April 5, 2013
What employers want from job seekers
The competition is fierce in today’s job market, and standing out in the crowd is more important -- and challenging -- than ever before.
How do you know you’re giving employers exactly what they are looking for? Here are some human resources hot buttons.
Today’s employers are less concerned with your past experience and responsibilities. Instead, they want to know what you’ve actually accomplished. Use plenty of words in your resume and interview that end in the letter “d” -- “developed,” “initiated,” “led,” “increased.”
Figures and numbers
Potential employers don’t want vague assertions. Be prepared when you speak with them to deliver concrete numbers, figures and statistics. Did you decrease ad spending in your last position? Increase revenue? Have percentages and dollar amounts at hand.
Awards and accolades
This holds true whether you are an entry-level employee or a high-level executive with tons of experience. If you’ve won awards or been recognized for excellence,make sure potential employers are aware. Awards and accolades show you strive for — and ultimately achieve — success, as well as stand out among your peers.
Blog or website
A blog or website can position you as an expert in your field, showcase accomplishments and highlight good communication skills. Just be sure that your blog or site is professional, and don’t write about anything you wouldn’t want potential employers to know.
Those in HR like to see a trend in which an employee stays at companies for several years, with promotions and upward movement, before moving on. They are wary of a pattern that shows several jobs in which you lasted less than two years.
Have you kept up with certifications? Can you demonstrate that you’ve kept up with your field or industry’s technology?
Ideas and initiative
Organizations that are willing to spend extensive time and money hand-holding new employees are few and far between. Instead, most companies expect new employees to hit the ground running. If you can offer solutions and ideas to solve current problems the company is experiencing, interest in you will skyrocket.
HR departments are attracted to people who are enthusiastic, flexible and positive.
Avoid criticizing past or current employers or co-workers. Instead, focus on what you liked about past employers and co-workers, and what you learned from them.
These skills are not reserved for those in management positions only. New and lower-level employees can demonstrate leadership skills by showing how they’ve improved a process or product, contributed ideas or come up with solutions to problems.
HR departments like to see candidates who routinely go beyond their job descriptions.
Highlight situations in which you went outside your comfort zone, and you’ll be seen as someone who is willing to go above and beyond to attain success.
The ability to creatively solve problems is a valued skill that many HR departments look for, especially when slashed budgets and a reduced workforce make meeting goals even more challenging. If you have a track record of solving a wide variety of problems using creative solutions, make the potential employer aware of it.
Yes, employers want to know that you have a life outside of work. Are you a competitive sailor who has traveled the world vying for titles? A former kickboxing champion? A watercolor artist? Who wouldn’t want to meet you and get to know you better?
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