In today’s competitive job market it can be hard to even get to the interview stage, so it is important to have a good understanding of what employers are looking for in an interview candidate and eventually an employee.
Many applicants actually have the skills needed for an employer to interview them, but fail to match them to the organisation to which they are applying.
If a company is looking for someone with good communication skills, it is important to not just say you have them, but to outline how your communication skills would specifically benefit them.
Not only will it show you have thought about how you would fit in the company, it also demonstrates you have spent time on the application and you are not just sending out a generic round robin.
You should always be sure to research the company thoroughly and prepare related questions for your interview. Employers will expect you to have read their websites thoroughly, understand their market(s) and competition. If you haven’t done the above, don’t expect to be called back.
One of the most desirable qualities a potential employee can have is the ability to do well at the job advertised with the least amount of financial and temporal expenditure.
Having related work experience can be a great way to demonstrate that, should you get the job, you could hit the ground running.
According to one study, most graduate employers say it is highly unlikely they would employ a graduate without any work experience.
Depending on the sector you wish to enter this doesn’t even need to be work experience in the traditional sense.
For example if you wished to enter a business role you could give an example of something you learned from setting up your own enterprise, or for a digital marketing role you could discuss a key trend you had to take notice of in relation to your own social media accounts.
However, if you did intern with a company try and get a written recommendation of how you performed and the tasks you performed to show to those interviewing you.
Most job roles today will require a qualification of some sort whether this is a professional or vocational qualification and / or an undergraduate or postgraduate degree.
Qualifications demonstrate to employers that you have the drive and dedication to apply yourself to something and thrive at it.
They also tell employers you have the desired skill sets and knowledge.
If you are looking for a role an entry level role in an area like marketing, accounting and finance then professional qualifications are looked favourably on.
If you want to enter at a more senior level you may need a postgraduate qualification like an MBA or master’s degree.
No matter what level, it is important to be able to outline how you will be able to apply the theory of your qualification to the practicalities of working life.
Of course qualifications do more than help you get an interview, they also help you command a greater salary once you get to negotiating a pay packet.
The skills an employer looks for will obviously depend on the sector you wish to work in and the seniority of the job you are applying for.
But, as a rule there are a selection of generic skills that all employees will look for including communication, teamwork, time management, problem solving, delegation and flexibility.
It is also important to recognise that different skills have different meanings and importance to different industries.
For example if you are looking for a marketing role, communication skills have a technical implication and you will need to be able to demonstrate a working knowledge of marketing communication avenues. If you are looking for a job in HR, then these communication skills could be needed for a role that involves anything from hiring to firing and will need to be much more personable.
Therefore, as mentioned above, it is important to demonstrate to employers how your particular skill set will benefit their particular organisation and the job role.
For many employers meeting a candidate who appears a ‘good fit’ can be the difference between hiring and not.
A candidate could have all the right skills and experience but if they are going to disrupt the workplace they are not worth employing.
Alternatively, a candidate might not have quite the right skill set but be engaging, enthusiastic and show tonnes of promise making them a likely hire.
This is why it is important to do your research before you apply to a company as it is important your ethos aligns with the company you work for.
If a website boasts lots of social activities you will need to think about whether this is something you want. If it is, then a workplace with a limited social scene will not be a good fit for you.
A candidate who can convey integrity and honesty will also be looked upon favourably. This can be achieved by not exaggerating any past achievements on your CV and outlining your strengths and weaknesses in a genuine manner.
You can also help this by not saying complicated words and key phrases related to the sector you wish to work in that you can’t define or back up.
You will end up looking a bit silly and disingenuous, as Einstein said: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” It is also important to appear positive, and confident and dependable.