Keywords: career, career planning, job skills, learning skills, life skills, literacy skills, interpersonal skills, critical thinking skills

In preparing for a career, many young people believe that obtaining a degree or a job skill is what is required to enter the job market.  But as many are finding out, the competition for jobs covers more than the skills.  This is supported by the fact that many highly qualified people find that they are unable to obtain and hold a job.  While some are aware of the reasons for this, others do not. In a previous post, we discussed careers and the development of job skills.  Today’s post deals with many of the other skills that you need in order to obtain and hold a job.

Other Types of Skills

While there are specific job skills which are in demand and which are acquired through training in colleges and universities, trade schools and reputable home study courses, there are other skills that are obtained informally.  These skills may be even more important in some cases than jobs skills. Overall, these are literacy skills, learning skills, and life skills, but there are other skills that may fit under the rubric of these skills and which need special attention. These skills are very important to being a good employee and are even instrumental in finding and holding a job.

Literacy Skills

Literacy skills are very important and these go beyond the usual definition which focuses on being able to read and write.  In today’s digital world, employees must be able to use basic technologies. For one thing, being able to use common computer programs and software is considered a given in most jobs. Being able to use social media, while a common activity in everyday life, is becoming important for doing many jobs.  Companies are using social media sites in order to reach their target markets and so having employees who know how to use these sites effectively to reach these target markets is critical. Many organizations are looking to hire individuals who are able to help them to promote their visibility and their productivity online and in different markets.

Learning Skills

Learning skills are also important and pertain to how you learn.   Employers are looking for employees who are critical thinkers, creative thinkers, and thinkers who are able to problem-solve and make decisions.  In the case of critical thinking skills, individuals are required to be able to analyze issues or situations, evaluate them, and on the basis of their analysis to be able to solve problems. Problem solving and decision making skills are two of the important skills that employers are looking for. But most employers also want individuals who are able to come up with innovative ideas and who are able to think outside the box. Other skills associated with learning are being able to collaborate and work in a team setting and being able to learn quickly. These are all skills that are highly valued in a work environment. 

Life Skills

            The term life skills is often used as a broad term to cover a variety of skills, including those that are often thought of as learning skills. Life skills are also skills that people learn through experience.  It is therefore usual to think of life skills as including creative thinking or creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, decision-making, communication and collaboration skills as well as skills associated with being a good person. Life skills can also be seen as referring to interpersonal skills, that is, being able to get along with others, but it goes even deeper than this, and refers to emotional intelligence or the ability to have some caring and compassion for others.  

Importance of All These Skills

While employers are looking for employees who have specific job skills for their particular industries, employers are also looking for people with good literacy, learning and life skills. Having all of these skills in good measure increases an individual’s chance of being hired and of holding on to the job.

                                                The Takeaway

The takeaway here is that besides developing specific job skills, employees are expected to have good literacy, learning and life skills, being able to get along with others, being able to show compassion and to care about others.  Employers want their employees to be good at their job, but they also want employees to be their ambassadors to the public.  For this latter reason, employers want their employees to show that their companies care and are  good corporate citizens. This will only work if companies have employees who are compassionate and care about others.  This is why literacy, learning and life skills are sometimes seen as being as important as job skills and in some instances as being more important.

By Israelin Shockness at and at

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