Whether you're looking for a new job this year, aiming to get a raise or promotion, or are just worried about hanging on to your current job, you need to demonstrate that you have some or all of the qualities and characteristics employers are seeking. But what are those qualities? Most people make career-related New Year’s resolutions without paying much attention to what employers are looking for or ways they can differentiate themselves from job-seekers and co-workers, according to OI Partners-Innovative Career Consulting, a leading global coaching and leadership development/consulting firm.
“Career-related resolutions tend to focus on what employees and job-seekers want, rather than the skills that employers are demanding today,” said 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.”
Recently, OI Partners surveyed its career consultants on which characteristics and qualities are most in demand by employers in 2013. By taking this list to heart and assessing where you’re already strong and what you need to improve, you can begin to position yourself to stand out from your colleagues at work or your competition in the job search.
1. What have you learned lately? “Employers are seeking workers who have made a commitment to continuous learning. Companies want to hire and have on board employees who have tomorrow's knowledge today. Learning can include courses you are taking and degrees you are pursuing, participating in webinars, attending technology expos and trade shows, and online software courses. Relate what you are learning to how this can make you a better employee or a great hire,” said Simcik.
2. Value proposition to employer. Companies want to know how, specifically, can you or are you adding value to them. Be sure you have adapted your message to your employer or the company you are targeting by tying it into the current goals and mission of the organization. “Too many people keep ‘selling’ their skills to employers in an outdated framework.” Simcik suggests, “Be sure your value is considered current and relevant to the employer.”
3. Outstanding communications skills: Employers are becoming more dissatisfied with the communications skills of their employees and job candidates. They are placing a higher priority on both written and verbal skills. Simcik relates that, “With Tweets, texts, blogs, and PowerPoint proliferating, fewer employees and job applicants are good writers. Some employers are amazed that employees cannot write a coherent report or even a complete sentence. Don’t only sharpen your presentation skills, but improve your writing, too.”
4. Teamwork. In an OI Partners survey, employers report that being a team player is the number-one quality they are looking for in applicants and workers. With work forces still lean, 7 out of 10 employers said being able to accomplish goals with others is the most important quality they desire. “It is key that you be viewed as a collaborative problem solver, so be sure to volunteer to be part of cross-functional task forces,” said Simcik.
5. Excitement and enthusiasm. Companies want people who are enthusiastic and excited about working with them and doing their jobs. “Be able to articulate what about the company’s product or service inspires you and how you can demonstrate that in your daily work," said Simcik.
All these qualities are important for every employee and job seeker, but the OI Partners survey brought out even more things employers are looking for. Take a look here for the Top Five to see how you stack up and how you can make yourself stand out from the crowd.
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.