7 Key Skills You Need to Get Hired Right Now

In-demand skills job candidates must cultivate.

Businesswoman having a job interview.
By SHARE

If you don't have as much experience as the job description outlines, don't underestimate how much your ability to effectively sell yourself could help you in an interview.

[Read: The 7 Deadly Sins of Cover Letter Writing.]

Writing. Nearly every job description includes a line about seeking a candidate with "strong communication skills." Before you shrug it off, consider why this seemingly minimal requirement hasn't yet become a job-listing given.

Many candidates are proving to hiring managers that they lack basic writing ability by submitting grammatically tragic cover letters and poorly constructed resumes. Although it varies from manager to manager, something as innocuous as the wrong "their" could keep you out of the running for a dream position. This is particularly true if you're looking to enter a communications field.

Those entering other lines of work don't need to be Hemingway, but they do need to elevate their written communication several notches above LOLspeak. According to Sharef, one of the main reasons young job candidates haven't conquered spelling, subject-verb agreement, and proper tense is because they live in a mobile-phone culture. "We do a writing test at HireArt and that's one of the biggest ways that people fail," she says.

Also keep in mind the way you write on social networks and in other easy-to-Google forums. A sleuthing recruiter could quickly and easily stumble across your poorly worded opinions elsewhere.

Fluency in computer languages. Common computer languages like C++ and Python will always be necessary to know, but Sharef says companies are also looking for engineers proficient in Ruby on Rails. Staying ahead of the curve on JavaScript is also imperative: "There are huge changes happening with JavaScript. For example, when you use Facebook now, the page doesn't reload the whole page every time there's an update. It just updates a small portion," she says. "It's JavaScript that provides the ability to make those AJAX [Asynchronous JavaScript and XML] changes."

These obviously aren't fake-it-until-you-make-it skill sets. Only those with the chops will even be considered for tech positions. There are minor things you could do to stay more relevant in the industry, however. Building mobile-phone applications is currently a blossoming subsector, so you should be deft with all the operating systems. "If you're an iPhone user, borrow your friend's Android phone for two days. Learn more about how they work," Sharef says.

[See: The Best Technology Jobs.]

Problem solving. According to sites like Mashable.com, the ability to identify a problem and make intelligent plans for a successful solution is another, less-quantifiable trait that employers are eager to find in job seekers today. And similar to having social media skills, this is one where previous professional experience helps, but isn't always necessary if you have relatable real-life experience that can show your metal to the hiring manager.

Casually mentioning your expertise in this arena won't do the trick. (Other than effectively showing that you don't actually have enough problem-solving skills to solve the problem of landing a job.) The best evidence would be specific and detailed examples on your resume, cover letter, and during an interview of how you've worked to overcome obstacles and achieve success.