Top Skills & Qualities You Need for the Public Sector

If you're wondering how to impress in the public  sector, we sum up the top 14 skills and qualities you'll need to make an impact both at the application stage and if you successfully secure a job in this area.

1. Excellent organisation and negotiating skills

In any role in the public sector, you'll be required to juggle different projects with varying degrees of priority, along with multiple stakeholders and personalities. You may need to influence others as part of your role or negotiate with other departments.  

2. Creativity and flexible thinking

The ability to adapt to change and think creatively around problems is a must. Click here to view our guide to creativity. 

3. Leadership

In both the Civil Service and in public affairs, you'll be someone who is keen to learn how to become a great leader - influencing and inspiring those to act around you. 

Communication is key in this industry - and you'll be someone who excels in this area. 

4. Decision-making ability

You'll need to make tough decisions under pressure. You'll be someone who won't shy away from coming up with solutions, however difficult.

5. Teamworking skills

You'll be working with myriad of different people with varying skills and qualities. You'll need to know how to motivate them and work alongside them. 

6. The ability to work alone

Part of your work will require independent thought and the ability to come up with solutions on your own. You'll be someone who can remain focused during these times. 

Independent thought and the drive to get things done are essential to success in the public sector

7. Good communication skills, written and oral

Communication is key in this industry - and you'll be someone who excels in this area. Check out how to write good emails

8. Enthusiasm and commitment for politics, policy issues and current affairs

To succeed and thrive in your job, especially this one, you'll ideally have an interest in the sector. Politics and policy shapes a nation and everyone has an opinion. You'll be someone who wants to be on top of the debate every day. 

Good places to start for staying in touch with what's happening:

9. Confidence and drive

There's a host of personalities in this sector and it's highly competitive. You'll need to have confidence and drive to see things through. 

10. Time management skills and the ability to work to tight deadlines

Like many a high-demanding career, you'll be able to manage your workload and deliver on time.

11. The ability to organise and prioritise your workload

You'll be a natural organiser who can juggle multiple projects and knows when to focus on what's important. Of course, you'll hone such skills over time, but you'll be ready to take on the challenge.

12. Interpersonal skills

Because people and communication are at the heart of this sector, you'll have to have exceptional people skills and enjoy bringing people together on projects no matter how difficult.

13. Commercial awareness

While not in a commercial sector as such, you'll need to understand what incentivises clients and people in this sector and what impact government policy and politics has on the wider commercial world. 

14. Project management and a logical approach to solving problems 

This will be tested at application stage, but you'll need to be someone with a calm, logical and solutions-focused approach to problems. You'll know how to see projects through from start to finish and how to react to or pre-empt problems as they come up.

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