Frustrated job seekers often assume that getting hired depends on a magic formula, but the truth is far less complicated. Employers want candidates who can quickly analyze complex problems, express themselves well and work with little direction. However, intelligence and reliability aren't enough by themselves to ensure career success. Your ability to land a desirable job also depends on whether you're viewed as a team player who successfully adapts to new people and situations.
Ability to Communicate
The ability to express yourself orally and in writing is a prerequisite for success in today's workplace. Without the ability to convey your thoughts clearly, you're less likely to form positive working relationships that advance your career, according to the American Association of Retired Persons Foundation. Above-average reading skills are equally critical, since you'll have to regularly interpret emails, memos and reports. If your skills in these areas are mediocre or below par, expect employers to show less interest.
Generally speaking, employers don't want to burn up time constantly going over the same tasks. The ideal candidate is one who demonstrates critical-thinking, problem-solving, and reasoning skills that save company time and money. These abilities are particularly relevant for careers that require constant public interaction, such as the customer service industry. A commitment to lifelong learning is equally important, since the business world is always changing, and employers will expect you to adapt to it.
Competence and commitment are crucial ingredients in any career path, but they're meaningless without the ability to manage relationships. Finding candidates with this quality of emotional intelligence is a priority for employers, who increasingly expect new hires to make major contributions right away, asserts Cindy Lyness, a corporate recruiter interviewed for "The Gazette" newspaper. When assessing your suitability for a position, employers want to feel confident of your adeptness in reading social cues and working well with others whose views will often differ from your own.
With so many backgrounds and views represented in any workplace, it's crucial for everyone to work harmoniously toward common goals. For this reason, employers are especially keen to hire candidates who show positive interpersonal qualities, or "soft skills," "The Chicago Tribune" states. You may not like all your co-workers, but an employer still expects you to set aside such feelings for the company's success. Any hint that you don't play well with others will make landing a desirable job difficult.
Applicants who can't adapt to changing work situations are unlikely to arouse an employer's interest. For many companies, staying competitive in a global economy means working with fewer personnel and resources than previous generations. Employers want to know whether you can juggle multiple tasks, set priorities and organize your workload with minimal supervision, according to the Quintessential Careers website. Conversely, when goals go unmet, you must take responsibility for the outcome and develop strategies to complete the tasks.
- American Association of Retired Persons Foundation: What Skills Are Employers Looking For?
- Quintessential Careers: What Do Employers Really Want? Top Skills and Values Employers Seek from Job-Seekers
- The Chicago Tribune: Soft Skills Make Tough Competitors
- The Gazette: Emotional Intelligence: Separating the Good from the Great?
- Ciaran Griffin/Photodisc/Getty Images