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John Daly


John Daly: What Employers REALLY Want

By John Daly for The Key Class |

Wish you knew how to win the hearts and minds of current or perspective employers? Want to make them beam at the thought of making you a part of their team or hand you that next big promotion?

Every employer seeks unique skills that match a particular job. But they also seek out “universal skills” or “soft skills.” If you don’t have these “soft skills,” you can definitely gain them with training or coaching and mentoring from someone who understands them. Once you’ve got them, you can tailor your job search résumés, cover letters or interview language to highlight them.

What are these magical “employable skills”? I went on a search for them and found them in a list that Drs. Randall S. and Katharine Hansen compiled. The list was culled from a number of recent studies. While I haven’t included them all of them, I’ve listed what I feel are the criticals.

Critical Skills Employers Seek

» Listening, Verbal and Written Communications. A communicator who actually listens and then conveys the information effectively both verbally and in writing.

» Analytical/Research Skills. Your ability to assess a situation, seek multiple perspectives, gather more information if necessary, and identify key issues that need to be addressed. On a résumé, you’d want to stress you possess highly analytical thinking and talent for identifying, scrutinizing, improving and streamlining complex work processes.

» Computer/Technical Literacy. Almost all jobs now require basic understanding of word processing, spreadsheets and email. Let the employer know you are computer-literate on a wide variety of apps.

» Flexibility/Adaptability/Managing Multiple Priorities. Show you can multitask, adapt to changing work assignments and prioritize. Stress you are a flexible team player who thrives in juggling simultaneous projects.

» The ability to relate to your co-workers, inspire others to participate, and mitigate conflict. Indicate you are a relationship-builder with highly effective interpersonal skills.

» Multicultural Sensitivity/Awareness. Diversity is the biggest issue in the workplace. Workers who illustrate a sensitivity and awareness to other people and cultures are prized. State flat-out that cultural sensitivity and building rapport with a diverse workforce in a multicultural environment is a strength.
» Planning/Organizing. Ultra important. Means you can design, plan, organize and coordinate projects with deadlines. It also means you know how to set goals and achieve them. Play up the importance of your planning and organizational skills and detail orientation.

» Problem-Solving/Reasoning/Creativity. The ability to find solutions to problems using your creativity, reasoning and past experiences along with the available information and resources. State that you are a problem-solver who can provide solutions and resolve issues.

» Teamwork. The aptitude to work with other professionally to achieve a common goal. Make a point to illustrate you can build trust with colleagues and customers.

Wondering where you stand on some of the most sought-after soft skills? Take the Employability Skills Assessment  prepared by Dr. Randall S. Hansen.

Next week, I’ll take a look at the “values” employers want in their employees.

John Daly is the founder and president of The Key Class, the go-to guide for job search success. Click here to learn more about The Key Class or get information on Thursday night classes in Santa Barbara. Connect with The Key Class on Facebook. Follow John Daly on Twitter: @johndalyjrClick here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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