These Are The Top Skills Small and Medium Businesses Want Their Employees To Have

Looking for a new job (or your first job) can be intimidating, especially if you don’t have all the required skills or experience for the jobs you want. But don’t assume you can’t land a great job just because you lack a few prerequisites.

We looked at ZipRecruiter data for the top SMB job skills across all industries and identified the five most commonly listed skills. Instead of specific, teachable abilities, we found that SMBs across the board are looking for candidates with basic organizational, computer, and communication skills. This is great news for you because it shows that many employers value these fundamental abilities over clear-cut prerequisites.

Best of all, almost all five skills can be self-taught.

By strengthening your proficiency in these five areas and highlighting these skills on your resume and in job interviews, you can be a more competitive candidate for any job in almost any industry.

Here are the five skills you should hone to be a top candidate:

Communication skills

A person with strong communication skills can effectively convey their thoughts and ideas to their superiors, direct reports, customers, clients, and anyone else they may interact with throughout the workday. To develop these skills, you should focus on listening intently to others, clearly articulating your own opinions, and being open-minded to new ideas. In today’s digital age, it’s also important to hone your communication skills across different mediums. Job seekers must be able to write emails and chat messages that adhere to digital etiquette to be competitive.

Customer service

The quality of customer service a business provides can make or break the customer experience, and directly impact future sales. So it’s no surprise that customer service is the 2nd   top listed skill by SMBs. To provide great customer service, you must be receptive, understanding, empathetic, and engineer solutions to a range of issues. Another key piece of customer service is the ability to adjust yourself to the personality of the customer. As the face of the business, you must embody the values of your employer while tailoring your language and attitude to relate to each unique customer and situation.   


Scheduling typically refers to the prime skill required of Schedulers—employees who work in warehouses or directly with employees to ensure operations run on time. Someone with strong scheduling skills is organized, diligent, and attentive. Schedulers may also be asked to lead a team of employees and effectively coordinate with external vendors. Scheduling skills can be self-taught, though many scheduling jobs will require candidates to have at least an associate’s degree in business or another related field.

Computer literacy

Someone with computer literacy can send emails, use the internet, type at an adequate speed, use word processing and spreadsheet software, and perform other simple computer tasks. While jobs are still available that do not require computer literacy, having basic computer skills will make you a much more competitive candidate in today’s job market. These skills can be learned in local computer classes or with help from instructive books or manuals.  


Someone who is detail-oriented has a sharp eye for oversights, inconsistencies, and inaccuracies. An employee in a detail-oriented role is responsible for spotting and correcting mistakes that could negatively impact a company’s operations or reputation if left unchecked. Some people are naturally detail-oriented, but it is a skill that can be taught and cultivated. To become more detail-oriented, always check things twice, review documents or communications slowly and patiently, and regularly refresh yourself on the most common mistakes to look for.

Showcase Your Skills and Get Hired

While certain SMB jobs will always require specific, technical skills, the most sought-after candidate skills are related to organization and effective communication. By simply honing your communication skills, organizational abilities, and basic computer knowledge, you can make yourself a much more desirable candidate to employers. Don’t forget to mention your strength in these skills areas on your resume and in job interviews to stand out as a top candidate.        

Written by

At ZipRecruiter, our mission is to connect employers and job seekers with their next great opportunity. On the ZipRecruiter blog, we use insider experience and data derived from our AI-driven jobs marketplace to provide advice and insights on topics such as the job search process, interviewing, and labor market trends. Start your job search or post a job today and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn!

More Articles by The ZipRecruiter Editors