Top 10 things employers are looking for

I came across this article n The Guardian website which lists the top 10 buzz words employers use in their adverts and translates them. As I’ve repeatedly used the word ‘organised’ to describe myself these past few days I was really tickled to learn that if an employer wanted a organised person it meant someone who’s inbox will always be full!

I’ve pasted below a couple of the words I would use to describe myself – the full article is here.


Number of adverts it appears in (according to Adzuna) 99,862

Average salary for jobs requiring the skill £34,479

By far the most frequent term on the list, and one of the most forbidding. “My interpretation is that you are going to have a heavy in-tray,” saysCary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at Lancaster University. “You’re going to have a lot thrown at you, and you’d better be able to prioritise.”

A CV emphasizing that you’re used to working hard – and showing enthusiasm for it if you’re called for interview – is probably a good plan here.

Communication skills

Number of job adverts it appears in 68,064

Average salary £31,923

It is ironic that the ability to be understood should be described with a phrase that is so opaque. In some jobs it may refer specifically to giving confident presentations to lots of people, in which case emphasise that; it may also be a way of saying “social skills” – a vital element that employers are oddly reluctant to specify.

“I think there is a degree of emotional intelligence in there,” says Kirwan Hack from career management consultants Fairplace Cedar. Clearly it is hard to demonstrate this on a CV, other than by being articulate and clear, but it is useful to show that you are used to handling people. “The important thing is to demonstrate the different audiences you are used to communicating with,” Hack says. “The more breadth you have, the more convincing it is.”


Number of job adverts it appears in 36,581

Average salary £37,680

Clearly some jobs require people to be creative all the time, but in most cases “innovative” will mean something rather different. “The last thing they want you to do is be a free thinker,” Cooper says. Hack suggests the term is really asking, “Are you a problem solver? Can you think of good ways to get through the issues and challenges you’re going to face?”

To demonstrate that you are, he recommends dropping some brief hints on your CV about times when you have dealt with a difficult challenge. “You don’t need to explain how you did it,” Hack says. “That’ll come out at the interview.”


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