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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. Do you know what your employer expects of you?

    October 28, 2014 by Jenna

    Your role has been assigned and management has worked with you to outline your job description and your daily tasks. Now that the reigns have been passed to you, what are the key personal characteristics your manager is looking for?

    I found five characteristics that I have elaborated on that I believe you can apply regardless of what role you are currently in:

    Positive Attitude

    Your attitude will not only affect your relationship with your manager, but it affects your entire work environment (your colleagues, clients, suppliers etc.).

    Employers are looking for someone who looks forward to coming in to work each day. Someone who willingly takes on new challenges and finds ways to accomplish even the most tedious of tasks without complaint.

    We have all been there and know what it is like to be in an environment with someone who is not flexible or enthusiastic about the task at hand. Someone who complains to get out of an assignment or has nothing positive or encouraging to contribute to the group.

    How can you expect managers to trust you will do well in a higher level role if you are not making your current position appear positive? If you are feeling in a motivational slump, try to find ways to clear that negativity so that your thoughts and behaviour create a more favourable lasting impression.


    Being dependable means you follow through on tasks you have committed to. Whether it is a task set by management or a team assignment, your contribution to the task contributes to the overall success of others (and the company), not just yourself.

    Dependability means holding yourself accountable to meet deadlines. It also means knowing when to speak up if you are struggling so that items do not fall behind. To consistently be dependable you need to be well organised and disciplined.

    Continual Learning

    Brushing up on your skills or learning new skills allows you to contribute more to your organisation. You can help the company develop by taking on training in your current position. This helps you become more indispensable in the workplace.

    Continual learning doesn’t mean you need to study on the side part time while trying to balance a full time role. Asking questions, taking advantage of training programs at work, and reading books all count as learning opportunities. You will be seen as showing more initiative in your personal progression.

    Another important note is to accept feedback when it is provided and apply it.


    While you may be comfortable with your daily routine, when is the last time you thought outside the box, or even stepped outside of your comfort zone? Have you tried contributing new ideas lately? Or even volunteered to take on a challenge that no one else in your team has put their hand up for?

    This will give your employer a chance to see you in a new light. To show a side of yourself that you may not have had the chance to show before. You won’t be successful every time but it’s a good way to establish where your strengths are and learn from your experiences.


    Almost every job will comprise of an element of teamwork and being able to co-exist with others to collectively achieve goals. Each team member will have strengths and skills that they contribute to the team. Working in harmony will make it much easier to reach success.

    Not only will getting along with team members make your environment more enjoyable, they can encourage you and motivate you to achieve your best and vice versa.

    Managers need to know that they can rely on their team to perform and it won’t help if you are the missing link.

    Don’t be afraid to contribute ideas and show how your skills can help the overall outcome of a group assignment.

    Do you follow any of these traits? What do you think your employer expects from you the most? How do you meet those expectations?

  3. 3 LinkedIn Leg-Ups for Job-Seekers – By Susan Kealy

    February 18, 2013 by Jenna

    Last week, a friend of mine who recently started online dating, recruited in some assistance to help her find her perfect match amongst a mountain of online profiles. In the name of duty, I agreed to sacrifice a night of redecorating my lounge room to join a few girlfriends with a few bottles of wine to decide on our friend’s destiny (yes fellas, this does happen).

    After diligently assessing and critiquing what was on offer, I think that we all agreed the main take-out of the night was this; there are some truly god-awful profiles out there. This is not meant to have a go at people for putting themselves out there – I have a lot of respect for online daters – it’s just that getting the balance right when describing yourself in your online profile is not easy.

    On the one side you want someone to know your good qualities, but blatant self-promotion can make you seem arrogant, and though you may want someone to know that you’re clever and professional, formal and ceremonious language can make you sound like a stiff. And don’t get me started with the half-naked pics. Tricky business this…

    This got me thinking about how jobseekers promote themselves online and in particular on LinkedIn. Because of the dearth of research on Linkedin for jobseekers, I have been self-tasked with uncovering some basic truths.

    There’s no question that what is revered by one employer or recruiter may disgust another, and that what people find appealing will vary by geography, demography, industry and personality. One important question is: can you play it safe when writing a professional LinkedIn profile, but still stand out and make a lasting impression?

    Getting your strengths and skills across, without making people want to vomit, slap you or even worse, discontinue reading your profile, can be a delicate balancing act. I’d like to share with you a few theories from psychology that may help you overcome some of the most violent emotional reactions that profiles can induce.

    1. Narcissism and The Hubris Hypothesis: Most people have a natural aversion to those who appear to think themselves superior to others (the hubris hypothesis), or appear narcissistic in character. You know that member of your extended group with the inflated sense of self-importance and the unyielding devotion to making sure you know how great they are. But in business, everyone will tell you that self-promotion is both necessary and desirable, as potential employers need to know why they should hire you. So what to do? The good news is that studies on the hubris hypothesis have shown that you’re much more likely to get away with self-promotion if you don’t compare yourself to others, and focus strictly on your own accomplishments. Meanwhile, third party validation, such as recommendations can help to verify your claims.
    2. Similarity-Attraction Theory: The more similar our attitudes and beliefs are to those of others, the more likely it is for them to be attracted to us – true of both the business and the dating world. This means that if you’re ideal job is with Gamblers Anonymous, don’t advertise last week’s winnings at the race track in the achievements or awards section of your profile (maybe don’t do this anyway). So, as with almost everything that we preach at Challenge Consulting, the key is relevance – start thinking “what is most important to my ideal employer, and how can I relate to that?” In other words, your LinkedIn profile can serve as a mechanism to demonstrate that you have what is valued and shared by your ideal employer, and an opportunity to emphasise particularly important characteristics such as skills, experience, attitude and personality
    3. CheeseMongering: Here I’m referring to ‘quirks’ and ‘playful whimsicalities’ such as titles that read ‘Captain of In-Between Opportunities’ and photos featuring middle-aged men dressed in full renaissance garbs. Although this may not be a strictly scientific term, or for that matter, a strictly scientific concept, I nonetheless feel it’s an important point to raise. I will concede that our counterparts in the U.S.A may have a slightly higher lactose tolerance than the Aussies, and in fact, I blame a number of U.S ’how-to’ references for even having to mention this one, but basically unless you have good reason for doing this, leave it out!

    Used properly, LinkedIn can open up opportunities for jobseekers in a way that has never before been possible. The power of connections that have been built over a career, and even over a lifetime, can now be harnessed more effectively, because important networks are transparent – we now know who knows who. Just as the dating game has moved its board online, more and more companies and recruiters are tapping into the connections found on LinkedIn to find their perfect match.

    The harsh truth is that a bad profile can actually do you more damage than good.  LinkedIn is a powerful minefield that can either blast you into your next opportunity, or explode in your face, depending on how you manage your information, your strategy, and your manners.

    To help you overcome your fear of the faux pas, and to show you how to navigate the social-media battlefield, Challenge Consulting is facilitating a two-hour introductory LinkedIn for Jobseekers workshop for only $90 + GST. For more information click here or contact Susan Kealy on 02 9221 6422 or [email protected]

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