As of right now, employment numbers are showing that the U.S. is approaching what is referred to as “full employment”. In fact, at around 4.0% unemployment we are approaching a 17-year low in the number of unemployed Americans. Of course there are some who challenge that assessment saying that there are large numbers of “under-employed” or those who have simply stopped looking for work ever since the recession of 2008 wreaked havoc on our economy. Some of that is true, no doubt.
But, there is also a trend that is showing that salaries are starting to rise. Minimum wages are being raised and hiring for expansion in many industries is underway by the thousands. That means opportunities for workers are expanding.
For many years in my working career, I often was involved in the hiring process and reviewed résumés and conducted interviews for positions within the companies I worked for. With that thought in mind, beside the obvious degrees and education requirements I was looking for in a new employee, these are what I believe are 10 essential qualities you need to land a great job in an expanding economy right now!
10 Important Job Skills for Success
1. Communication Skills
Employers look at your ability to communicate clearly and effectively in multiple mediums: by email, text, and verbally, plus taking notes, making lists, and talking on the phone. Even your body language is noticed in a personal interview. It also includes your listening skills and your ability to provide feedback.
Today, you often have a telephone or Skype interview to be screened, so it’s not only in your personal interview but with all your communications when seeking employment.
Employers want accurate and timely information regarding their businesses and you, the employee. Made a mistake? Don’t cover it up—admit it and explain how you learned never to do it again.
3. Technical Competency
Most positions require certain skills that are advertised in a job posting. If you apply for a job, you should have and know those skills or at least some, if they are willing to train you. The willingness to improve your skills along the way is also expected.
4. Work Ethic
Be on time, do what you were hired to do, meet targets and deadlines, and work to the best of your ability all the time. These are requirements and not options. I can’t stress how important it is to convey that you make that a priority.
Employers want employees to react quickly to changing business conditions. They need employees who can change gears and adapt as required.
6. Determination and Persistence
Managers will give employees challenging goals, but generally they are achievable. The key is to be able to keep moving forward when you encounter obstacles. Demonstrate how you deal with challenges.
7. Ability to Work in Harmony with Coworkers
Employers want people working with them and for them who can get along with their colleagues and who work with others effectively no matter the circumstances. Teamwork is essential in most environments.
8. Eager and Willing to Add and Share Knowledge and Skills with Coworkers
As businesses change, there is often a need to find out new information, expand knowledge, and explore new ways of doing things. You want to be viewed as a person interested in learning, with a willingness to pass it on to others to become invaluable.
9. Problem-Solving Skills
Companies are looking for people who are motivated to take on challenges and responsibilities with minimal direction. Employees should see when something needs to be done and react accordingly without waiting to be told what to do about it.
Employers want and need to be able to trust their employees to work professionally to meet the employer’s best interests. They do not want to hire people who require close scrutiny or who cannot be trusted to represent their company the way they wanted it represented.
Conveying These Job Skills
How can you let an employer know that you have these qualities when you are applying for a job?
Provide a résumé that uses words employers are looking for to get their attention and limit your resume to 1-2 pages of recent employment and/or education. I personally could never spend the time evaluating someone’s 8-page résumé and it wound up in the “Ugh” file every time.
Send a cover letter with your résumé that clearly demonstrates you understand the skills needed for the job and provide examples of where you have used these skills.
Give good “objective” references that will provide positive feedback about you on inquiry. Get a great letter of reference from a previous employer to give to prospective employers. Keep in mind that all references are going to be good otherwise you wouldn’t list them, would you? A “great” one is from someone who gives some detail as to why you would be a great asset to a new employer.
Have examples and stories to tell in an interview of how you learned something or how you solved a problem in a previous position.
Finally, always have a few questions to ask about the company and the position. This shows you have done some research and it shows your desire and ability to contribute to the company.
Are you ready to move up into a new job and are you prepared to make that happen in 2018? What are you doing right now to open the door?