Improve The Skill Sets that Employers Are Looking For

Improving the Skill Sets that Employers are looking for in New Hires

If you have been searching for a job but just aren’t getting noticed, it might not be your resume. While hard skill sets that are important to you chosen field are important, more employers are focusing on soft skills for new hires. Instead of trying to beef up your resume with technological and other relevant skills, it might be time to take a hard look at your personality traits to increase your chances of landing a job.

What Are Soft Skills?

Soft skills are often called people skills, and they are the skills that help you interact with others in the best ways possible. These skills are personality-based, and their importance crosses careers and industries. The ability to interact well with others by having a positive attitude, integrity, leadership, and great communication skills are highly sought after in today’s job market, and in many cases, they can outweigh the technical skills you may have. If you have a great resume, yet seem to keep getting skipped over after the interview process, it is time to take a hard look at your soft skills so that you can improve your employ-ability.

Survey Says: Soft Skills are Just as Important as Technical Skills

A recent survey conducted by Harris Poll uncovered the truth behind the skills that employers are looking for in a new hire, and the results just might surprise you. The top skills that employers are looking for have nothing to do with job-related skills, and everything to do with your personality. According to the survey, employers are looking for candidates that:

  • Have a strong work ethic
  • Are dependable
  • Have a positive, can-do attitude
  • Are self-motivators
  • Are team players

These are all traits that most of us are aware of, but landing the job requires much more than simply listing them on your resume. Employers are looking for proof, and the only way to provide it is to let them shine during your interview. If you have great communication skills, you should have no problem providing a potential employer with examples of how you have used your soft skills in the past. However, if you have no examples, or you are already aware of the areas in which you are lacking, there are ways to improve them.

Improving Soft Skills

Just as all those hard skills required hard work, soft skills require the same. Take the time to consider your soft skills that need improvement, and then plan how you will do so. The best way to improve these skills is to look for classes, programs, and courses that focus on improving these skills. There are both free and paid soft skill courses available online that can help you improve soft skills, and many provide you with certification upon completion.

Once you have earned soft skill certifications, make sure to include them on your resume. This will show potential employers that you are serious about improving in the areas that make you a great employee and a team player.

The benefits of becoming a temp worker

Why Temping Trumps the Full-time Job Search

In between jobs? Moving to a new city without a safety net? Temp agency work can be a great way to meet living expenses. But there are other benefits that former temp workers often cite about their temp work experience.

Here are several:

Foot in the door. Many companies who contract with temp agencies become interested in temps and offer them permanent positions. This is called temp-to-hire, and is a common practice. If you land temp work that’s a win-win situation for you and the company, well congratulations on your new job.

Freedom. Want to move to Los Angeles or New York City? Or Grand Rapids or Lexington? You’re in for an adventure, but it can be extra challenging to land a job in your new destination because you don’t live there yet—but how can you move there without a job? It’s actually not a Catch-22 when you work with a temp agency because you can earn a paycheck while you settle in and look for permanent work in your new market.

The nature of temp work also allows you to take the time off that you need for job hunting, job interviews, completing a freelance project, helping a friend move, or finishing a loan application for a new business. Flexibility is freedom, too.

Resume building. Temp work potentially opens future opportunities for your career. Let’s say you were an admin in a medical office. Then you take a temporary two-month admin assignment at a well-known financial company. You’ve just extended your work experience to a new industry.

Or say your temp assignment is being a personal assistant at an executive headhunting firm. You’ve just extended your work experience to a new position while gaining potentially valuable understanding of a new industry, both of which makes you more marketable.

Networking. Working temp assignments places you in the position of meeting people at companies who can become great professional contacts for you—or friends. Same can be said for the fellow temps you work with. Bonds will form, respect will be earned, connections made.

In short: Temp work is not just a paycheck. It’s also often an adventure, a learning experience, and a helping hand to the next destination on your career path.

The Ultimate Day Job – Still Looking? Elite Staffing Blog

What’s Your Dream Job?

Your dream job. Do you know what it is?

For many of us, our dream job is elusive—an ever-evolving target, like the proverbial Jell-O that can’t be nailed to the wall.

For others it’s been long settled, and we might imagine that every professional move they make is a deliberate wrung-step on a ladder to this professional goal.

Sometimes, dreams are realized while moving up the ladder of a particular company:

Ursula Burns started as a summer intern at Xerox in 1980. Twenty-nine years later (which also included some lateral moves inside the company), she was named CEO.

