Basics of Finding a Job

by Calyn Ehid

For many employers, an ideal candidate goes beyond experience and qualifications. Sure, education and experience get you a foot in the door but in today’s market, employers are more than ever paying attention to soft skills.

How well can you communicate with your peers, how do you react to high-stress and fast-paced environments, work adversity. Most jobs are willing to teach the right person job-specific knowledge and skills. These skills can be taught as long as the work ethic and a solid foundation exists.

Most of the “‘soft skills’ employers are looking for, start to develop early in life. Soft skills are not just crucial when being faced by external customers or clients. They are equally important when it comes to forming relationships with colleagues. Soft skills relate to how you work with others. Employers place a high value on soft skills because they enable people to thrive in teams and in organizations.

Top soft skills:

  • Time management
  • Self-motivated
  • Team-oriented
  • Organized
  • Work well under pressure
  • Innovation
  • Detail oriented
  • Driven

Hard Skills

Depending on the field of interest, hard skills will vary.  Hard skills show proficiency, experience, and mastery. Hard skills are taught. They are skills that are more often learned in school or through certifications. Hard skills are not only learned in school, this has come a common misconception. Hard skills can be learned on your own time if you are already working full-time or have a family to care for. While hard skills can be learned outside a classroom, they require commitment and dedication. Some hard skills are harder to master than other. For example, if you are hoping to find a job in the Accounting field, you might want to highly proficient in accounting programs like Quickbooks, cash flow management, risk analysis, or auditing. For someone interested in Marketing, they might want to learn SEO/SEM marketing, social media tools, marketing strategies, etc.

While hard skills with vary from profession to profession, here is a list of top skills we think everyone should know no matter career path:

  • Microsoft Office
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Foreign language
  • Mathematics
  • Planning Skills

Now that you know what companies are looking for. Besides working on perfecting your soft and hard skills, it’s important to pay attention to the other party. The company you are hoping to work for. Whether this is your dream company or just a company that is looking for a candidate with your qualifications – the amount of research should be the same. Take the time to learn about the company goals, policies, etc.

Preparing Your Resume

Building a resume can be an overwhelming task. However, the most important thing to remember about resumes and cover letters is that they should be slightly different for every job you apply to. You only have a few seconds to impress the person looking at your resume and cover letter. Hiring managers want to see what you can do for the company in the first moments they take a glimpse at your cover letter. A common mistake often found on resumes according to hiring managers is the amount of past experience displayed on a resume. Showing only  2 – 3 past jobs is completely acceptable as long as they are tightly relative to the job you are hoping to score. Leave your college serving job out if you can!