What do companies look for in new employees? It might not be what you think. While technical ability is certainly essential for landing a skilled job, the skills employers really want aren’t ones that are readily taught.
Employers across the country are lamenting what’s come to be known as the “soft skills gap.” Hiring managers find that workers who are qualified on paper don’t pan out due to shortcomings in communication skills, self-discipline, and other traits that make a person a dependable employee. But while these soft skills aren’t always taught in a classroom, they are abilities that job seekers can improve with effort and dedication.
Here are five skills you should have to be truly job-ready:
1. Reading and Writing
There’s a big difference between knowing how to read and write and possessing high-level reading and writing skills. If you think the presence of “communication skills” in a list of job requirements seems obvious, you may be missing the mark. While everyone is expected to be able to communicate effectively with coworkers and managers, it’s the ability to compose and interpret business correspondence, reports, and proposals that companies are looking for.
When it comes to making a good impression on bosses and clients, looking the part is half the battle. If an employee is disheveled, dressed inappropriately, or has a noticeable hygiene problem, it gives the impression that he’s equally careless with his work. Since dress code varies widely across offices and industries, workers must understand how to assess their office’s dress code and adapt accordingly. When in doubt, you should always err on the side of a more conservative presentation.
3. Problem Solving
Managers don’t want to supervise an employee who comes looking for help every time he meets an obstacle. Rather, they value workers who take the initiative to solve problems on their own — and when they do ask for help, they don’t only present the problem, they offer potential solutions along with it. Learn how to become a proactive problem solver (these tips from IQ Matrix will help you out) and you’ll be an invaluable employee in any business.
4. Stress Management
Employees who can’t manage their stress create tension in the workplace and suffer from burnout at a higher rate than workers who maintain a positive outlook. While learning how to handle stress and anxiety can be difficult, it’s imperative for your well-being. Employees must find ways to cope with stress in a healthy manner so it doesn’t impact their job performance and lead to an addiction.
5. Work Ethic
Employers across the board cite challenges with workers’ timeliness, attendance, accountability, and attitude, but at the core of these issues is a single problem: work ethic. Unfortunately, job seekers can’t exactly prove they have a good work ethic before they get the job. For that
reason, it’s important to give your best at every job, even when it’s not an ideal position. Having
a good work ethic can lead to advancement and in a worse-case scenario, can lead to a positive review when called upon for a reference for future employment opportunities. If you’re not sure how to demonstrate a strong work ethic on the job, this advice from Cleverism will point you in the right direction.
If you check all of these boxes — congrats! You’re ready to start applying for the job you want. As you complete your resume and attend interviews, find ways to demonstrate these skills to potential employers. It’s not enough to simply state that you’re a hard worker and a great problem solver; only by proving it can you convince employers that you’re a dynamic, valuable employee worth hiring.