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  1. LinkedIn Study Reveals the Skills Employers (Really) Want

    April 7, 2015 by Jenna

    What do you tell an employer when they ask you what your strengths are? Do you provide them with leadership examples from previous roles, outline key skills or educational achievements that could be valuable for the role? Do you know what skills the employer is looking for to fulfill the role?

    A recent study by LinkedIn reveals that when it comes to interviewing and hiring early-career professionals, employers aren’t just considering education, experience and job skills. They are also looking for specific soft skills and personality traits — and how these characteristics rank may surprise you.

    LinkedIn defines early-career professionals as those with zero to three years’ experience. Understanding these skill sets will give you a better indication of how you can be considered in today’s job market.

    Specific skills
    The two most important skills employers look for are problem-solving skills (65 percent) — defined as the ability to see and create solutions when faced with challenges — and being a good learner (64 percent) by learning new concepts quickly and being adaptable in new situations.

    Employers also look for candidates who have strong analytical skills: 46 percent of the employers surveyed said early-career hires need to be able to use logical reasoning.

    Communication skills are essential. The ability to clearly communicate ideas while speaking plays a much more important role than doing so in writing, however. The study revealed that 45 percent of employers want to hire people with strong oral communication skills, whereas only 22 percent consider strong written communication skills to be crucial.

    Furthermore, creativity, the ability to think outside the box (21 percent), and being tech-savvy (16 percent) are also pluses for employers.

    Personality traits
    The most important personality trait employers look for in early-career professionals is the ability to collaborate. Fifty-five percent of employers put a premium on the ability to work well with others. A close runner-up was the ability to work hard, with 52 percent of employers preferring candidates who have strong work ethics and go above and beyond.

    Having a positive attitude also goes a long way for 45 percent of employers, while 31 percent said being passionate by demonstrating enthusiasm for their work and the business’s values is also important.

    Additionally, employers look for candidates who are organised (twenty nine percent) and resilient (twenty one percent).

    Role-based skills
    The types of skills employers are looking for also depends highly on the position and industry they work in. LinkedIn’s study found that hiring managers look for these specific skill sets when interviewing and hiring for sales, marketing and consulting roles:

    For sales roles: Candidates should possess strong oral communication skills and a good attitude that shows optimism and maintains positive energy.
    For marketing/PR roles: Creativity, passion and strong written communication skills are key to a great hire.
    For consulting roles: Employers look for candidates with strong analytical and written communication skills.

    Hiring managers, do you agree with the above statistics? What other skills sets are important to you when it comes to the ideal employee for your office team?

  2. What does your resume say about you?

    July 29, 2013 by Jenna

    When it comes to your resume, what does it really say about you?

    Chances are if you have whipped together your resume in haste with no structure, not enough information or without your most up-to-date contact information, your application will go no further than a rejection email. The employer will review the resume and see your feeble attempt, and make the assumption that you don’t care about the role you are applying for.

    I remember when I was applying for jobs, before I began my role at Challenge, I was not getting as many calls as I would have liked. I asked a colleague for their feedback on my resume. And wow did my resume get dissected! Because I hadn’t kept my resume up-to-date, it now looked like a hodgepodge of information chucked together without any consistency. I made the recommended updates, and my goodness did it make a difference. It felt like a whole new me, a fresh start, which was perfect as I was changing my career path. So now even though I don’t plan on changing jobs anytime soon, I keep my resume up-to-date, to ensure I am ready to put my best foot forward and sell my skills.

    In my role at Challenge Consulting I see many, many people making the same simple careless resume mistakes that I did. I think these simple mistakes were based summarised in a recent post by Heather R. Huhman on Careeralism

    1. Forgetting to proofread – Typos, misspelled words, and bad grammar mistakes can make a hiring manager think you’re careless or won’t pay attention to details on the job. Don’t get overlooked for something that you could have changed in the first place by taking your time to proofread and carefully select the words that best describe you and your experience to date.

    2. Including too much information – Including too much information can make employers think you aren’t able to write clearly and concisely. The purpose of the resume is to share your skills and achievements that are relevant to the job you are applying for, you do not need to tell your whole life story. Include the essential information, for the most relevant positions, and keep it clear and succinct.

    3. Poorly organised – A busy, cluttered resume may make others think you are unorganised and scatterbrained on the job. Make sure your information flows – include a summary, your educational history (putting most recent education at the top of the list), your employment history in date order from most recent as well as any skills, hobbies and references at the end.

    4. Sending the same document for every job opening – This shows you aren’t great at adapting. Show the future employer you know what they need and you are the one who can help them fill that need. Tailor your resume to include the skills and attributes that are suitable to the role you are applying.

    5. Using an inappropriate name for your email – it is incredible how many people make this careless, rookie error. What may seem funny or harmless for your friends, how do you expect the employer to take you seriously for a role? I actually found it easier to manage a personal email and a corporate email address so that I could better manage responses that were related to employment opportunities.

    6. Including incorrect or false information – As stated before it can make the employer assume that you haven’t updated your resume information or even worse, they may assume that you are not being entirely honest.

    When was the last time you looked at your resume or had someone else give you the critique you need to stand out in the crowd? Take the chance today to look at your resume with fresh eyes, and ask – what does your resume say about you?

    Need more assistance with your resume? Did you know Challenge Consulting offers a CV Writing service – click here for more information.

    What have you done to your resume to promote your brand and help you get your foot in the door for an interview? Or have you been in a situation where you have been told to update your resume?

  3. Top 5 Interviewee Mistakes

    April 3, 2013 by Jenna

    Are you finding it difficult to get past the interview for the job of your dreams? Are you making the best first impression or have you turned an interviewer off? Remember, you have only one chance to make the best first impression, what are the Top 5 Interviewee mistakes and how can you overcome them?

    1. Body language & presentation.  How is your posture? Have you taken the gum out? Are you giving the interviewer eye contact? Are you warm, friendly and enthusiastic? Do you appear interested in what the interviewer is saying? Is your attire suitable for an interview – By this I mean is it more corporate friendly or something you would wear out to a party? You have one chance to make the best first impression, make sure your body language and presentation demonstrates your enthusiasm for the role.

    2. Not knowing enough about the company or job you are being interviewed for. Without preparation you can appear like a dear in the headlights. Review the company website and find out as much as you can before the interview. Be thorough enough to even ask a couple questions about the company and why you are interested in joining their team

    3. Not knowing what’s on your resume. Is your resume up-to-date and do you know the details on your resume – are you able to answer the questions about your resume? Can you explain gaps and achievements? Ensure that you know your skills and experience in detail so you can answer all questions required.

    4. Talking too much or not enough. Most people become nervous during interviews, sometimes nerves mean you talk too much or not enough. Learn what calms you, some people find practising interview questions, others find relaxation techniques such as deep breathing helps. Whatever works for you, don’t be afraid of short pauses, and remember an interview is just a conversation to learn about each other.

    5. Mobile phones. Keep them switched off or on silent if need be so that it does not interrupt the interview! And unless it is an emergency, do not answer the phone during an interview, ever. Completely basic, but you would be surprised by how many people make this simple interview faux pas.

    Now while these mistakes may appear like common sense, if you are applying for multiple positions it can sometimes slip our minds to avoid some of these simple mistakes that could ruin your first impression.

    What are the worst interview faux pas you have made or seen at an interview?


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