Top 15 Skills Employers Are Looking For In 2020 (Updated)

Feb 5, 2020

Written by Caitlin Proctor

Written by Caitlin Proctor

Career Expert, ZipJob

An average of 250 resumes are sent for a single opening. See how Zipjob uses professional writers and technology to get your resume noticed.

The employment market is an ever-evolving environment, and it’s important to keep pace with new trends and employer needs. After all, innovation occurs at breakneck speed. As companies race to keep pace with those changes, their employee needs evolve over time. As a result, your resume needs to be updated to reflect those changing needs.

To remain competitive, you need to understand what qualities and skills employers are looking for in your resume. To help you in that effort, we’ve compiled the top 15 qualities and skills companies are already seeking in 2020.

Bonus: We’ll also show you a resume hack to land 2x more interviews!

How it works Zipjob

What Skills Employers Look For: Hard Skills and Soft Skills

First, it helps to define what we mean by “qualities and skills.” Qualities include all those traits that define you as a person and an employee. They go to the heart of who you are as a person, and often separate mediocre employees from the truly exceptional hires. They are personal skills that most employers recognize as good job qualities for any work environment.

Skills come in two forms: hard skills vs. soft skills.

What skills are employers looking for in candidates

(We wrote a good post here on skills to include on your resume)

Hard skills are easy to define, as they include those technical skills that are often core requirements for a position.

For example, common hard skills include:

  • Computer Skills
  • Programming (Java HTML)
  • SEO (search engine optimization)
  • Foreign Languages
  • Math Skills
  • Typing speed
  • Machine operation
  • Bookkeeping

And other skills that require training, certificates or familiarity with specific programs or applications (Word, Excel, Quickbooks)

Soft skills, on the other hand, are often as difficult to measure as your personality traits. They encompass a range of social skills that are often informed by your personal qualities.

Examples of Soft Skills:

  • Communication Skills
  • Team Work
  • Time Management
  • Problem Solver
  • Public Speaking

Hiring managers hate to see buzzwords and soft skills like “team player” or “communication skills”. You need to show these soft skills indirectly through your work experience.

For example:

Instead of saying “Time Management,” you can include something along the lines of: “Managed a major development project which was delivered a month ahead of schedule…”

What Skills Employers are Looking For–Hack To Land 2x More Interviews

The most important thing to remember is that employers are looking for skills that are relevant to the position you’re targeting. Check the job description to see what skills are needed for the job. Then make sure they’re included on your resume.

Adding a skills or core competencies section is the easiest way to include and tailor skills.

Here is an example (list only hard skills here):

Listing technical skills on resume

Also, remember that most companies today use an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) to automatically screen your resume. These systems automatically screen your resume to see if you’re a good match for the position. An average of 75% of candidates are rejected by ATS and many times, the candidate is qualified but the resume isn’t optimized.

Make sure that you use a standard resume format so that the ATS could easily read the resume. You should also include keywords (hard skills) that are relevant to the position.

Qualities and Skills: The Top 15

In our list of skills and qualities, we have tried to include those that are sure to be in the most demand in 2020. Obviously, there will be other qualities and skills that employers need as well, but these fifteen are all but guaranteed to make your resume shine.

Top Hard Skills Employers Are Looking For

These are five top technical skills employers are sure to appreciate in 2020 and beyond:

1. Cloud Computing

Cloud-based information is rapidly becoming the go-to option for many top companies. As the world becomes more connected and digitalized, there is a growing need for employees who are comfortable working in the online cloud.

2. Data Presentation

Do your skills include technical abilities involving data analysis and presentation? Congratulations! Our data-driven economy will increasingly need employees who can make sense of data sets and present them in clear, compelling terms.

3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

A company’s online presence is only as good as its SEO. If you are skilled in the art of optimizing content so that search engines can find it, then it’s a certainty that some company out there needs your help.

4. Mobile Development

Mobile technology is one of the hottest growth areas in the tech industry. With more mobile devices than ever before, businesses need experts who can develop mobile apps, adapt websites to mobile-compliance, and otherwise help them keep pace with an increasingly mobile world.

5. Network Security

Around the world, networks are under attack from hackers, government entities, and other threats. Companies need competent professionals to provide network security. As a result, these security experts will continue to be in demand for many years to come.

Soft Skills Employers Want to See

The following five soft skills may seem familiar, since employers have long looked for employees who possess them. Nevertheless, they continue to be among the top qualities and skills that can make any employee stand out from the crowd.

Remember that you won’t list these soft skills on your resume like hard skills, but indirectly through work experience and achievements.

6. Communication

The ability to communicate – whether verbally or in writing – continues to be vital for employee success. A great communicator can motivate others, make sense of any situation, and provide invaluable feedback.

7. Problem-Solving

Companies always need problem-solvers. The best problem-solvers are self-starters who can add real, measurable value to any organization. If you like new challenges and routinely notice and react proactively to problems, you’re a problem-solver.

8. Time Management

The ability to manage time well is highly-prized these days. Are you adept at meeting deadlines, prioritizing tasks, and generally getting things done? If so, that skill needs to be described in your resume.

9. Organization

Organizational skills are in great demand. Companies are living things that have their own momentum. Unfortunately, left unattended, that momentum will trend toward chaos and disorder. An organized employee can positively impact an entire company and help it to stay on the right track.

10. Collaborative Skills

Teamwork is critical in most organizations. Do you work well with others, both offline and online? If so, those collaborative skills will be highly appreciated by any employer lucky enough to have you.

Personal Qualities in Demand

When it comes to personal traits, these five are among the most prized:

11. Honesty

You know what it is. Honesty is among the most important qualities and skills any person can have. It means not only telling the truth but avoiding omissions of pertinent information. Every employer wants honesty.

12. Loyalty

While it is true that many companies are no longer as loyal as they were in the past, that doesn’t mean that loyalty is obsolete. In fact, employers still prize loyalty from their employees.

13. Determination

Are you someone who sticks to his guns to get the job done? If you have grit and determination, there’s an employer looking for your qualities and skills.

14. Personal Work Ethic

This is one of those timeless qualities that every employer wants to see. Are you always on time? Are you conscientious about fulfilling your role in the company? Do you faithfully follow company rules and commit to your job? That work ethic is always in demand.

15. Eagerness to Learn and Adapt

Since businesses today need to be flexible, they need flexible employees to help them succeed. If you are eager to learn, quick to adapt, and dedicated to personal growth, you have that flexibility. If you are also eager to share what you have learned, there’s an employer looking for your services.

Qualities and skills 2

Your Resume Should Include These Qualities and Skills

Finally, it’s important to include these qualities and skills in your resume and cover letter. To accomplish that, you should:

  • Describe these qualities and skills in your resume, using keywords from the job posting.
  • Include a great cover letter that adequately describes how your qualities and skills meet the company’s needs.
  • Demonstrate these qualities and skills in your interactions with the company during the hiring process.
  • Be prepared to provide examples of how you have used these traits and skills in the past.


Including the right skills and qualities on your resume is important to do correctly! It’s not enough to list your skills: employers want to know the context. Add results, numbers, and impact whenever possible and watch your impressive resume blow them away.

How it works Zipjob

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An average of 250 resumes are sent for a single opening. See how Zipjob uses professional writers and technology to get your resume noticed.

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