Student Success Centre

What skills do you have?

Knowing what an employer is looking for will help you tailor your cover letter, resume, and interview language. Being aware of the types of skills that employers may seek will also help you prepare for the world of work. Think about your past experiences in terms of the skills you used - these can come from school, projects, volunteer, extra-curricular and work experiences.

Skills Employers Seek

By looking at these broad categories and examples of specific skills below you can:


The skillful expression, transmission and interpretation of knowledge and ideas.

  • Speaking effectively
  • Writing concisely
  • Facilitating
  • Providing feedback
  • Persuading
  • Editing

Creativity and Innovation

The ability to think of new ways to do something, creativity and innovation are often key to success of a business, particularly during strategic planning and when designing new products and services.

  • Stimulating ideas
  • Performing
  • Creating
  • Inventing
  • Producing
  • Adapting

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

The understanding of a problem and the ability to solve it, step-by-step, based on planning and reasoning.

  • Anticipating problems
  • Observing
  • Identifying solutions
  • Investigating
  • Prioritizing
  • Using perspective

Decision Making and Risk Taking

The skills needed to choose a course of action based on analysis of the risk involved and estimated prediction of success.

  • Evaluating
  • Demonstrating flexibility
  • Using judgment
  • Negotiating
  • Collaborating
  • Managing outcomes

Financial Management

The ability to plan, control, organize, and direct the financial resources of clubs/organizations/businesses.

  • Developing budgets
  • Keeping records
  • Estimating expenses
  • Fundraising
  • Securing finances
  • Managing cash flow

Human Relations

The use of interpersonal skills for resolving conflict, relating to, and helping others.

  • Developing rapport
  • Demonstrating professionalism
  • Providing support
  • Motivating
  • Representing others
  • Valuing diversity


The ability to see the “big picture” and understand what can be done to complete or improve a project or situation.

  • Coordinating tasks
  • Scheduling
  • Promoting efficiency
  • Planning or arranging
  • Meeting deadlines
  • Handling details

Leadership & Management

The ability to supervise, direct, and guide individuals and groups in the completion of tasks and fulfillment of goals.

  • Teaching/coaching
  • Managing conflict
  • Taking initiative
  • Promoting change
  • Decision making
  • Delegating responsibility

Research & Planning

The search for specific knowledge and the ability to conceptualize future needs and solutions for meeting those needs.

  • Setting goals
  • Identifying/solving problems
  • Gathering information
  • Forecasting/predicting
  • Analyzing
  • Developing evaluation strategies

Work Ethic

The day-to-day skills which assist in promoting effective production and work satisfaction.

  • Cooperating
  • Understanding policies
  • Managing time
  • Being adaptable/flexible
  • Meeting goals
  • Setting and meeting deadlines