What Employers Want: Skills and Attitudes


New Expectations About the Work World:

  • Love your career, which means you have to know who you are.
  • Continue to learn new technology.
  • Seek exposure to international business issues affecting your industry.
  • Actively manage your career.
  • Be really outstanding at what you’re doing right here, right now.

    You need to recognize and respond to change in your job, company, or industry when it happens in order to stay
    competitive and employable.

    William Bridges says that the new way of working involves:
  • Project-Based Activities
  • Rapid Change
  • Flexibility and ability to start and stop things effectively

    The specific technical skills and degrees employers look for will shift over time.

    Constant Expectations Employers Have About the People They Hire:

       A. Attitudes (learned, shape your interactions with the world and with other  people, affect your behaviors, are reflected in how you act at work and towards other people. A positive attitude shows in your behavior at work).
       B. Skills
       C. Work Readiness

    If you really enjoy your job, everyone around you can tell. You’re upbeat and confident about your job. You show up to work on time, even early. You put in extra effort to get the job done right.

    A. Desired Attitudes:
  • Initiative to work independently
  • Flexibility to deal with problems and changes that arise
  • Responsibility to take ownership in your work

    Match the career to you.  You're more likely to find work that makes you happy. And being happy means having a positive attitude.

    B. Skills Employers Expect You to Bring to the Workplace
    There are many transferable skills employers demand regardless of industry, or job. A transferable skill is acquired in one situation, and can be applied to another. For example: effective telephone communication, ability to explain complex ideas, and patience and understanding to handle difficult customers.

    What Employers Really Want:
      1. A solid education.
      2. Basic communication skills.
      3. Self-management skills (come in the morning, get started, know what you have to do, go and attack it, and you don’t have to have someone bring you along every step and check you to make sure you’re doing it.)

          o Time Management
          o Being able to lay out a project for yourself and keep yourself on track
          o Knowing how your part of the thing fits in the whole

    6 Main Categories of Desired Skills

         1. Learning to Learn – Know when and how you best learn new skills. You will be expected to continuously learn to keep your skills updated. We all have different learning styles. You’ll want to be familiar with your own.

         2. Competence – Reading, writing, and math. Higher level reasoning skills. Clear, concise, easy to understand writing skills.

         3. Communication – Verbal and listening skills. Teams are most effective when employees clearly share information and ideas. Communicate your ideas quickly and efficiently.

         4. Adaptability – Creative thinking and problem-solving skills. Employers rely on employees to make decisions. They expect to hire workers who can analyze problems and find innovative solutions.

         5. Influence – Understanding the organization’s structure and knowing the internal dynamics. You should understand what makes organizations work. You’ll also be expected to understand skills for successful leadership. These skills will be important in team settings where leadership may rotate.

         6. Group Effectiveness – Interpersonal and team skills. Employers expect that you can work effectively in a group, and understand how your individual behavior impacts others. You should have skills to negotiate, resolve conflict, and build positive working relationships with others in a group setting. Group effectiveness includes the ability to work comfortably in a multicultural environment with co-workers from different backgrounds.

    Hot Tip: Getting along with your co-workers. It’s how you handle conflicts and critics that counts. Employers want employees that get along with others. In fact, being able to work well with others is one of the traits employers value the most. ASSIGNMENT: Pick one person (co-worker, friend, neighbor, anyone who challenges your interpersonal skills, anyone who gets under your skin). Really think hard about this person, and identify at least one thing you like about them---Something they’re really good at, some help they’ve given you, a contribution they’ve made. Write it down. Tell them. Be simple and direct. Make it genuine. There’s nothing that melts the ice like a couple of genuine compliments. You’ll feel better about that person and they’ll react better to you.

    Your Most Important Skills:

    What do you do in your work or school every day? Ask a friend or career counselor to read your list and help you identify your transferable skills. Knowing your transferable skills means being ready for more work opportunities.

    C. Work Readiness – Anything that affects your ability to go to work and do your job. For example, transportation, child care, wardrobe. You can be counted on, you are reliable, you will be there, you will do what you say you’re going to do, you will get to work on time, and you will get the job done.