Universal Job Skills

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I was quoted in Forbes.com on their article titled The Seven Most Universal Job Skills.  Here’s the list (to see explanations go to the Forbes article):

  1. Top-Notch Communication Skills (Andrea Kay’s recommendation)
  2. Creativity (my recommendation)
  3. Curiosity (my recommendation)
  4. Good Writing Ability (Andrea Kay’s recommendation)
  5. Ability to Play Well With Others (Andrea Kay’s recommendation)
  6. Re-engineering Skills (Kathy Freeland’s recommendation)
  7. Computer Skills (Kathy Freeland’s recommendation)

Like the list?  What would you add or subtract?

10 thoughts on “Universal Job Skills”

  1. To this I would add Initiative (ability to Plan in an ambiguous environment and to Execute) and Confidence.

    Dave Kaiser

  2. It may seem mundane but I think the most critical skill in many positions and industries is quality customer service skills. Whether you are in retail, manufacturing, health care, hospitality, technology, career services or many other fields, you always have a customers somewhere in the chain. People continually fail in this area and we fight a battle to find people who actually understand what customer service is. A balance between asking people if they need help and keeping a watchful eye for signs that they need more help without being obnoxious.

  3. I very much agree on communication skills, especially as we live in the Information Age. As a teacher of writing skills, I reinforce to my students the value businesses place on communicating well internally and with their customers and business partners.

  4. Love the suggestions – common sense (Susan – who probably knows that common sense isn’t so common but it is valuable), customer service skills (Julie – who is an expert at this) and initiative and confidence (Dave)! Thx 🙂

  5. A couple of things occurred to me that are probably more personal qualities than skills–though there’s an overlap between the two categories.


    Willingness to work hard.

    Old-fashioned, and it may be that Forbes’s writer took them as understood. I don’t think she was trying to give the all-inclusive last word anyway. But the fact is some people are a little shaky in those departments, and if you don’t develop those, ultimately you’re going nowhere.

  6. @Rick, I totally agree with integrity, sadly it’s undervalued, and amazingly important in terms of reputation and just being a good person, so you can sleep at night.

    I have to push back, though, on hard work. I don’t think it’s respected, millions of “hard workers” got let go in the last two years, and my experience has been that many “hard workers” are working hard on low-value tasks and feeling falsely safe and self-righteous about it. Working SMART is both more rewarding, and more rewarded, than working hard, IMHO.

  7. You know, the more I think about this, the more I think, one of the most important job skills these days is being able to, you know, GET the job, to be able to conduct a successful job hunt. There is no safety anymore, you can pretty much bank on being laid-off at some point in your career. Bouncing back and landing on your feet will be very important…

  8. @ Dave — True, there is no safety anymore. That’s why it’s important to always be prepared for the possibility that your company will lay you off. To that end, always have an updated resume, know your skill set and background, and be able to articulate all of that effectively.

    And build up your “rainy day” fund with enough cash to weather the storm of unemployment.

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