College grads and seasoned workers alike are pounding the pavement around Denver and the country in search of gainful employment. If you’re having a tough time convincing a company to hire you, have you looked lately at what employers are really seeking in their new hires and their employees? Recently, OI Partners surveyed its career consultants on which characteristics and qualities are most in demand by employers in 2013. Compare yourself against the list of qualities below as well as this top-five list so you can begin to position yourself to stand out from the crowd in the job search.
“Career-related resolutions tend to focus on what employees and job-seekers want, rather than the skills that employers are demanding today,” says Shawna Simcik, Managing Partner of OI Partners-Innovative Career Consulting in Denver. “People will be more successful in their jobs and job searches by validating that they are the best fit.”
Flexibility. When discussing the goals for the coming year with your manager, look for opportunities for cross-training to provide coverage in your department during co-workers’ vacations, sick leaves, etc. Employers appreciate workers who keep focused on meeting the organization’s goals, especially when resources are stretched.
Anticipate. Being able to anticipate possible needs or problems is highly valued. “Companies reward people who see that there will be a resource gap, bring it to management’s attention, and propose some possible solutions. If you are interviewing for a position, share a story about a time that you did this in your career or explain how you would do this if hired,” said Simcik.
Persuasiveness. Ability to win over others, including customers and colleagues, is in demand. Persuasive employees know how to craft their messages to meet others' needs and, at the same time, accomplish their objectives. Since most work today is accomplished by obtaining information and support from peers in other departments, the ability to influence and persuade is a critical skill.
Leadership. With most companies developing their future leaders from within their organizations, rather than recruiting from outside, they are looking for workers with high leadership potential. "Future leaders are those who take initiative, don’t take 'no' for an answer, and find ways to be positive even in challenging situations. Management wants to hear potential leaders say how things can be done, and how problems can be solved, not why things won’t work,” said Simcik.
Authentic. While it is important to adapt to an organization’s culture, it is also essential to demonstrate who you are and what makes you unique as a person and employee. Be clear about what your special talents, skills, and contributions are and how you believe those things make you more effective.
It may seem like a long list (and don’t forget about these top five qualities employers are seeking), but unless you start demonstrating to hiring managers that you’ve got what they want, it’s going to be ramen noodles and bologna sandwiches for a while longer. This may be a whole new mindset for you, but it’s well worth the effort to land a job where you’ll succeed.
About this Examiner: Kathryn Marion is the award-winning author of GRADS: TAKE CHARGE of Your First Year After College!, the most comprehensive resource for navigating the world of work and independent living after graduation, as well as host of the book’s companion resource site, www.GradsTakeCharge.com. The print edition of GRADS: TAKE CHARGE is available through Amazon and other online booksellers. The e-book edition is available through e-junkie.
Kathryn also coaches students, graduates, and career changers as well as consults with small businesses and aspiring authors.
Follow her other Examiner columns: Job Search and Life After College. And even more articles on SelfGrowth.com.