10 Core Competencies and Skills Valued by Employers
Employers looking to fill open positions will likely seek candidates who show basic and universal attributes that show they can contribute to the company in a variety of ways. Your past jobs and your life experiences on your resume can act as a personal list of skills and competencies that invite further conversation. An interviewer may use those competencies as a benchmark to evaluate you in relation to other applicants. In this article, we will discuss a list of competencies and their definitions to help you identify, explain and develop your traits.
What are core competencies?
Core competencies are the attributes and skills you possess. They are inherent aspects of your personality or qualities you have gained over the course of your professional career. Core competencies help you have success in the workplace by improving relationships with coworkers and by helping you to work productively and achieve professional milestones. Employers might use your core competencies as benchmarks in hiring decisions and promotions and other career advancement.
Examples of core competencies
Representing yourself as a person whose character traits are admirable can be just as impressive as hands-on job skills you have picked up along the way. Here is a list of core competencies with definitions to follow:
Accountability may also be described as reliability or trustworthiness. It means you follow through on assignments, complete all the required parts of a project and behave with honesty and integrity. You may show accountability by working well without significant supervision or oversight, showing a manager that they can trust you to complete your work independently. Personal accountability shows you are committed to a set of principles.
You can demonstrate ambition in short-term and long-term professional goals. If you are seeking a new job, you can carefully craft the objective on your resume and cover letter to reflect your current ambitions. In your current job, define a long-term plan for your professional career, such as a series of promotions you would like to achieve and the short-term steps to get there. As you build your reputation, you may try volunteering often for projects, joining a professional organization, becoming certified in your field or taking continuing education classes for personal improvement.
Related: The Essential Job Search Guide
Most offices are made up of people with different backgrounds and styles of communication. Your ability to communicate effectively with coworkers can show your suitability for leadership positions or promotions. Good communication often starts with being a good listener which you can practice by making eye contact, not interrupting and allowing the other person to collect their thoughts, even during pauses or breaks in the conversation.
Communication also involves your ability to explain yourself. If you find this difficult in a group setting like a meeting, you may try asking for important conversations to happen in a setting conducive to you being calm and focused on the topic. You may write some notes in advance to help you explain everything you intend.
Lastly, good communication may include staying positive and helpful when making suggestions or giving feedback to others.
4. Conflict resolution
An important aspect of good communication is the ability to resolve conflict calmly and productively. Over the course of your career, you are likely to encounter people whose working styles and opinions about how to handle work differ from yours. In fields where work is frequently collaborative, employers may want to know how you handle conflict with others, perhaps with a specific example of when strategies worked well for you in the past. The next time conflict arises, you could try some of these techniques:
Wait to talk about the situation until you feel calm.
Discuss the issue privately with the person or in the presence of a mediator like a human resources representative or manager.
Use your good listening skills and try to let the other person explain themselves before you offer your own reasoning.
Use language that does not accuse, such as: “When you miss meetings, I feel worried that you are not receiving all the information you need.”
Be open to forgiveness and accepting of the different ways that people approach their work.
In your workplace, you may often hear, “I will check on that and follow up later,” or “I will think about it and tell you later.” While there are many instances where a return follow-up is warranted, the ability to make quick decisions is a valuable skill in helping to keep projects moving and increase productivity. Wherever you can make a choice or offer a solution in the moment of discussion rather than at a later date, you show your decisiveness and willingness to respect deadlines and others’ time. To practice this skill, you may try some of the following suggestions:
Practice acceptance that you will not know every aspect or outcome of a project and sometimes moving forward is more important.
Trust your instincts, knowledge and experience to guide you.
Recognize the value of having multiple “good” choices and believe that the outcome can be positive with any of them.
Take part in activities that force you to learn to react quickly, like playing tennis or video games.
Many work projects require the efforts of more than one team member. Delegation skills allow you to choose other coworkers to help you so the workload is manageable and you complete the project successfully. This is an especially important skill for you to show if you intend to seek a promotion where you would manage others. Delegation implies you trust others to work well and you value their contributions to the team. It can also promote camaraderie and an atmosphere of collaboration.
Another word for flexible is adaptable, where you show a willingness to adjust your work or priorities when a project changes. Most projects start with lots of pre-planning, where the vision and the anticipated tasks are laid out. Your ability to adapt when things change shows your commitment to the outcome and deliverables, and it shows your creativity when the project needs new solutions.
While it is important to have goals and ambitions to help meet your personal career goals, showing initiative at work can be a good way to offer innovative thinking and commitment to the team. Here are some ways to show your initiative:
Stay up to date on any advances in your field by taking classes, joining organizations or networking with other professionals so you maintain a broad range of ideas about your sector.
Offer to do extra work when a project is under pressure or a deadline is coming up.
In every assignment or task, ask yourself what growth opportunities exist and how you can maximize that growth.
9. Stress management
Maintaining a healthy work/life balance is important to keep stress levels down and stay productive and focused. An employer may want to know your coping skills under stressful situations like deadlines or time-sensitive assignments. The better you cope with stress, the more you will likely keep focused and organized in your work tasks. Here are some ways to cope with stress in your work life:
Track your stressors by keeping a journal or a list and notice if there are patterns where you can make adjustments.
Talk to a supervisor or manager if there are consistent concerns related to members of your team or your assignments.
Resolve conflicts through discussion and conflict resolution techniques before they escalate.
Find some relaxation techniques you can do at work, whether you take a short walk outside or spend a few minutes meditating or practicing breathing techniques.
In offices where collaborative work is common, your ability to work well with others on projects will be highly valuable. Employers may evaluate your commitment to the company’s mission statement and the stated goals of a particular project. Teamwork involves sharing information, meeting deadlines that affect others’ work, communicating your milestones and completed tasks and sharing credit for professional successes.
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