The experts agree: anyone can take a course in C++, but it’s not going to land you the job. The most in-demand jobs for the new year might be rooted in the booming computer industry, but it’s not only technical and programming chops that prospective hires should be showcasing.
“The most sought-after skill-sets for recruiters are becoming less and less about proficiency in specific processes and coding languages,” says Rich Milgram, CEO of career network Beyond, “And more about how you think systems through and work within the context of the team. Learning a technology is the easy part. Having the mindset to apply it, having the mindset and logic to process it, being thorough and detail-oriented while doing so, these are the critical skills.”
It’s no surprise that companies are racing to get innovations on the market to increase revenue said CareerBuilder CEO Matt Ferguson when he laid out the top jobs of 2013 for my colleague Jacquelyn Smith. But while creating technologies is critical, it takes a unique—and well-rounded skill sets—to bring those innovations to market. “[Employers] want to extract, parse and apply Big Data to bring better solutions to their clients and their own businesses,” he says. “They need technologists in place who can devise bigger and better strategies, and execute.”
To unearth the 10 most in-demand skills of 2013 we drilled into the critical skill-sets for the top jobs of 2013 as defined by CareerBuilder as the occupations with the most jobs added since 2010 using O*NET, the U.S. clearinghouse of occupational information. Not surprisingly, technical expertise and their various applications figure heavily on the list--but it's the less flashy skills that really dominate.
“Knowing which skills are in high demand can help guide decisions around education and work experience,” says Brent Rasmussen, President of CareerBuilder North America. “It can help workers identify where they can potentially transfer their current skill sets or supplement their education to prepare for future opportunities.”
Highlighting skills on resumes may be critical, but it’s in the interview setting where a prospective hire can really let them shine. “I don’t know that many employers are sitting in an interview checking off boxes on ‘critical thinking’ or ‘active listening’ in candidates,” says Milgram. “But they absolutely are looking for those qualities.” Through anecdotes or proven track-records Milgram and Rasmussen agree: It’s critical to show how you put those skills into action and contributed to the success of previous employers. Providing specific examples of how these skills spelled success can mean the difference between an offer letter or being shown the door.
Here, the 10 most critical job skills to parlay in your job search for 2013:
No. 1 Critical Thinking (found in 9 out of the 10 most in-demand jobs)
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
No. 2 Complex Problem Solving (found in 9 out of the 10 most in-demand jobs)
Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
No. 3 Judgment and Decision-Making (found in 9 out of the 10 most in-demand jobs)
Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate ones.
No. 4 Active Listening (found in 9 out of the 10 most in-demand jobs)
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate and not interrupting.
No. 5 Computers and Electronics (found in 8 out of the 10 most in-demand jobs)
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, electronic equipment and computer hardware including applications and programs.
No. 6 Mathematics (found in 6 out of the 10 most in-demand jobs)
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics and their application.
No. 7 Operations and Systems Analysis (found in 5 out of the 10 most in-demand jobs) Determining how a system or operation should work and how changes in conditions, operations and environments will affect outcomes. Understanding the needs and product requirements of a particular design.
No. 8 Monitoring (found in 5 out of the 10 most in-demand jobs)
Monitoring and assessing performance of yourself, other individuals or organizations to make improvement or take corrective action.
No. 9 Programming (found in 3 out of the 10 most in-demand jobs)
Writing computer programming for various purposes.
No. 10 Sales and Marketing (found in 2 out of the 10 most in-demand jobs)
Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting and selling products or services. Includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques and sales control systems.