Top Job Skills for 2016

SC&C Top skills in 2016Numerous surveys among C-suite executives have developed a rather broad consensus that new candidates are missing some essential skills for the future.

Fifty percent of executives who get promoted fail at the new job within 18 months—Pattie Sellers, Senior Editor-at-large, Fortune

Here are the top skills human resources and hiring managers are looking for in 2016.

Expected Skills

There is a certain justified expectation that you will have typical technical skills. You should be comfortable in the Windows® environment, understand Microsoft Office®, and e-mail and social media should not be a puzzle to you. Also, you should have a good understanding of software specifically related to your occupation.

There’s also an expectation that you’ll have some team-development skills and consequently project-management skills. They go hand in hand so don’t be afraid to mention some complimentary Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and previous successes that you’ve had.

Tell how you’ve guided your teams in the past; how you motivated them; and how you kept them on task. Don’t be afraid to tell them about how you’ve learned from failures. As the old expression goes, “Experience is a thing you get immediately after you need it.” Show that you can learn from your experience.


Candidates, especially young ones, need team skills. Modern society has taught us a number of things that are just plain wrong in the team-management environment.

Leaders need to realize that it is important to take charge of their team. Worry less about being inclusive and empowering your team members. Collect information, make decisions, and be a good leader—that makes you effective— and that engenders respect. Don’t be afraid to embrace your power. Show them that you are in charge.

Entrepreneurial Attitude

SC&C Entrepreneurial skillsIt doesn’t matter how big an organization one joins—an entrepreneurial attitude is still an important factor. Entrepreneurs use what we call 360º thinking. Basically it’s a strong ability to use pattern recognition to spot trends and then make the imaginative leap necessary to turn it into an opportunity for the company. If you’ve got that, you’ve got a step-up on competition. What strategies have you used to promote a company or service or product?

Asking simple but powerful questions can change the way a team operates; the way an advertisement reads; the way an audience reacts. Encourage your own team to ask meaningful questions, and you’ll get well-thought-out, effective, meaningful answers—Brian Crozier in Analysis + Strategy.

Intellectual Curiosity

The autodidactic, someone who teaches themselves, is a rare bird indeed, and a great find for an executive team.  This sort of person knows how to explore and seek out variety. A deficit of Intellectual Curiosity has been identified as significant in Senior Executives by Senior Executives. Desire and hunger for learning drive advancement. People who enjoy expanding their horizons are just generally better thinkers.

Analytical Skills

If you can demonstrate an ability to solve problems by incorporating different data sources and experience, you’re ahead of the game. Taking lessons learned from previous problem-solving sessions and overlaying it on the current problem to see if anything is applicable is a useful skill. What is happening globally that might affect a given company?

People who treat every new circumstance as a new problem create a lot of extra work for themselves. Consolidating knowledge can make you seem like a problem-solving magician.

Extracurricular ActivitiesSC&C Extracurricular Skills

If you happen to coach Little League or attend Night School, this would be a good thing to make known. It demonstrates time-management skills, which are highly sought after.

Interpersonal skills — Adaptability

Communication is a two-way street, but sometimes people forget this. As a leader it’s your responsibility to take charge. Conversely, don’t steamroll over anybody who has a different view. You will make the ultimate decision but gather as much intelligence as you can before you do so.

It is equally important though to learn body language. You will use it to interpret what coworkers, clients, or a competitor is thinking. This gives you more leverage when it comes time to negotiate.

Cultural Awareness allows you to see the world though other’s eyes. Grasping the differences between cultures allows you to become tolerant of ambiguity. It also garners you a lot more respect because you are seen as evenhanded and thoughtful.

Getting your foot in the door may be the easiest part. Remembering to elucidate about all the relevant skills that they want might take a bit of memory work, but it is well worth doing.

If you have to, get a small 3″ × 5″ card, and make a list of points you wish to make during the interview. Having a prompt card doesn’t make it look like you have a bad memory; it makes it look like you are well-organized and are sticking to an agenda.

Social Media and Your Personal Brand

SC&C Employers Research Your Online AccountsSocial media and personal branding are often intertwined but not inseparable. It’s entirely possible to be a well-known, top-flight success and not have a single social media account.

For example, a great real estate agent who has never been on Twitter or LinkedIn can still have their face plastered on every bus stop bench in the city and their personal brand will be well known. Today though we’re going to talk about when these two elements are combined.

