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First Job? Learn These Skills

Posted by Pittsburg-Camp County Chamber of Commerce

First Job? Learn These Skills Before You Interview

Getting a job requires so much more than classroom learning or even hands-on experience. There are multiple skills that can’t be learned through instruction alone that can define the path of your entire career. Read on for information on the top soft skills you should refine before dipping your toes into the employment pool.

Communication. Your communication skills go far beyond your ability to speak and listen. You communicate your interests and abilities in the way you walk, talk, and make eye contact. Your potential employers can read your body language, just as you can tell if a date is interested or not regardless of the words they use throughout your get-together.

Decision-making. Customer Service Magazine explains, “The ability to make a decision and stick to it is the cornerstone of good leadership skills.” Decisiveness is a trait that is both inherent and learned over time, with practice. A person who can make decisions with little or no guidance is perceived as a stronger candidate for positions across the spectrum of professional appointments.

Self-motivation. Simply searching for a job does not illustrate self-motivation, just the desire not to starve to death. If you want to truly stand out, show your potential employers that you are willing to go one step further than the competition. A self-motivated individual might, for instance, take the time to learn and understand the company’s core values instead of only knowing what the company does.

Personal presentation. Personal presentation goes a long way toward communicating your personality. Many young adults take a flippant attitude toward job interviews and will show up dressed as if for a Friday night outing with friends. Consider the way you dress prior to your first meeting with your potential employers. Make sure your clothes are clean and pressed, stand up straight, and offer a firm handshake. These small actions make a strong and positive first impression. Century21, one of the nation’s largest real estate firms, explains why personal presentation, including dress and body language, is vital to success on its corporate blog.

Problem-solving. Whether or not you have the ability to solve problems on your own is something that will be apparent to employers your first week on the job. And it could mean the difference between staying in a menial position and climbing the corporate ladder. The American Society for Quality asserts that there are four basic steps in problem-solving: defining the problem, generating an alternative solution, evaluating those alternatives, and implementing a solution. Many young adults new to the workforce believe that simply defining problems with the company’s processes is enough to help them stand out. Instead, this often comes across as complaining and offers no value to the company.

Time management. Time management does not necessarily mean getting things done faster than everyone else. Instead, it is the ability to apply your time to the best and most efficient use. Time management involves prioritization, self-awareness, focus, and planning among other things and is one of the most sought-after skills on the job market today. You can practice time management skills by evaluating your daily routine and problem solving your way to a more efficient schedule.

When employers seek new employees, they often place more weight on integrity than knowledge throughout the hiring process. Finding good help can be a challenge but one many employers are willing to take on the opportunity to insert potential future leaders into their workforce. If you want to stand out in a crowd, you must work on those interpersonal skills that help you communicate, manage your time, and present yourself in a way that says, “I’m ready.”


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