Core Skills That Employers Look For

Core skills employers look for

Table of Contents

What are Core skills?

Core skills have always been important for potential employees to have. However, in today’s world, AI tools are changing the way we work, and it’s easy to think that mastering these tools instead is the key to success in your career.

However, what employers are seeking are intangible core skills, or what are often referred to as ‘Soft Skills’. These humanistic abilities give us the edge over AI, which has yet to develop these 

But don’t be fooled to think that these ‘soft skills’ are easy to come by. These people-centric core skills come from having years of experience with various work settings, cultures and diverse individuals. Incorporating these into your own skill set could safeguard your career and ultimately set you apart from other candidates, and AI.

Now that we know what a core skill is, let’s look into the top 5 that employers look for when hiring.

Core Skill One – Leadership Abilities

Having strong leadership skills can help you in every aspect of your career, but don’t be mistaken that you only need this in a managerial position. Leadership skills exist from entry-level jobs, all the way through to CEO.

As a leader, you will be able to motivate others to complete tasks and work successfully towards shared goals. You will also have the ability to spot and develop innovative strategies to achieve the set goals, and monitor the results, offering help within your team to continue to improve performance.

A successful leader will have skills that include, but are not limited to:

  • Confidence
  • Great Communication
  • Time Management 
  • Responsibility and Accountability
  • Self-motivation

Are you looking to develop your leadership skills?

If you feel like your leadership skills aren’t quite there, don’t worry. There are plenty of resources and options for you to look at. These can include, but are not limited to:

  • Leadership coaching conferences.
  • Online courses with websites such as or
  • Researching Well-known Leaders and reading through their socials/articles etc.
  • Listening to podcasts.
  • Volunteering to lead a project.
  • Reading books. Read this list put together by

These can all help develop your leadership skills and give you a better chance of standing out against other potential candidates when applying for a role.

Core Skill Two: Adaptability

Our second core skill that employers look for is Adaptability. Having adaptability skills shows your employer that you can cope with any unforeseen circumstances. You can adapt to change and tailor the way you approach a project. Being able to stay calm and focused whilst changing your approach to tasks can give you a competitive edge when applying for a role.

Adaptability allows you to take on new roles and responsibilities, reacting to them quickly and successfully, without any added adjustment time. This is particularly important with new projects and when business goals change suddenly. Showing your employer that you have strong adaptability skills can put you in a position of trust. Employers look for candidates who can take on any change with ease and not get too frustrated.

Adaptability shows your employer that you have willingness to learn new skills and strategies. Some examples of adaptability skills are:

  • Taking on new roles & responsibilities
  • Suggest and Implement Improvements
  • Form working relationships with team members
  • Take risks
  • Offer alternative solutions to challenges.

Looking to improve your adaptability skills?

There are plenty of ways to improve your adaptability skills, which include:

  • Push yourself out of your comfort zone
  • Learn from other
  • Always look for the positives
  • Be willing to make mistakes
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions

Practise this and you will be well on your way to fine-tuning your adaptability skills, ultimately making you more successful in your role and career.

Core Skill Three – Problem Solving

Problem-solving is another valuable core skill, particularly when combined with adaptability. Problem-solving uses logic to address issues and find successful solutions, making it a complementary skill to adaptability.

Organisations need people who can accurately assess problems and find solutions that work. Being able to apply logic to problems you face will make you stand out from the other candidates.

Whilst problem-solving is often identified as a core skill, there are related skills which contribute to this ability. These include the following:

  • Listening
  • Analysis 
  • Research
  • Communication
  • Time-Management
  • Creativity

How to improve your problem-solving skills.

Whether you’re currently looking to strengthen your candidacy for a new role, or want to improve your problem skills in your current role, there are plenty of steps you can take to improve this core skill. These include:

  • Online courses from
  • Look for problems to solve and volunteer.
  • Practise brainstorming ideas 
  • Try to simplify situations.

Once you have built your problem-solving skills, make sure to highlight these on your CV if you’re looking for a new role. Remember specific examples with real-life data will have more weight, so be sure to include these too.

Core Skill Four – Emotional Intelligence

While emotional intelligence has always been a core skill, recent times of turbulent uncertainty, social unrest and other global problems have made this skill one of the top core skills that employers are looking for. But what is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence (also known as EQ) is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways. This can include empathising with others, communicating effectively and knowing how to overcome challenges and diffuse conflict. All these are qualities that organisations are looking for in a candidate.

Emotional intelligence is commonly defined by four attributes:

  • Self-Management
  • Self-Awareness
  • Social Awareness
  • Relationship Management

Developing your emotional intelligence can help you better understand yourself, which can help you through future processes and actions.

Examples of applying emotional intelligence in the workplace are:

  • Giving constructive feedback rather than attacking people with personal criticism.
  • Recognising the other team members’ emotions and supporting them to reduce stress.
  • Keeping calm and productive under pressure.
  • Being able to spot emotions in conflict and help resolve them.
  • Creating a workplace where people feel comfortable to express themselves openly.

To build upon your emotional intelligence, you must reconnect with your emotions and accept them. Learning to be comfortable with your own emotions can be achieved through practising mindfulness. There are plenty of books and apps that can help you with this. You must understand your own emotions first before you can begin to understand and help other people effectively.

Core Skill Five – Initiative

People with initiative skills are more likely to get a promotion, it’s a really useful skill to have. Initiative is the ability to assess a certain situation and act of your own accord, without direction from others. This can also help when planning the direction that you want your career to take.

Employers appreciate individuals who are self-starters and who are capable of working autonomously. In an increasingly remote work-oriented world, having a strong sense of initiative is a fundamental skill within a team, reducing the need for constant direction from managers.

Here is how you can develop your initiative skills:

  • Practise self-confidence 
  • Learn to Identify Opportunities
  • Ask for more responsibility
  • Develop a Clear Plan

To put it simply, it’s about turning your ambition into action, and this will show potential employers just how much you can bring to their organisation.

It’s important to remember that developing this skill isn’t something that’s going to be quick and achieved overnight, so don’t stress too much about your progress. Have faith in yourself and think about everything that you can currently bring to the table. If you focus on refining these core skills and commit to a plan, you will set your career on an upward trajectory.

How Mase Consulting can help.

Are you looking to take the next step in your career? Consider reaching out to us.

We work and partner with companies across the globe and we can help open doors to new opportunities for you. You can have a look at our current vacancies here. Alternatively, if you can’t see what you’re looking for, drop us your CV and we can get in touch with you if there are any opportunities which we think you will be a perfect fit for.

If you’ve already bagged yourself an interview for your dream role, good luck, we are sure you will be brilliant. If you need help preparing for the interview and don’t know where to start, have a read of our guide here.

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