Social Accounts Show Personal Brand

You probably have more than one social media account. It is almost a given that you’ll be on LinkedIn. It’s the most powerful and well-connected social media site for professionals. You almost certainly have a Facebook account too, but many of us tend to be comparatively laid back or even lax with our Facebook account. This account is often not very professional or businesslike.

Unfortunately just because we don’t tie our Facebook account to our business profile doesn’t mean people cannot find it or look at it. And an unprofessional Facebook site can be our downfall. The same goes for Google+, Twitter, and so on.

Definitely take some time to clean up all of your social media profiles so that you leave a good impression no matter where people look. Make sure you hide public posts by any people that might post debatable material. You get the blame for their inappropriateness because it’s on your timeline.

All of your social profiles should present your personal brand. Like the world being global today, so are your accounts. Take the time to make your value known in each arena.

Target Your Focus

SC&C Personal Brand and Social MediaNow you have to decide why you’re present on the World Wide Web. Your reasons may include:

  • Promoting your business
  • Advancing your personal brand through thought-leadership
  • Networking and connecting with people
  • Hiring employees
  • Getting a new job

You can’t communicate your intentions until you thoroughly understand them yourself. If you were out on the Salt Flats of Utah and you wanted to go to Guatemala, you would not put your supplies in a large canoe and just hope everything would work itself out!

Figure out what you want to say and why it would be important to other people.

Broadcast Yourself

You’ve decided where your presence is going to be. You’ve decided what your message is. Now you have to get out there and tell people about it. Broadcast who you are or what you’re business is.

Select some appropriate groups or forums, especially on LinkedIn and participate. The objective is not to ride into the middle of a large herd of cows and start firing your six-gun knowledge in order to start a stampede. Read first; get an idea of what’s already going on. Introduce yourself slowly and contribute to ongoing discussions in a helpful manner.

Be thoughtful about how you add to the discussion. Some people want straight answers, ready-made solutions to specific problems. If you can do that, go ahead and help them. Your personal brand then becomes “Go-to person for solutions.”

Others may be looking for strategies and advice, but want to work out the details of the solution on their own. Don’t give them a fait accompli solution, even if you have one that seems perfect. Instead guide them to the solution and let them discover it for themselves. It sets you up as helpful, and your personal brand becomes “thought-leader,” but not a glory-hog.

Create Personal Site

Anything you can do better than 50% of the population, or 50% of the people in your field, is worth talking about. A good place to do that is with a personal blog. For the greatest efficiency create a personal website such as

Your site can be hosted anywhere, but having a personal address makes it easy for people to find you, and it only costs a few dollars per year. The added bonus is you can add it to the end of all your communications, newsletters, business cards, and even use it on the company web site to redirect people to a personal space where you have complete control.

Stay Active

SC&C stay active in your social accountsOnce you get your site set up you can’t simply forget about it. If you have a blog, remember to make additions on a regular, predictable basis. If you have something profound to say once a month, make sure it’s available at a fixed time so people know when to expect it. If you’re more of a weekly or biweekly person, that’s just fine too. Just make sure you’re consistent in your posting and share it on your other social media profiles.

If you’re a daily writer, keep it short, concise, and interesting. Writing an 800-word op-ed piece every single day takes a lot of effort and can steal from your productivity. Besides which, very few people are going to slog through that much material to unearth any gems you might have delivered. They have constraints on their time, too!

This applies to your other social media sites, as well. Don’t let your LinkedIn profile, Facebook, or Twitter accounts linger too long without participating on the sites. Stay active and more people will get to know you, which leads to more opportunities.

Assess and Evaluate

Make sure you have an opportunity for people to subscribe to your blog and have it delivered to their emails. The same goes for your newsletter. And make sure you have a visitor counter on your website which tells you about unique visits and repeat visits. As well, subscription lists provide new contacts and provide an opportunity to expand your network.

All these metrics, taken together, can tell you how effective you’re being. They can help you decide if you are on the path to your goal or if a new plan is needed.

Everybody already possesses a personal brand. You’re the reliable or undependable person; you’re the sourpuss or that person with a great sense of humor. People have a basic concept of who you are based on their previous dealings with you. You can alter your online personal brand by participating and contributing as described above on your social sites. That way people who have never met you will have a good idea of what you are all about.