-level positions. Furthermore, proficiency in the skill will show you as an asset and set you apart from other candidates. 


Microsoft Excel: While knowledge of Microsoft Office applications has already been mentioned, the importance of proficiency in Microsoft Excel also needs to be highlighted. Many people have basic knowledge on Excel, but very few are proficient, which is what many employers value. 

Upskill on Microsoft Excel. 


Programming: Basic coding skills are increasingly sought-after, particularly in digital roles. Even a fundamental understanding of HTML or CSS can boost your employability. Proficiency in programming languages enables automation, customization, and innovation in various job functions. 

Upskill on programming. 


Photo and Video Editing: Experience in photo and video editing software adds versatility to your skill set. Basic knowledge of tools like Adobe Photoshop can enhance your employability, so make sure to put it on your CV. If you don’t have photo/video editing skills but would like to learn about it to have additional skills, there’s tonnes of resources online you can learn from. 

Upskill on video editing. 


Social Media: Understanding social media platforms is increasingly important in marketing and communications roles especially in today’s digital age. For this, you don’t have to be an expert but if you’re familiar with the common social media platforms and how to use them, you’re good to go. 

Upskill on social media. 


Analytics: In a data-driven world, the ability to interpret and analyse data is significant. This skill may depend on your career/niche, so make sure to research what applies to you. Needless to say, if it does apply, brush up on analytics tools relevant to your field to stay ahead.  


Communication Skills: Mastering effective communication is essential in any job and is one of the key skills employers look for. It’s not just about speaking; it’s about conveying ideas clearly, fostering teamwork, and understanding non-verbal cues. Strong communication skills facilitate collaboration, conflict resolution, and customer interactions. 


Experience and Knowledge: This is not necessarily a ‘skill’ but prior experience or industry knowledge sets candidates apart. Seek internships, part-time jobs, or freelance work as much as you can. You can also take on free online courses to gain knowledge and certifications that you can add to your CV. Practical experience demonstrates initiative and a commitment to professional growth.  


Emotional Intelligence: The ability to navigate social dynamics and manage emotions is crucial in the workplace. Cultivate emotional intelligence to thrive in any environment. Emotional intelligence fosters empathy, and effective interpersonal relationships, thereby enhancing teamwork and leadership.  

Upskill on emotional intelligence


Digital Marketing: Although it only applies to certain careers, digital marketing skills are currently in high demand. Invest in training programs to learn SEO, content marketing, and other digital strategies. Having proven skills in digital marketing will surely land you a job in the relevant field. 

Upskill on digital marketing. 


Quick Learning and Adaptability: With new technologies and methods emerging left and right, adaptability is a highly valued skill now more than ever. A quick learner can easily adapt to new technologies, methods, and work environments, contributing to flexibility. Demonstrate your ability to learn quickly in your CV or in your interview. 


Teamwork: In every role, teamwork is essential. Effective teamwork fosters efficiency and mutual support, which leads to successful project outcomes. Learn to work effectively in teams, highlight it as your skill, and you’ll leverage yourself from other job applicants.  


Administrative and Organizational Skills: Employers value administrative and organizational skills due to their role in maintaining efficient operations within a team. These skills encompass other valued skills such as time management, attention to detail, and problem-solving. Brushing up on these skills will help you in many ways, and not just in a job application. 


Strong Work Ethic: Reliability and diligence are timeless values. Cultivate a strong work ethic to earn the trust and respect of employers then use it to your advantage. Previous employers can put in a good word for you if you’ve proven yourself on this skill, which will then help you in your future endeavours.  


Customer Service: Customer-facing roles require excellent interpersonal skills. There are many high demand job roles related to customer service, so it’s no surprise that this skill made it on the list. Study and gain experience on this skill if you’re planning to take on a relevant career. 


Positive Outlook: A positive attitude is contagious and highly valued by employers. Believe it or not, having a good attitude (along with the right skill set) can set you apart from someone more skilled but with a bad attitude. That’s because employers can teach you technical skills, but they can’t teach you to have a good attitude. 


Presentation Skills: It’s one thing to know how to use presentation tools but it’s another thing to know how to effectively present your ideas. Employers look for this skill as presentations are often held regularly in a corporate workplace, so if you’re planning to enter the corporate world, make sure to take note of this. 


Problem Solving: Employers prize critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. Sharpen these skills to navigate challenges confidently. Effective problem-solving skills enable proactive problem identification, analysis, and resolution, essential for innovation and efficiency. 


Mastering these key skills will not only make you a desirable candidate but also equip you for success in any career path. Invest in your professional development to stay competitive and unlock your potential!

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