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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. Resilience without discipline or perseverance achieves nothing

    October 29, 2013 by Jenna

    Anyone can say that they are flexible and adaptable when it comes to change, but when push comes to shove is it really true? When the going gets tough, do you hold yourself accountable and push forward?

    I follow a lot of people that I consider to be ‘inspirational’. I find that the quotes they post, the experiences and blogs that they share and what they have achieved continue to guide me in the direction of the goals that I would like to achieve.

    But it is not as simple as setting out the path and walking in that direction – there will be storms, there will be obstacles and there will be setbacks. And that is why when I reflect on the stories of those that have achieved great things; I am most inspired by the times when they faced trials, and what they had to do to overcome these.

    Anything that you are passionate about takes work, it’s inevitable, and that is what makes the experience worth it when you get to the finish line.

    This year alone has been an incredible journey for me personally. Just after new year’s day I was standing at the base of Mount Everest looking upon where some many other climbers and explorers have traveled before me and in August I encountered war history walking along the Kokoda Trail where many Australians fought and lost their lives. These were not only physical challenges but emotional, with experiences I have taken back with me that I will never forget.

    While this was all planned way in advance and I was as thorough as I could possibly be with my planning, this did not mean that I wasn’t going to face challenges along the way. I also had to discipline myself in the following areas:

    Financially – Preparing for vaccinations, travel insurance, flights, meals, guides, porter fees, emergency spending money, gear lists, training fees etc. I had to budget and arrange payment plans well in advance to make this work.

    Physically – Taking extra time out of my ‘personal time’ (mornings and evenings) to physically prepare myself for the journey. I had joined an altitude training gym, bushwalking groups and  regular gym appointments to make this happen, and sometimes the appointment locations were at least an hour away from where I lived. I also had to discipline myself to not turn down appointments for social plans or compromise my training goals or else I would have struggled when it came to doing these treks.

    Emotionally – Often the mind will not agree with what is beneficial for the body to prepare for these kinds of goals. Yes my body and mind were tired, yes I could create many convincing excuses as to why I shouldn’t do something, yes I could convince myself to eat that pepperoni pizza instead of salads or healthy foods. This was probably the biggest battle of all when it comes to changing your lifestyle for a goal is wanting to resort back to creature comforts!

    Time – Sometimes it is hard enough planning what you are going to achieve in a week let alone six months ahead or more! I had to diarise my time like you wouldn’t believe, and it made it so much easier to balance my work and personal life around this schedule leading up to my goals and also reminding myself of what was to come as there are often distractions or unpredictable situations that can temporarily take you off course.

    You are probably reading this and thinking, ‘How did she stay with it? How could she have not made mistakes or broken her routine along the way?’ Of course I made mistakes! I am human after all. I would sleep in, eat that pizza and even whine or cry my way out of doing something because I was frustrated and tired. The point of discipline however, was that it made me more aware of what I was doing and if I slipped up I would have to make up for it, plain and simple.

    But it took me practice to gain the right mindset in order to persevere with my goals. What I mean by that is, the natural response your mind will often have when you choose to follow those creature comforts instead of following your set out plan is to condemn yourself. That negativity then expands into feelings of doubt and your mind starts thinking, ‘What are you doing? If you screw up here how will you get to where you need to go? Give up now, there is no use…’ and so on. I become frustrated when I hear this being expressed from people that I care about because I know this mindset can be a hard one to shake, especially if you repeat it enough that you have convinced yourself that this negativity is true.

    You will regret more however by not seeing what you are truly capable of. You will start seeing results once you start changing and adapting yourself to achieve goals, otherwise if you were to quit and never look back you will never know what could have been.

    I recently looked up the definition of resilience: ‘the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched…’ Now isn’t that a great description of what change can do to us? It will place us outside of our comfort zone and put us in uncomfortable situations to the point where we sometimes think we can’t take it. But you will find more often than not that you can take it (with ups and downs along the way!), and you will know that you have grown once you have seen what you are capable of. I know I have.

    When have you experienced resilience in times of change? What methods did you follow to discipline yourself and to persevere to get ahead?




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