Seeking employment is a competition that puts you against everyone else who could be possibly looking for the same job. So ask yourself, why would they hire me over the next person and you can’t answer with because my grandma says I am a special (I’ve tried, it doesn’t help). There is no sure fire way to get any job. The only thing you can hope for is to know the technical skills required for the job you are seeking. If, like me, you are a CS major, you better know how to code and debug. However, unless you are some prodigy you are also going to need other skills to put your resume on the top of the hire pile. What are these magical skills that you so desperately need?
- Team Work
- Critical Thinking
- Time Management
- Self Motivation/Drive
These skills are called “soft skills” which means they have to do with who you are more than what you know. For example I know how to code but can I work with other people to create an app? Could I even communicate what my code does? In today’s extremely competitive market knowing is not enough. You must be able to work within a team, within a company to get hired.
Starting from the top, Communication. This is probably one of the most important skills you could ever possibly have. OK, maybe not the MOST important but it is essential. Being a smooth talker can get you far in the world and can help you land a job that you may not have all the qualifications for. As a manager when an angry customer complains about something it is my ability to communicate thoughtfully and sincerely that (hopefully) defuses the situation and lets the customer walk out satisfied. Think of it this way (for all the college students out there) did you learn more from the teachers that spoke well and fully articulated their subject OR from the teacher that could barely speak a sentence without getting lost?
When you work with a company you are working with a team. Whether that team is two people or a few hundred you are still part of something that is greater than you. Would you rather have a bunch of people who couldnt get along and work with eachother (take a look at Congress) or have a group who could get along and coperate? If you cant play nice then you need to learn how to fake it. Again that is unless you are some super talented god of whatever you want to do.
A important life skill in general( much like the rest but this one is sorely missing in society) you need to be able to think critically. That is you need to be able to see a problem and by using logic, deduction and along with a little research find a solution. When you get hired you are going to face many issues and it is going to be up to you to solve them youself. A company is going to want people who are able to think for themselves and not have to be hand fed.
Time Management is not something that I excell at. But it is a very important soft skill to have and one that employers are looking for. If they ( the employers) think it is going to take x amount of time to do anything and you are taking 2x to complete it then something is the matter. Either you dont have the required skills or you are spending too much time on the internet and not enough doing your project. Time Management is being able to see your tasks and plan them so that you can maximise your work with as little down time as possible.
Last but not least Self Motivation. A company is not going to want to higher someone who doesn’t do anything for themselves. When I am looking to hire someone or promote them I want someone who looks for task to do themselves and always stays ahead of what needs to be done. People who lag or people who I need to tell every five minutes to do something is not someone I am going to want to promote. On your resume you can easily show you are self motivated by putting down personal projects that you have completed and or attempted. If all you have ever done in programming is make a “hello world” program then you probably are not the motivated person that an employer is looking to hire.
There you have it, FIVE important skills you must(should) have to get hired in today’s job market. Of course this is by no means set in stone and not the only skills that you need to have but it is a good start. If anything I am a firm believer that these skills would at least make you a better person if you hold on to them and practice.
Casserly, M. (n.d.). The 10 Skills That Will Get You Hired In 2013. Retrieved November 15, 2014, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/meghancasserly/2012/12/10/the-10-skills-that-will-get-you-a-job-in-2013/
Hansen, R., & Hansen, K. (n.d.). Top Skills and Values Employers Seek from Job-Seekers. Retrieved November 16, 2014, from http://www.quintcareers.com/job_skills_values.html
Mason, B. (n.d.). Careers | Top 10 Soft Skills in Demand | LiveCareer. Retrieved November 18, 2014, from http://www.livecareer.com/career-tips/career-advice/soft-skills-in-demand#.VHtmJDHF-rh
What are the top ten skills that employers want? (n.d.). Retrieved November 20, 2014, from http://www.kent.ac.uk/careers/sk/top-ten-skills.htm