The 5 Skills Employers Want in 2020

Posted on July 01, 2020

Since the beginning of 2020, the world of work has measurably changed. Wide sweeping layoffs makes for lots of talented professionals without secure employment. Many more have observed the way their current employer navigated recent world events and determined it’s time to begin looking for a new role.

If you’re in the market for a new job, you’re in good company. So what can you do to stand out from the crowd?

Here are the skills that set candidate apart, in the post-pandemic job market:


The rapid pace of change that we witnessed, beginning in March and lasting for the better part of a quarter, re-prioritized employers’ necessities. Flexibility is no longer a bonus of employees, at any organizational level this skill is a requirement.

Those able to demonstrate their ability to skillfully navigate change will give employers pause. If you want to stand out in 2020, illustrate your track record of being able to pivot at a moment’s notice; give examples of when you anticipated or encountered obstacles and successfully moved projects in a new direction.

Digital Skills

An inescapable reality of the new way we work is our reliance on technology. Digital skills have had an ever-increasing importance for employers. The dramatic shift to remote work has accented the requirement of applicants to be digitally literate.

Interviews have become almost entirely conducted through phone and video conferencing, making this skill an early and essential part of the hiring evaluation. Candidates are expected to be proficient in various media - Computer, iPad, phone - and video conferencing software - Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Zoom - to be leaders in the running.

Effective Communication

The quick transition to more regulated communication, more video chats and emails, than in person chats, highlights the value of an applicant’s ability to communicate effectively. For employers, this isn’t measured by the frequency, but rather by the impact of each connection.

Proficiency in this soft skill is noticeably demonstrated throughout the interview process. Be quick to respond and thoughtful in reply. Don’t give in to the temptation to hide behind the computer screen; make an effort to pick up the phone, rather than relying on email.


The value of empathy can not be overstated. No one wants to spend time with an insensitive coworker even on the best day. Because the pandemic has caused challenges in everyone’s lives, we need to amplify our ability to provide empathy to all involved—both internal and external.

Acknowledge the humanity of each person throughout the interview process, from your recruiter to your candidates, and especially yourself. It’s easy to hold yourself and others to preconceived expectations, but when the world has changed, so should your notions of it. Approach your job hunt with curiosity and transparency. Build rapport effortlessly with a sincere motive to understand the person you’re interacting with.

Creative Problem Solving

Most employees focus on their role and stay in their lane. But now the lanes are much wider. Successful employees will pick their heads up and survey the new landscape.

A creative problem solver helps everyone get to the solution faster and less painfully. Those who can look ahead and assess future impact and opportunities are invaluable. Demonstrate your track record of looking at things in a different light to create solutions.

How To Land a Job in 2020

With the wide-sweeping changes in the economy and industry, employers are also changing the way they approach hiring. They are being less rigid about what they are looking for, increasingly considering candidates outside of their normal profile.

But while employers are broadening their definitions of a qualified candidate, the competition is dramatically increasing as well. Positions that would fetch 100-200 applications last year are drawing 500-800 applicants in 2020.

How do you break through the mountains of qualified applicants to land a job? What’s traditionally worked—high engagement and a range of experience—isn’t enough for employers in 2020. The determining factors of who gets an offer letter is in the subtle uniquenesses of a candidate.

When hiring managers have to sift through hundreds of applications, it takes something special to stand out. Working with a professional recruiter means when an employer receives your resume, it comes with a personal recommendation from an industry expert: Your MacDonald Search Group consultant.

If you’re looking to advance your career with a great company, the MacDonald Search Group consultants are here to help you. Check out our recent job listings and submit your resume today.