Most Important Business Skills for Workplace Success

List of Business Skills for Resumes, Cover Letters and Interviews

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The most popular undergraduate major in the US in the past few years has been business. Marketing, selling, understanding strategy, holding details while also keeping the big picture in view, are all important parts of working within or running a business. It doesn’t stop there, however.

Employers seek business candidates who have high levels of emotional intelligence, people who are great communicators, and people who can manage their time and organize their work flow.

Passion and determination can go a long way, and those skills are proven over time. An entrepreneurial spirit, a community-oriented mindset, and a tendency toward innovation can also benefit those seeking jobs in business.

Have a look at this list of skills and qualities for resumes, cover letters, job applications, and interviews. Skills will vary based on the job for which you're applying, so also review our list of skills listed by job and type of skill.

Top Four Most Important Skills Employers Look for in Business Candidates

Communication
To communicate effectively, you must be as good a listener as you are a talker. Being in business means working with other people, both as a leader and as a subordinate. Both roles require humility, respect, a civil attitude even under duress, and respect. To communicate well, you’ll need to have a grasp on written, verbal, and non-verbal communication.

You should be able to articulate your thoughts clearly, both in writing, and in meetings. You should be comfortable speaking one on one, and it will help if you can get comfortable with public speaking, in smaller groups like business meetings, as well as in larger groups.

Finance
Managing financial decisions is a key part of the role of most business employees.

This means that candidates should understand a company’s financial needs, as well as the intricacies of what the market is current demanding. Employers will seek candidates who can analyze a financial situation, draw logical conclusions, and then implement action. A good candidate will be able to articulate the financial reasons behind their decisions. They should also be able to produce detailed and accurate finance reports.

Delegation
Managing people, or even working alongside peers, doesn’t mean taking on all of the work yourself. In business, a spirit of collaboration benefits everyone, and part of collaboration is delegation. This means offering other people opportunities to do work, even if you think it will benefit your own clout or resume. Delegation is also an important detail of time management. If you take everything on yourself, chances are your work in key areas will suffer. Someone who excels in business will be able to manage their own workload by appropriately delegating tasks and projects to colleagues and subordinates.

Soft Skills
It’s tempting to focus on technical and analytical skills when discussing business qualities, but soft skills are every bit as important as the things you learn about in business school.

Some of the top soft skills essential to be successful in business are things like being a team player, which means being unselfish and cooperative, and considering what’s best for the group, not just for you.

Having a flexible attitude, which means going along with a plan even if it’s not a plan you favor or agree with. Problem solving is a major soft skill to bear in mind. When unexpected wrenches are thrown into the gears, a good problem solver will stay calm and think critically to get things moving again. Problems solvers are high-value to employers. Confidence is another soft skill that’s of high value, but not false confidence, or a haughty attitude that’s undeserved. Confidence must be backed up with real knowledge, skill, and ability.

Going into business is popular and can be highly lucrative.

The earning potential in business is likely what attracts most candidates. It takes more than technical and learned skills to be successful in the field, so hold your best qualities up against this skill list to see if business might be a good field for you.

Here's a list of business skills that employers seek in candidates for employment. Skills will vary based on the job for which you're applying, so also review our list of skills listed by job and type of skill.

Business Skills List

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H - M

N-S

T - Z

How to Use Skills Lists

Use the skills mentioned here as you create your resume or cover letter, or as you search for a job. Use these terms in your resume and cover letter. Prep for your interview by coming up with ways that you’ve demonstrated these skills in your prior work. Each job will require different skills and experiences, so make sure you read the job description carefully, and focus on the skills listed by the employer.

Also review our lists of skills listed by job and type of skill.

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