Skills in High-Demand for California Employers — Especially Modesto

Modesto, California farmland


In looking at the skills that are in highest demand in California in 2023, I’m turning to our clients in Modesto as a case study. Modesto is a new territory for Star Staffing, and we’ve spent a good deal of time isolating what employers are looking for. 

In doing that research, it’s clear that Modesto reflects the needs of California as a whole. If you’re looking for a new job this year, take note of these traits.


1. Resilience

In my book, resilience is the ability to adapt to new situations, to navigate uncertainty, and to bounce back from setbacks. We’re seeing the need for this attribute grow, especially as this world becomes even more uncertain and as businesses continue to reel from the impacts of Covid. We’re simply living in a less predictable world, and over and over, I’ve seen organizations desperate for employees who won’t balk at our new reality — and who can find ways to thrive.


Show off your resilience in an interview with concrete evidence — before they even ask about it.

Even if an interviewer doesn’t explicitly ask for an example of resilience, you can work it into your answers to common interview questions. If your interviewer asks for an example of how you handled an unexpected crisis at work, make sure you include examples of how you resiliently persevered: How did you adapt? How did you manage the uncertainty? How did you bounce back, and how did you make it happen quickly? 

You don’t have to have navigated a multi-million-dollar crisis to show resilience — maybe you navigated a coworker missing a shift during a busy season by setting an example for your frantic colleagues by taking a deep breath, accepting that things were stressful at the moment and that a solution would need to be worked out, looking over the shift coverage and finding a replacement, and then calmly going on with your day without letting the anxiety get the best of you.


2. Emotional Intelligence

Across the board, we’re seeing an increase in automation, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a need for the human element. In fact, the skills that make up emotional intelligence — communication, collaboration, leadership, and humility — are even more valuable these days. That’s certainly true in Modesto and throughout California. 


Display your emotional intelligence in every aspect of your interview.

It’s unlikely that an interview will come right out and say “Are you emotionally intelligent?” — but you’ll still need to get the point across without an explicit invitation. The good news is that you can demonstrate your capacity for emotional intelligence during the conversation: Ask questions that show your engagement with your interviewer, speak about your communication style, and even approach the interview itself as an opportunity for collaboration. (Bring your own questions and talking points!) Remember, an interview is a great place to show humility, so while you shouldn’t downplay your achievements, you can always hat tip to the collaboration and support that helped you get there.


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3. Problem-Solving

No matter what role you’re applying for, you’ll be in high demand with the ability to analyze complex information, think critically, and solve problems. This skill is always a way to build up trust within your team: They can rely on you when the unexpected happens and depend on your ability to see them through to the other side. (Remember, this doesn’t have to apply to big ticket, big price tag items.)


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Show that you can solve problems with examples.

When you want to show off your problem-solving skills, be sure to highlight how many things you were balancing to find a solution. Problems are rarely cut-and-dry, and making clear that you are capable of juggling multiple considerations to find a solution that benefits everyone is an invaluable skill.


4. Business Skills

This one is overlooked — but I think it’s absolutely essential. From senior leadership to the most junior employee, businesses need team members with entrepreneurial mindsets. Everyone is focused on their bottom line these days, and your ability to help set the business forward — regardless of your role — will be invaluable. 


You don’t have to have an MBA to show off your business skills.

Have you read a business book of any kind? Do you sell baked goods on the side? Have you ever helped your boss process payroll? Do you manage your family’s budget? Any of these experiences contribute to an entrepreneurial mindset, and you can simply present them as exactly that: business experience that has shaped your approach.


5. Empathy

While this could technically fall under emotional intelligence, I think this trait is so important that it deserves to stand alone. The ability to relate to and understand the perspectives, needs, and feelings of others is critical to building a solid work culture — one that fosters a sense of well-being, collaboration, and trust. 


In an interview, show that empathy guides your every action.

Can you talk about relationships in your life — inside and outside of the workplace — that rely on empathy? Likely, your relationships with your children, your parents, your siblings, friends, and community members are based on a fair amount of empathy from you, and you can make clear the ways in which empathy shows up in your life with concrete examples of listening to needs, validating experiences, and collaborating.  


Interested in finding a job in Modesto, California or anywhere else in Northern California? Be sure to check out Star Staffing’s jobs board