7 Tangible Skillsets That Make You The Best Job Candidate Among The Competition

by Aaron Stamp

There hasn’t been a shortage of listicles that aim to outline what you need to do to “land the job,” but for the most part, they all tell you the same thing: Qualitative traits and generalizations do little in the way of preparing you for an actual career, despite how much one would like to believe “showing enthusiasm” is a valued quality.

More and more, education is an expected baseline and the niche abilities are what land the premium salaries.

So, without further ado, here is a list of seven actual, tangible skillsets that will help make you instantly qualified for a career in the new job market.

7. Proven Technical Writing Ability

No, I’m not referring to the science fiction short stories that you put together when you went through a phase after reading “Ender's Game” for the first time.

While no doubt exhibiting a level of creativity, that type of writing isn’t exactly marketable for the broad host of companies that are actively seeking to hire in this saturated market.

Rather, I’m referring to analytical, fact-based writing, devoid of flowery details, which highlights specific results while fostering a discussion without bias.

Writing in the vein of experimental research reports and having those reports published demonstrates that you have a sufficient grasp of the English language and the aptitude to provide a professional-level report.

6. Statistics

Everyone entering the job market should have a sufficient, elementary understanding of statistics. Things like averages and statistical significance can prove to be vitally important for decision-making, both professionally and personally.

Cost-to-benefit analysis on your purchase decisions can shift your personal finances to healthier levels and can give structure and reasoning to whatever judgments you make.

The scope of statistics in the workplace is so broad that there is really no way to explain its value beyond saying every single market in every single industry uses it with intense regularity.

5. In-Depth Software Familiarity

Writing “Microsoft Word” or “PowerPoint” on a résumé as one of your skills is redundant. Nascent sea otters understand how to use these modules.

On the other hand, a solid grasp of Microsoft Excel, Access, Publisher and other less widely known programs is valuable and somewhat unique.

Having a breadth of experience working with commonly employed software (other than the obvious ones, like the aforementioned MS Word) will show you that you can work your way around computers sufficiently, which is a standard ability in today’s workforce.

4. People Skills

This may seem qualitative, which as I mentioned, I’m trying to avoid, but having the ability to interact in a professional environment with minimal awkwardness is what separates you from a paycheck or the front door.

For in-demand fields, where the majority of applicants come from technical backgrounds, this is paramount.

I’m not suggesting that you change your identity if you are an introvert by nature, but be well versed enough to understand that the extreme version of that personality type isn’t exactly lauded in many professional environments. Learn to interact with people.

This should go without saying, but social ability is a huge trait that is rarely paid the attention it deserves.

3. Specific Industry Familiarity

I know this looks nebulous, but let me explain: You should be familiar with the industry into which you are seeking entry. If you are going to work in a publishing house, you should know the top players in the overall market.

If you are going into finance, you better believe they will expect you to know their top competitors. I classify this as a tangible skillset because you must actively learn and integrate it into your life if you are set on entering one specific industry.

Not only does it show qualitatively that you are aware of the competitive landscape, but it also lets the employer know that you are enthusiastic without explicitly mentioning it.

2. Reading Comprehension

Why is this so high on the list? You would think it is obvious enough, but spend five minutes on the comments section of a popular article and you will find that most people have trouble interpreting what they actually read and then hate-write from a position of ignorance.

This is extremely important if you’re dealing with reports that aren’t explicit with their results.

Things like yearly revenue details, research publications and even sarcastic columns all require a fundamental level of reading comprehension that has somehow escaped so many people who are trying to find work.

1. Programming Ability

Increasingly, companies across the entire job market are integrating, or have already meshed, their business with an online presence that the staff maintains.

You will become instantly important if you can understand the back and front ends of the language used to program the sites, databases and whatever else is relevant to the company.

Ability to code in C++, JAVA, Drupal, MATLAB and a host of other languages demonstrates that not only can you add value to the online presence for a company, but also that you are sufficiently intelligent enough to grasp the logic behind the coding languages.

Additionally, if you plan to work in an analytical field, you can design experiments and basic software that will allow you to complete your tasks with much greater ease than powering through everything manually.

If you weren’t exposed to this in college, consider learning for free through the vast offerings of online-only classes that teach you the basics of coding with step-by-step modules.

High school students are enrolling in computer science classes, which means that when they enter the job market, many will likely bring a standard level of programming ability that is otherwise still missing from the overwhelming majority of Generation-Y job applicants.

Protect your future self by becoming versed in a code language or two.

Photo Courtesy: Paramount Pictures/Wolf of Wall Street