Skills employers are looking for

Many of the skills employers look for are transferable skills that can be used in a variety of jobs. We tell you what skills are most useful.

The 10 skills most valued by employers

According to Business New Zealand, the top 10 skills employers look for are:

  • communication skills
  • customer service skills – in person, on the phone, and online
  • ability to work well in a team
  • literacy and numeracy skills
  • confidence learning about and using computers and technology
  • planning and organisational skills
  • initiative and a can-do attitude
  • problem-solving skills
  • good work habits and independence
  • health and safety skills.

These skills are all transferable, which means that they are useful in most jobs. So even if you don't have a lot of job-specific skills, you may already have transferable skills that are appealing to employers.

What employers look for in a job candidate

Can you do the job?

  • Do you have the necessary abilities, skills, knowledge, experience and qualifications?
  • How soon can you become productive? Are you a fast learner?
  • Are you able to work unsupervised, use your initiative and work confidently under pressure?
  • Will your work be accurate and high-quality?
  • Are you organised and able to achieve goals?

Are you motivated?

  • Are you motivated, and do your goals benefit the company?
  • Will you work for the best interests of the organisation?
  • Are you reliable and trustworthy?

Do you fit with the organisation?

  • Do you have a good attitude?
  • Do you dress right for the work you do?
  • Are you a team player? Do you get on well with others? 

 If you try and meet all the needs listed above, you will increase your chances of getting a job offer.

Basic skills employers look for

Literacy and numeracy skills

Literacy (being able to read and write) and numeracy (being able to do simple calculations and make sense of numbers) are the two most basic skills that employers look for.

You can get help improving these two skills from organisations such as Literacy Aotearoa.

Computing skills

Most jobs need you to be able to use a computer. For example, plumbers write up invoices on tablets, retail assistants use computers to make sales, and street cleaners use email to send reports on floods.

You can do free basic computing courses in your town. You can find these courses online or advertised at your local library or community centre.

 A driver's licence

Having a driver's licence can give you an edge over candidates who don't have a licence.

Many jobs involve driving – not just professional driving jobs such as bus driver, courier or truck driver. For example, caterers transport food to events, journalists drive to interviews, and sales workers make deliveries.


Updated 14 Jul 2016