By Karl Malinowski
With the economy in its current state, recent graduates and those trying to transition to a different job are having a difficult time. The easy days are long gone and in order to land that dream job, applicants need to have the right skill set to have a chance at their dream job. While having a great resume certainly helps, it no longer guarantees employment. In fact, there are a number of attributes applicants need to have in order to even be considered!
Remember those essays you had to write in college that you thought were a complete waste of time? Well, turns out that they actually had a purpose. Today, employers are looking for employees that can write intelligently, and for different audiences and purposes. Also, if a person can put their thoughts down on paper in an intelligible and engaging manner, chances are their oral communication is great as well. No employer wants their employees sending out emails to potential clients that are riddled with grammatical errors. The best way to show off your written communication skills is by submitting a cover letter and resume that is not only well thought out, but also grammatically perfect and representative of an overall articulate person.
With technology having an ever-increasing role in everyday life and in business, communication skills are more important than ever. Today, people too often rely on text messages, emails, and other impersonal means of communication. Because of this, the so-called 'people skills' are quickly disappearing. An applicant who can come into an interview and demonstrate their ability to communication in a clear and concise manner in the face of many different levels of management, while still showing their personality and enthusiasm, will be several steps in front of the rest of the applicants. Employers pay big bucks to train employees on how to speak publicly and to interact professionally with clients. If they know they won't have to shell out that kind of time and money to train you, it could be enough to land you the job.
Regardless of the role in question, every employer wants to hire a leader. However, a leader doesn't simply mean that you take charge of everything all the time. Being a leader in today's world means knowing when to step up and when to step back. It means knowing when to admit that your plate is too full and knowing when it is time to let other individuals take over. These are the type of attributes employers want to see. They want to see that an applicant has volunteered on a regular basis and that they are involved in the community. These types of activities help to show what type of natural leader you truly are, one that is able to take initiative when the need calls for it.
While leadership skills are a winning trait, an employer is likely equally interested in whether you can work well in a team setting. They want to know that if they were to throw you with a group of people that were completely different than you that you could manage to pull through and still produce results. This skill can be demonstrated in a number of ways, but be sure to highlight it on your resume or in your cover letter. If there are any major accomplishments you've done while working as a team, be sure to bring it up. A group of individuals can accomplish more than a single person can, so being a team player will definitely work in your favor.
Dress the Part
While they won’t make or break you, first impressions are crucial in job interviews, so when you walk into an interview, dress the part. The general rule of thumb is to dress a level above the position, unless specifically told otherwise. For example, if you are applying at a fast food restaurant, you should wear a nice pair of slacks and a dress shirt. If you are applying for a paralegal position in a law firm, you should show up in a suit. While you won't be required to dress like that every single day, it lets your potential employer know that you take both yourself and the job seriously, which means you are more likely to be a productive member of his or her team.
Karl Malinowski writes on a variety of topics for Bit9, including endpoint security, technical advancements, career skills, and motivation. He is passionate and knowledgeable on landing careers and helping young adults find the job that will help them build their skill set.