Skills certainly are important. Professionalism (86%), high-energy (78%) and confidence (61%) are the top three traits, then self-monitoring (58%) = self-directed or autonomous, intellectual curiosity (57%), . . . . http://finance.yahoo.com/news/top-five-personality-traits-employers-120509955.html Analytical (problem solving) and programming (either being able to write code and/or use/apply code to a problem) are important in science, engineering and technology. I was impressed in reading some recent proposals for a project by the accomplishments of the junior staff members, as well as those of the senior staff. What motivate us: Pay attention to about 5 minutes on, in which the commentator talks about autonomy, mastery and purpose. How do those aspects apply to one? Also, one should do homework on the company to which one is applying (their products, services, research, . . . ), as well as the industry in which the company participates. Also, know something about the competition.