Attributes and Barriers

By Declan Harrison

Skills & Attributes

There are many things that employers seek when looking for workers, this will be a list of the main skills, attributes and attitudes that an employer looks for from an applicant.

General Skills:

Organisational skills

  • These are about managing certain duties/jobs so that you can prioritize certain ones based off of what is more important and time consuming.

Planning skills

  • Planning skills allow you to look ahead and accomplish goals/objectives more efficiently whist avoiding hardships. This allows you to implement decisions with ease and reduce effort whilst producing the same outcome.

Time management skills
  • Time management refers to the way that you organise and plan out how long you spend on specific things.
  • It is normally used when planning out things and it allows for things such as productivity, efficiency, better professional reputation, less stress and more opportunities.

Numeracy skills

  • Being able to understand information can effect your job chances. Having good numeracy skills can improve future prospects. This is especially important in jobs that are based around numeracy or require a bit of knowledge about numeracy.
  • Numeracy is becoming ever more important so having good skills in numeracy (mathematics) is a great attribute.

Verbal skills

  • Verbal skills are entirely dependent on the number of factors. Clarity of speech & remaining calm will allow you to convey your input into a conversation among other people.

  • Sometimes it is very effective as it shows you are willing to give input and more people are influenced by it.

Team working skills

  • This allows you to become more familiar with people at work and you can learn how to work together.
  • Allowing workers to delegate certain tasks tailored towards workers strengths, this allows for more efficiency in the work place.
  • It can also make more people feel comfortable with sharing their ideas and gives everyone a chance to discuss and improve them.

Written communication skills

  • Having good written communication skills will allow you to convey certain things in more detail and clarity than verbal skills would allow.
  • Verbal skills require more on the spot thinking so they usually go into less detail where in some circumstances is needed.
  • Written information is also easier to analyse.


  • One of the most valuable skills there is, creativity allows you to come up with ideas on the spot and in a working environment they are usually put into action.
  • Businesses seek more & more creative minds.
  • It's always good having a good imagination

Specific skills:

Health & Safety

  • Know the general do's and do not's when it comes to keeping safe in the workplace
  • Experience in ensuring others comply with the current health & safety rules
  • Being able to identify potential health & safety risks and prevent them

Technical Knowledge

  • Having a vast amount of knowledge in the career you are pursuing
  • Knowing how to use most of the equipment provided in the job you are applying for will mean that the employers will consider you more experienced and it may give you a better chance of getting the job

Attitudes that are highly valued:

  • Determined - You have a strong resolve to do well. This is what drives you to do you best in different situations.
  • Independent - You're capable of doing things by yourself as you are in control. You don't depend on other people to get things done for you.
  • Tolerant - Willing and able to cope with certain situations and people that would be considered hard to work with.
  • Confident - You trust in your own abilities and you know what you are capable of which often leads to decisiveness.
  • Strong Leadership - Capable of leading other people and doing it well in order to complete tasks that require communication and teamwork.
  • Positive - You look at what you have rather than what you don't have and you find a way to work with it. You would rather be constructive and beneficial.
  • Logical - Sound reasoning is what you base your answers from when problem solving and you are capable of thinking clearly and sensible under working circumstances.

Effective communication

General Communication skills

In order to achieve effective communication one must be able to work past cultural differences, this could also be paired with adapting the way you talk and the terminology you use. Making sure you talk so that whoever you are speaking to is able to understand you is very important, that is why it is best to use terminology suited to what you are talking about, and try to use a clear voice which allows them to understand you more clearly even if you have an accent.

Another way of effectively communicating with people is by using powerpoints, these are often used to explain something to an audience and it is best to have short sentences that get straight to the point of what you are talking about. Providing images as examples is always good if they don't entirely understand what you are trying to convey.

It is always best to get feedback which is why it is good to ask for questions after making a powerpoint or speech, this allows you to see if there are things you need to improve on and you are able to clarify anything that people didn't understand at first. This is also a good way to interact with others that you may be working with and get a general understanding of what they are good at. This leads to my next point.

Interpersonal skills

When communicating with people you need to communicate with everyone which means sometimes you need to work on bonding with co-workers and building better relationships with them. This means that you can better utilize their skills and play to their strengths.

