With unemployment rates depressingly high even for college graduates, what can a student or job seeker do to stand out?
Thankfully, even while the job market is filled with people looking for good opportunities, many employers are actually having trouble finding people they want to hire.
While college degrees certainly establish a basic level of knowledge and diligence, many employers are looking for something more in potential employees.
Here are five character traits employers want to see in their new hires:
#1 Be The CEO (Initiative)
While good employees accomplish the tasks set before them and meet all the deadlines, great employees go the extra mile by looking for ways to improve the company and help their manager.
One company I’ve worked for used to call this “being the CEO of what you do”. While everyone knows CEOs must constantly look for ways to build their companies, many people don’t realize that companies are looking for employees who focus similarly on improving their own small piece of the company.
While it may seem obvious, many new professionals (and even some with experience) frustrate their employers and even lose job opportunities for lack of dependability. All employers want to hire employees who will reliably be at work every day and who will give the job their best effort. If your car breaks down or you get sick occasionally, most employers will understand, but if you simply sleep in once a week or randomly decide to go on a vacation tomorrow, your manager will soon want to hire a different person. Great employees focus on making their manager’s lives easier, showing up reliably is crucially important to that focus.
Employers don’t want people who are just punching the clock. Instead, they want people who are either passionate about the company’s mission or the specific job responsibilities.Achieving this match of company and employee interests not only makes employers happy, but it will actually make you happier as well. If you are looking for a job, research the current openings try sending targeted resumes to specific companies that you could be passionate about working for. If you already are working at a company, look for parts of the company or your job that make you excited or consider looking for more fulfilling work.
Just like with any relationship, employers want to be around people who are friendly and upbeat. Even when your job is challenging or a deadline is looming, look for little ways to spread cheer. Even something as simple and fast as a smile can go a long way to improving your coworkers’ days… and your own, too.
The only thing more frustrating to an employer than a missed deadline is an unexpected missed deadline. Great employees work to plan ahead and keep their managers up-to-date on new developments and looming problems. When deadlines are being set, be careful to always “under promise and over deliver”. Definitely clichéd, that trite phrase nevertheless communicates one of the most important keys to success in the business world. If you promise the Sears Tower and deliver an ordinary skyscraper, your manager will disappointed. If you promise a couple story building and deliver a full skyscraper, your manager will be understandably. When setting deadlines and expectations, just remember that your final results will be measured against your original promise.
#6 Common Sense
Common sense is actually a misnomer. Very few people today possess “common” sense, and those who do are significant prizes to their employers. Great employees constantly look for ways to improve their logic and expand their knowledge both in and out of their specific field of expertise. When your manager comes to you with a difficult problem, this practiced knowledge will help you to solve it quickly and effectively.