New Year new skills: What skills do you need to be an ideal candidate in 2018?

Career advice

If you're starting January off looking for a new job, then you're not alone. Last year the number of British people looking for a new job soared in January by 64% according to Moving roles to take on a more fulfilling job or changing your career completely often tops the New Year's resolutions checklist, and becomes a real focus in January.

The good news is that it's a candidates market at the moment. This means that there are more jobs available than there are candidates to fill them, so chances are you'll find plenty of opportunity in your area. In areas where there are skills shortages, you'll find even more opportunity and more competitive packages.

Why does the skills shortage affect me?

When you're looking for a new job, it's a good idea to draw up a list of all your skills, and check them off against your ideal career. Do you have all the skills that you need? Can you learn more? The skills shortage means that if you have a skill thats considered in short supply, you'll be a much more competitive candidate, and find yourself in high demand.

Learning that extra skill that employers are looking for could be the thing that tips you up into the next salary bracket, or what helps you jump into the job that you want.

So what skills do I need?

The skills that you'll need in 2018 will change depending on the career that you want; but the common theme is digital skills. There's a lack of digital know-how in the market at the moment, so if you can demonstrate relevant skills on your CV then you'll be one big step ahead of your competition.

Cover the basics

Most jobs in todays market will require a good understanding of the Microsoft Office package. Whether you're a whizz at pivot tables in Excel or a master of forms in Word, nailing these programmes will put your career in the right direction.

There's loads of free help out there as well, from the Office training videos to LinkedIn training and webinars. You can be a Microsoft Office master in no time, and the skills that you build will leave you in a great position for landing your new job in 2018.

Think about the future

Robots in the workplace. We've heard about it, they make the news at least once a week, but material change in our day-to-day lives is still some way off. Nonetheless, building up your skills to prepare for the change is a good idea. There are lots of areas you can look into and it will depend a lot on the type of job you'd like; but automation and data are the two fields that are expanding rapidly.

It's worth thinking about how these changes might affect your industry, and getting one step ahead of them now. If data is going to be king where you work, then focus on a basic data analysis course and start to build your arsenal of skills from there.

Don't forget the offline elements

Teamwork and communication were the two biggest skills that our clients pinpointed as being the most important for candidates in 2018. Whilst the future may well be digital, expert communication skills and the ability to work well across all levels of a business are still key elements for a successful candidate. When you're preparing your CV, make sure to include any examples of collaborative work to showcase your soft skills too.

The jobs market in 2018 will offer a lot to highly skilled and motivated candidates, so if a new job is on your resolutions list, it's time to dust off your CV and upskill!

To help you on your way, why not download our CV templates? They'll show off your skills in the best possible format, and help you think about what skills youll need to make your CV even better.