What do employers look for in potential employees? That was the question that was posted recently on a career success discussion forum online. Naturally, for each different position, the particular answers to that question would be different. However, there are some common skills that employers look for in all employees, whether the employee happens to be a network engineer or a fry cook. In-Demand skills may vary but the key factors to career success do not.


Reading, writing and arithmetic! A good portion of high school graduates (and some college grads) do not read at an 8th grade level.  They also cannot do multiplication in their head. There are a lot who cannot count money to provide change as a cashier. Employers are seeking employees who can read, write, and calculate mathematics in a business environment (fractions, percentages, etc.).  Youtube as well as Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) such as Udemy, Lynda.com, Coursera, and Khan Academy offer assistance to learn these basic skills at no charge. Add the modern basic skills of keyboarding skill, basic computer knowledge, and ability to use most computerized tools (e.g. fax machine, basic word processing program, etc.) to round out the basic skill sets needed for employment success.

There are many continuing education programs that offer free computer training to help improve these basic skills. Try searching the local library, urban league, or state and local career centers for free classes. There’s no excuse why you cannot obtain these skills if you have a computer or access to a library.


Can a potential employee speak well? Does he/she answer questions of customers in a positive, informative manner? Can the prospect provide good customer service? While not everyone has an outgoing sales’ personality, successful employees can communicate in a non-confrontational, positive manner with their coworkers, team members, subordinates, management, and customers. Being able to work well with others is a vital skill for success in all jobs. Join groups such as Toastmasters that can help you improve your communication skills as well as create opportunities to put leadership roles into your resume if you have not reached a leadership level.


Job search is a process that requires a great deal of dedication, resilience and attention to be conducted successfully. It follows the old principal that many veteran programmers refer to as GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out). If you put lousy effort in, you will receive lousy results. First, you must know how to manage the jobs that you apply for. Make sure that you understand the job, if possible gain contact with the hiring manager or recruiter, and then follow-up with necessary.

When working with recruiting agencies, following up with them is crucial to the success of your searching journey. An important tip is that you should never apply to the same job through different recruiters. This will eliminate your chances of getting that position. Ask your recruiters for the job numbers and track those to make sure you do not duplicate efforts for no results.

When you get to the interview stage, employers are seeking employees who know how to present themselves in a positive manner and who display enthusiasm and knowledge about the companies they approach. Not only do candidates get evaluated on their skills and experience, but also on how they are approaching the job search. Enthusiastic candidates with fewer skills have an even chance of getting the job as dull candidates with better skills.


Now there’s a hot topic in a time where layoffs are periodic and job security is unknown. Who gets the ax and who doesn’t is often a matter of numbers, but it is also often a matter of performance. Employees who have consistently demonstrated their worth, taken initiative, and made themselves a valuable asset to the company have lower incidences of being downsized than employees who put forth mediocre or average effort in their jobs. If you have many skills in an area where your skill set is needed, don’t fret you have many other opportunities.

Always keep your resume updated and look at jobs in your industry as the desires of employers can quickly change. It’s going to be the best thing to do as you develop your career path. Surviving within a company through layoffs or moving up the career ladder is a success skill that is learned and is consciously cultivated among successful professionals.


As all high tech and engineering pros know‚ it’s learn or burn in today’s work environment. Attaining new skills, applying new concepts, updating established skills is an absolute necessity to succeed in today’s work force. The successful individual is constantly attending seminars, taking classes, attaining training on new products or releases, and otherwise learning new skills that will keep them marketable in their careers.

Certifications are a major benefit if their or well-known certifications in your field. If you’re a Project Manager, the PMP or Prince 2 will likely be important to your company. If you’re in high tech or engineering, a COMPTIA, ITIL, Microsoft or FE/PE certification may be beneficial to the success of your career. Even if it’s not an immediate need for your current company, it may be beneficial to a future company. Do your research and find the certifications that are important in your industry and area. You can usually find those certifications why looking on job search engines. Successful people are lifelong learners. Employers are looking for people who have the training necessary to fulfill their needs.


Career Development differs from Professional Development. Professional Development is learning while Career Development is a planning and goal setting process. Successful individuals design a career plan with written goals for short term and long term. They lay out the steps needed to move their careers from Point A to Point B within Time Frame C and plan how they are going to achieve those steps. Successful people have someone to whom they are accountable for their progress and who will monitor their success in achieving their goals. Employers are seeking individuals who (believe it or not) wish to commit to the company for a long period of time. Good career progression is a high selling point of candidates to prospective employers.

How do you measure up? Are you developing your career using these six factors? Feel like you need some help? Groopwork promotes career success and development and training through our on-site trainings and group study exam prep (coming soon). We hope that we can help you with your career needs now or in the future. Request a training at your company today.