When you’re looking for a job, you long to make employers salivate over you. So what the hell do they want from you? Here are some qualities employers look for, besides of course specific job skills that will help them solve their problems:
- Good hygiene. That may seem like a no-brainer, and if it does then you probably don’t have anything to worry about. Unfortunately, there are some of you perched at a table at the corner Starbuck’s reading this post while your co-caffeinates are edging away from you in disgust at this very moment. If so, I can only hope someone somewhere will be bold enough to tell you who you are.
- Intelligence and ability to problem-solve. Needless to say, employers like to hire smart people who can figure out how to slay dragons without creating a mess. Unless the hiring manager himself is an idiot. If, however, he is a self-aware idiot, he will still want to hire people who are intelligent enough to offset his idiocy. If he’s not a self-aware idiot, though, you may be out of luck. But then, would you really want to work for an idiot anyway?
- Dependability. Employers want to know they can rely on you to show up and do a good job. Of course, stuff happens. But if you have a track record of not meeting expectations and/or causing your colleagues to wonder if you keeled over in your apartment the night before and are lying on the floor with a head injury, you’re not doing so well.
- Initiative and independence. Employers usually appreciate the ability to generate ideas and work on your own, without always having to be told what to do or having your boss’s hot breath on your neck (not particularly fun for you either, especially if she had garlic at lunch).
- Ability to be a team player. If you can work independently while simultaneously playing nice with the other kids, you’ve got it made.
- Ability to multi-task. Can you listen to your messages, compose an email, and compliment the co-worker standing behind you on his tie? If so, you probably have A.D.D., along with eyes in the back of your head. But you get the idea.
- Flexibility. No, you don’t have to be a contortionist who can wrap your legs around your neck, although that would interesting. Employers do value the ability and willingness to cheerily adapt to unanticipated situations and new challenges, though.
- Tech-savvy-ness. If you’ve never heard the term “social media” you’re in trouble. It would be kinda like not knowing how to use a phone at this point in our evolution. You want to keep yourself up-to-date not only on technology, but whatever other skills are particular to your field as well.
- Sense of humor and pleasantness to work with. Most people don’t want to work with dour assholes. Not much more to say about that.
- Giving a crap. Employers want to hire people who care about what they do and the quality of their work, care about the companies they work for, and care about their co-workers. Or at least are really really good at faking it.