Sometimes people simply love the industry they are in and bounce around comfortably, learning at every turn:

Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas took his first restaurant job at age 12. In 1950, during the onset of the Korean War, he volunteered for the Army before he was drafted so he could specifically ask to attend their cooking school at Fort Benning—he became a mess sergeant in charge of serving 2,000 troops every day. Later, he worked for Kentucky Fried Chicken, inventing the use of the KFC “bucket” for serving chicken. Then Thomas created his own dream job: starting Wendy’s, which he was the CEO of for 32 years.

We’ll assume that CEO was Burns and Thomas’ dream job. But of course not everyone wants to be a chief executive. Not everyone wants to be a doctor or a lawyer or an astronaut or the president, either.

Which begs the question: does your dream job exist? Is it an actual job title like “director of sales” or is it an occupation like “certified aircraft mechanic” or “certified public accountant” or attorney? Or could it be even more specific: a certain job at a specific company or institution you respect, say, “Chairman of Disney Parks & Resorts”? (Imagine being in charge of Disneyland!)

For many of us, the definition of a dream job is, say, simply one where we get to pay our bills by doing what we love most: make music for a living, work with horses for a living, build things for a living, write for a living, design things for a living, be outside for a living, help people less-fortunate for a living…

The dream job is something the majority of us are still working to find. According to a 2013 Gallup poll, 70% of Americans don’t like their current jobs.

But wait! That suggests that 30 percent of us have figured it out or are satisfied that we’re on the right track.

If you an ultimate professional goal yet, no need to get down on yourself—the realization of what Burns and Thomas really, really wanted to do professionally with the rest of their lives might not have hit them right away.

More real-world experience—maybe even the next book you read or job you take—will help you realize where your passions, skills and spirit perfectly meet the world of work and commerce.

Thirty percent of Americans have found their home in the world of work. For many of them, we’re sure, it was a process, too.

Best of luck!

Making Your Resume Stand Out

So many job hunters cross the final “T” on their resumes, breathe a massive sigh of relief and then regard it as a piece of art chiseled in marble—not to be touched until the next job needs to be added to it.

Resumes, however, should be treated less like museum pieces and more like “living documents.” The single most important tactic for making your resume stand out from the slush pile on the hiring manager’s desk is:

Customize them. Like cover letters, resumes need to be specifically targeted to the opening.

Most of us have a range of work experience, with some jobs more pertinent to an opening, some less. If you tweak, tailor and recast your resume to stress relevant experience, you will more likely stand out because inboxes at companies are filled with cookie-cutter resumes, and hiring managers quickly notice giveaways or “tells” that indicate that a resume is one-size-fits-all.

For example, does a warehouse manager want to hire a forklift operator with inventory experience who’s looking for a good warehouse job, or does he want to hire someone working on their real estate license at night who operated a hi-lo once when they worked a summer job at a box store? That’s the difference between a chiseled-in-stone resume and a “living document.”

A lot of us look at job openings and think to ourselves, “I could do that.” Customizing your resume puts your best foot forward, and almost automatically gets you past the first cut.

Other advice:

  • Bullet points make your resume more scannable. But give them consistent styling, either with full sentences that include periods as end punctuation (like these bullets) or shorter lines that do not have any end punctuation. Be consistent throughout the resume.
  • Start with the latest, greatest information (e.g.,) your completed training, professional accomplishments or recognition you’ve received, and the full range of tasks you have done in the course of your work life. Update regularly, before you forget.
  • Write to your accomplishments, not just your day-to-day tasks. Whenever it’s plausible to tie your performance to financial gain for your current or past employers, do so. Companies want to hire people who can make a difference for their bottom lines.
  • Edit the resume with empathy for the addressee. What are they looking for? What would give them confidence in you as a candidate?
  • Proofread it again. Because it’s easy to insert typos or other errors during the editing process, ask a friend or relative to review it, or at least give yourself a day away from it so you can look at it again with fresh eyes to catch mistakes in facts, grammar, formatting, spelling of proper nouns, etc.

We live in a specialized world. A good cover letter and a customized, mistake-free resume will separate you from the crowd as a serious candidate and give you the best chance at getting an interview.

This approach is more labor intensive. It might mean you apply for fewer jobs in the same period of time. But it will give you a better chance at the ones you’re most excited about.

Of course, if you can still play the numbers game—it just means more effort on your part to have the same number of irons in the fire.

Good luck!