There are two sets of skills that represent the desired qualities any potential employer is looking for. The first set, hard skills, is comprised of qualities like your work experience, college degree, certificates and specific job-related skills. The second set, called soft skills, represents qualities like your personal values and character traits. Though most people are familiar with the hard skills needed to land a job, soft skills can be just as important.
One desirable quality of any good candidate is leadership ability. This doesn't mean simply knowing how to give orders; true leadership ability is also the willingness to accept personal responsibility for results, whether positive or negative. A good leader does not make excuses and makes getting the job done the primary goal. In addition, a leader is unafraid to volunteer for projects and manage multiple people or processes to maximize efficiency. Even if the job you applied for is entry level, the employer still wants to see that you have the potential to be a leader. That potential can open doors to a long-term career with the company and multiple new opportunities.
Another quality desired by employers is integrity. Integrity means being completely honest with yourself and others, and being able to admit your faults when necessary. In addition to being honest, integrity also requires a healthy dose of loyalty to a company. One way to demonstrate your integrity is to refrain from bad-mouthing your former employers during the interview, even if you left on bad terms or were terminated. Own up to any mistakes you may have made, and explain how things are better now. By staying neutral, you avoid burning bridges with previous contacts and impress the potential employer with your professionalism.
Probably one of the most important qualities desired by any employer is communication skills. This is a very general and broad term, but it encompasses many important abilities: The ability to listen carefully and attentively, speak eloquently and effectively, and read and write well are skills that serve you not only at work but in life in general. As many companies become more and more technical and digital, excellent communications skills become even more important, as many highly technical candidates may place less emphasis on their importance. Good grammar, perfect spelling and good speaking skills will never become obsolete.
The definition of a great employee or candidate can vary greatly from company to company, but it's safe to assume there is a core set of desirable qualities that most every employer considers essential, no matter the job description. The ability to be a good leader, maintain integrity and communicate well are desirable qualities that serve you well in any industry and in life.
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