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Five Things Employers Look For

By: Alex Nikotina

Published On: January 14, 2017

Hiring managers and HR professionals receive hundreds of applications and conduct multiple interviews for every job opening. Of course, they are looking for specific skills and experiences for the job. But beyond the industry-specific knowledge, what is it that employers are looking for?

We identified five key characteristics that organizations value the most in their employees.


1. Leadership

People with leadership abilities impress employers with their confidence and go-getter attitude. They are not afraid to take initiative and they accept responsibility for their actions. Leaders can bring a fresh perspective into the organization.

“Everything rises and falls on leadership” – John Maxwell.

  • Be an example. Don’t settle for the minimum – be an example for others and do your due diligence in every task you perform.
  • Set ambitious goals. Aiming high will not only help you get more things done but will also inspire others to have higher standards. Keep the team’s objectives in mind when setting personal goals and plan accordingly.
  • Listen. Listening is a great skill that wins people over. Learn to listen and hear what people are saying, especially in a new workplace.
  • Show appreciation. True leaders don’t work alone: they recognize the importance of teamwork. Acknowledge the help of others and do your best to form connections with your teammates and coworkers.

2. Communication

Effective communicators are valued in every industry. Employers are looking for people who can effectively communicate and clearly express their ideas, be it in-person, on the phone or online.

  • Smile! A nice smile and a friendly “hello” can go a long way, so make an effort to make a positive first impression.
  • Be aware of your non-verbal communication. A lot of our communication is shown through non-verbal cues. Remember to dress appropriately and be aware of your posture and gestures.
  • Brand yourself. More often than not the hiring managers look not only at your resume but also at your social media. Learn to promote yourself on those platforms and show consistency across them.

3. Problem Solving

Employers are looking for people who can maintain the long-term vision while also being quick on their feet to adjust plans and schedules if needed. Ability to work in a flexible and dynamic environment is a must in the modern workforce.

  • Develop resilience and focus on solutions. Resilient individuals are not easily swayed by challenges. Although stressful situations at work are unavoidable, having a positive attitude and focusing on solutions will help you be more successful at work.
  • Be open-minded. Be open to learning new ways of doing something and take advice from the people who can help you.
  • Be prepared. Try to think ahead and make sure you have a few options in case something does not go as planned.

4. Time Management

Time management is one of the key organizational skills needed in any work environment. Meeting the deadlines and knowing how to prioritize will make you a key player on any team.

  • Set a schedule. Set deadlines for the tasks you need to perform and have a schedule to keep you organized.
  • Know your strengths. Knowing how much time and effort is needed for each task on your agenda is important. Focus your efforts on the tasks you are good at and make sure you have the energy for more time-consuming objectives.
  • Value yours and other people’s time. Time is the most valuable commodity. By staying organized and meeting deadlines you show people the respect they deserve – and you can expect the same in return.

5. Continuous Learning

In today’s competitive job market, one needs to prove that they have the necessary qualifications for the job they are applying for, but also that they are willing and able to continuously challenge themselves, learn and grow.

  • Focus on learning. Graduating does not mean that you are done learning and improving. Learning never stops, and it is important to continuously improve your knowledge and skills.
  • Get experience. If you lack work experience, engage in volunteering or sign up for a practicum. Those experiences will not only add to your skillset but will also make your resume more competitive.
  • Welcome feedback. Listening to and learning from constructive feedback will only help you grow.

Bonus: Computer Literacy

The rapid growth of technology makes it very hard to find employment without having adequate computer skills.

  • Advance your skills. The more efficient you are when using different software, the more competitive you are.
  • Be aware of the trends. Keep up with the new technological tools – they can be very useful, especially if the company focuses on innovation.
  • Know your tools. Keep an eye for resources that can help you learn faster or can make your current work easier. This can free your time and increase your overall productivity.



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