Another is making sure people who have disabilities such as hearing problems. In these cases having someone who can sign during a speech is extremely useful and this is often used during speeches. This is also a reason to encourage the learning of sign language and lip reading for co-workers.

There are many interpersonal skills and in order to be effective at communication you could learn to improve your body language and use of intonation. This is good because if you were talking to a customer you could make yourself sound more positive when talking about certain products etc. This could encourage them to go look at those products and potentially buy them. The use of body language and intonation is very useful is very important within marketing jobs for this exact reason.

Finally, showing active engagement can help when encouraging other to join in which can improve team communication as a whole.

Communication in writing

There are times when written communication skills can be very useful, written communication skills allow you to convey things in more detail and even clarity in some cases. Written information is also easier to analyse which means people are able to come back and look through it for the information they need, you cannot do that with spoken communication.

Note taking is very important when listening to speeches or watching presentations. As they are usually used for spoken communication you may forget some things which is why it's always best to write them down, it shows the person you are listening to that you actually care about what they are saying aswell.

Making sure you know when to talk formally and informally is always useful, it can reduce the amount of unneeded writing you use and allows you to get to the pint more easily. Even using emoticons and text speech can be usefull sometimes when you are talking to co-workers as it allows you to get along with them whilst being more informal. This is good for building relationships when you aren't at work and it can enable better teamwork when at work.

Using the proper grammar, spelling and punctuation is always important when you are in a situation that requires formal writing. This often means you should proof read because generally if you are writing formally it's for something important and you don't want something full of mistakes being given to whoever it is it's being given to.

Barriers of communication:

  • Background noise - Background noise can be an annoying barrier but it is easy to overcome and prevent.

  • Distraction - This can be caused by many things, if someone is uncomfortable with where they are or the situation they are in they tend to look around which means they aren't able to focus on what is being said/conveyed.

  • Physical barriers - Some jobs require changing location a lot which means there are less chances to communicate effectively with others. Also poor/outdated equipment can cause problems that are short fixes but they make it harder to communicate. Physical disabilities such as hearing problems and speech difficulties can greatly affect this.

  • Lack of concentration - This can often be the result of being overworked mental or physically making it harder for people to communicate and overcome barrier. They are also more apt to cause communication barriers.

  • Cultural - Being in different cultures can lead us to communicate in different ways that are more tailored to the way we were raised withing a culture. There are often people of different cultures who must work together and in order to do that they must learn what certain jargon means and come to some common terms.

  • Language/semantic - The overuse of jargon can make things more complicated when communicating with people who are unfamiliar with jargon/technical terms. Even certain accents can cause barriers in communication as some are harder to understand as people are unfamiliar with the accent and how people sound words. Also the meaning of word may differ between recipients and senders which can result in assumptions which are wrong.

Prevention of barriers:

  • You can reduce the impact of this just by speaking more loudly and clearly or moving location. Generally if there is a lot of background noise it is only temporary.

  • Barriers can be unconsciously built up by workers so it is good to make an effort to stay organised and overcome barriers as soon as they occur.

  • Having regular checks at a health centre will help to make sure workers aren't suffering from any illnesses and if they are they can get them taking care of, take some time off from work and come back more relaxed.

  • Providing recreational activities can help keep stress levels low

  • Giving compulsory vacation after a certain period of time can also keep stress levels down and prevent people from being overworked

  • Be clear and careful with the use of language and use words that have a very clear meaning. This can avoid language barriers and it also builds good habits.

  • Using short and simple sentences that are clear is an effective way of dealing with communication barriers

  • The use of visual aid to avoid semantic barriers is useful as it makes this much easier for workers to understand.

  • Providing feedback is a good way to find out if things are being misunderstood and what things are effective

  • Working together to improve listening skills, this goes beyond simply hearing what someone says. You pay attention to what they say and this can lead to strong relationships.

  • Convey information consistently, make sure information is not interpreted wrong.

  • Work towards using more sign language and visual methods of communication when working with hearing disabilities. Work on using other methods when working with people who have bad eyesight or none at all.