The personal skills required in very different jobs are surprisingly similar, with just a few differences in the level of skill required. Almost every professional job requires you to have good VERBAL or WRITTEN COMMUNICATION skills, and will require you to be able to CO-OPERATE with other people. Employers will assess these skills at every stage of your application.

Let's look at some examples, starting with teaching as it is a job everyone has some familiarity with.


TEACHERS obviously need to be good at TEACHING, INSTRUCTING and MAKING PRESENTATIONS, but they also need to have good LISTENING skills to understand the problems a pupil may be having. They need to be able to ANALYSE (for example) the reasons why a potentially bright student is not making progress, to have good WRITING skills, and be able to PLAN the next terms work.

BANK MANAGERS also need good WRITING skills , for example when drafting a letter to reply to the complaint of a customer. They need to be good LISTENERS to be able to sort the wheat from the chaff when a customer is asking for a large loan. They have to be PERSUASIVE when trying to persuade a local company to bank with them rather than a competitor bank, and to be able to both DIRECT and CO-OPERATE with their staff. They need to be good at ANALYSING information and MAKING DECISIONS when, as above, deciding whether or not to make a loan, and of course they need to be NUMERATE, but GCSE maths is probably sufficient here.

CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS must be LOGICAL and able to RESEARCH when they prepare and audit accounts as well as being good at QUESTIONING and ADVISING clients when they provide a consultancy service. They should also have strong NUMERACY, DECISION-MAKING, PLANNING and ORAL COMMUNICATION skills. While being SOCIALLY CONFIDENT and able to PERSUADE and NEGOTIATE with their clients they must also be good at LISTENING to what others have to say.

SOLICITORS need good VERBAL COMMUNICATION and LISTENING skills to deal with clients; INVESTIGATION, ANALYTICAL and PROBLEM-SOLVING abilities to handle legal casework and DECISION-MAKING skills - to assess, for example, the best course of action to follow.

piture of gears working together

MARKETING BRAND MANAGERS need to be good at WRITTEN COMMUNICATION to write promotional briefs, PERSUASIVE to persuade colleagues to pursue a particular line of action, good at ANALYSING the pricing and key features of products, good INVESTIGATORS to be able to research the market, consumers and competitors, and well ORGANISED to manage stock levels and to plan withdrawal of products from the market.

MUSEUM CURATORS need to be able to PLAN AND ORGANISE collections and museum activities; to be PERSUASIVE when negotiating budgets, sponsorship, acquisitions and loans and to have good VERBAL and WRITTEN COMMUNICATION skills to interpret the museum's collection for visitors and answer enquiries. They also need to CO-OPERATE when working in teams and, while INVESTIGATING and ANALYTISING is important in researching and cataloguing collections, this is only one part of the work, which is increasingly people-oriented.

POLICE OFFICERS need good VERBAL and WRITTEN COMMUNICATION skills to work with the public, write reports and present evidence in court. They need to be able to MAKE DECISIONS, often split-second, to INVESTIGATE and to CO-OPERATE with colleagues and other agencies. LEADERSHIP is an essential quality for even the most junior police officer - the public expects the police to take charge at, for example, the scene of a road accident - and becomes even more important at more senior levels, such as Inspector, where PLANNING and ORGANISING are also vital skills.

We need graduates who have the confidence to get involved, who think critically about their work, and who have the initiative to find ways of doing things better.


PATENT EXAMINERS require good INVESTIGATIVE SKILLS to check through data on previous patents, ANALYTICAL SKILLS to assess whether rights of inventors would be infringed by new patent applications, and WRITTEN COMMUNICATION SKILLS to present their findings. They must also have good ATTENTION TO DETAIL.

COMPUTER SYSTEMS ANALYSTS must be able to COMMUNICATE with the user of their system, and be able to LISTEN to them to find out their requirements. They must be able to INVESTIGATE and SOLVE PROBLEMS. They need to be able to PRESENT their solutions to their clients and PERSUADE them that their solution is the best one. They usually work in a team, so they need to be able to CO-OPERATE with programmers and other team members.

RESEARCH SCIENTISTS must be able to ANALYSE the results of experiments and be competent in WRITING reports about the procedures they have used and the results obtained. They usually work in teams and therefore need to CO-OPERATE with other people. On occasions they have to GIVE PRESENTATIONS to groups of people and as they progress within a company, they may have to LEAD a team and PLAN their schedule of work over a given period of time.

TV RESEARCHERS need to be PERSUASIVE to argue the merits of a particular aspect of a programme, well ORGANISED to work efficiently under intense pressure, good LISTENERS to conduct initial interviews with programme participants, good VERBAL COMMUNICATORS to brief presenters, and good INVESTIGATORS to find the right people and locations for filming.

PERSONNEL MANAGERS must be good at LISTENING when interviewing people for jobs, and also at WRITING reports. They need to be able to ANALYSE the requirements for a particular job (rather like this!) and to MAKE DECISIONS on who to invite for interview. They must CO-OPERATE with other managers when dealing with staff problems in their particular departments and must be able to PLAN ahead to predict future needs for training and recruitment.

Also see our Job Competencies Page