Whenever we go for an interview, we are always really nervous and we have a billion things going through our head. Are they going to like me? Am I going to make a good impression? Am I qualified enough? Do I need more experience? Do I have the required skills to do the job? Am I what they are looking for?
We drive ourselves crazy thinking about it over and over again in our heads.
So, the questions become, what kind of skills are employers looking for in an employee? What makes a person successful and get ahead in their career? What traits do employers seek the most?
According to Careers Focus Canada: A Personal Job Search Guide Forth Edition by Helene Martucci Lamarre and Karen McClughan, the basic skills employers are looking for and that a person needs to have in order to be successful are reading, writing, speaking, listening, teamwork, problem solving and creativity.
Reading sounds pretty simple and basic, right? But, in this book, it not only means that you have to have the ability to read while doing your job, it means you have to be able to read and actually learn and comprehend what you are reading so that you can summarize and use what you read to do your job.
Writing is also a basic skill. But, when you write, you have to be able to show and communicate your ideas, as well as inform people, in a clear, concise and correct matter. Otherwise, if employers can’t understand what you’re writing, they won’t bother to take the time to read it.
Speaking is another important and basic form of communication one needs to have since you’ll need to be talking with your employer, fellow employees and employees from other companies and areas of work. And since speaking is important, listening is equally important as you need to be able to listen to other people giving their ideas and opinions, as well as them listening to yours. The two go hand in hand.
Teamwork is an extremely important skill to have as a lot of jobs require you to work with other people in order to get the job done.
Problem Solving kind of coincides with teamwork; when problems arise, you usually work with other people to find a solution. You need to be able to solve problems quickly and effectively in your job by understanding the information given, drawing conclusions and recommendations to solve the problem.
Creativity is another important skill to have and is required to solve challenging problems. You need to be able to provide fresh ideas to situations, and to have the ability to think outside the box.
The book also talks about the skills needed to get ahead in your career that were mentioned in a presentation given by a research director at the Collegiate Employment Research Institute at Michigan State Universities.
The presentation concluded the skills needed to get ahead were:
- Be professional.
- Employees must have agility, and learning is a requirement.
- Yesterday’s way of thinking will not work with the systems of today.
- Employees must be aware of the people in their field and be able to learn from them.
- eed to be organized in order to get things done.
- Employees need to go well beyond their typical job descriptions in order to be successful.
- The more you know and the more you can do well on the job, the more successful you can be, and with it comes more freedom and flexibility.
Another topic the Canada Focus book discusses, are the top 10 traits that employers seek in their new employees that were published by a U.S. university system.
The top 10 traits looked for by employers that are mentioned are:
- Excellent verbal and written skills
- Ability to turn theory into practice
- Working well in groups
- Problem solving
- Living a balanced life
- Time management
- Fearlessness; and
For more information regarding the information mentioned above, you can purchase the book Careers Focus Canada: A Personal Job Search Guide Forth Edition at amazon.ca or chapters, or you might be able to get it at a library, or see if someone in the journalism program at your school has one as it is required for some programs.
The book also has some great information on marketing strategies and tools (how to market yourself), interviewing (what to do during, before and after an interview) and resumes (how to create a good resume with references).