The current employment market is the strongest it’s been in the past six years. More than one-third of U.S. companies expect to add employees in 2015.

That’s encouraging news for job seekers. But it’s not enough just to know that companies are hiring. You need to have an accurate read on exactly what they’re looking for in candidates. The answer lies in the right combination of performance success, job-related abilities, and the interpersonal, organizational and other soft skills that can make all the difference in your ability to succeed.

Hottest Jobs This Year

Across all industries, the biggest demand for talent is in jobs tied to revenue growth, digital innovation and customer loyalty. You’re especially attractive if you have expertise in sales, data analysis, customer service or such emerging fields as cloud computing, mobile and search technology, cyber security, managing and interpreting Big Data, alternative energy, anti-terrorism or robotics.

But even if these aren’t your specialty areas, you’ll have a competitive edge if you’re considered a top performer at your current company. Losing top talent is a major concern for today’s employers. Nearly 60 percent of 4,700 companies in a recent survey noted that keeping their best-performing employees was their top concern this year, up from only 20 percent in 2010.

Can You Do the Job?

This is the bottom-line question that recruiters strive to answer as they walk a candidate through their hiring process.

  • Make sure your skills and experience align with the job description. Go through it line by line. Have specific examples to demonstrate your success meeting each requirement and responsibility.
  • Confirm the exact requirements during your interview. Don’t assume that the job description is 100 percent accurate and up to date. As you interview, probe and determine management expectations so you can highlight exactly what decision-makers are seeking.
  • Is there a cultural fit? Get to know not just the job, but also the company and how the position fits into overall organizational objectives. Research corporate culture in advance and, as you select examples to showcase your skills, be sure to include those that align with the working environment. Your ability to navigate culture will be a distinct advantage.

Top Skills Sought by Employers

A recent study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) determined the top 10 skills being sought by major employers. In order of importance, they are:

  • Ability to work within a team structure.
  • Ability to make decisions and solve problems (tie).
  • Ability to communicate verbally with people inside and outside the company.
  • Ability to plan, organize and prioritize work.
  • Ability to obtain and process information.
  • Ability to analyze quantitative data.
  • Technical knowledge related to the job.
  • Proficiency with software programs.
  • Ability to create and edit written reports.
  • Ability to sell and influence others.

No matter where your particular expertise lies, the trick is to demonstrate that you have these traits. Do this via your resume, cover letter, elevator speech and interview techniques. Be ready to show your strength as a team player, communicator, decisive decision maker and problem solver.

To hone your self-marketing skills and help ensure success in your 2015 job search, partner with the specialized recruitment experts at Talent Bridge. Contact us, read our related posts, join our Talent Network, and take your career aspirations to the next level. Here’s to a happy, successful New Year!