My Take: The Top 10 Skills Employers Want to See from New College Grads. Are They Relevant to Mid-Career Job Seekers?

September 30th, 2019

What do you think are the top 10 skills that help new college grads land their first real job? LinkedIn recently looked into it, analyzing data about successful 2017 grads, and published a guide to getting hired in 2018.

Here’s a list of the most important skills employers are looking for when hiring young workers:

  • Microsoft Office
  • Customer service
  • Leadership
  • Public speaking
  • Social media savvy
  • Teamwork
  • Time management
  • Management
  • Event planning

It’s an interesting list and seems to represent some skills that are no-brainers for kids entering the workplace for the first time. Most people, including college students, use Word to produce documents, and many high schoolers are more proficient in PowerPoint than their parents, so Microsoft Office is covered. Social media savvy is hard-wired into their DNA. Anyone who has been on a sports team knows the value of teamwork. Time management, too, is a skill kids acquire when they’re away from home at college, and they can learn the basics of customer service at a part-time restaurant or retail job.

But leadership, management, and public speaking sound more like the kinds of skills mid-career job seekers have honed over their years in the workplace. It got me thinking about what a list for mid-career job seekers would look like. Is this list relevant to someone who is looking for a job at mid-career? I think it is relevant, if a little basic. These are the skills people should have acquired by mid-career, and if not, that could be a problem.

I’d add to those basics with:

  • Communication
  • Problem solving
  • Strategic thinking
  • Industry knowledge
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Project management
  • Proficiency with the newest technology specific to your industry
  • Breadth of experience in the field with a record of success

What are you looking for in mid-level candidates?

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