Job searching can take time, planning and preparation, especially when it comes to creating your CV, cover letter and preparing for interviews. When undertaking these activities, it is important to know what qualities employers look for and the ones you should showcase.
You may also have technical skills and expertise you’ve gained from a previous role or through your life experience that you want to highlight in your application. When identifying your skills for different job roles it’s important to decide whether they are relevant to the job role you are applying to or whether they’re only loosely connected so you can highlight the most relevant skills to make you stand out better.
In this article, we’ll tell you about 10 characteristics employers look for when choosing the perfect candidate.
One of the most common skills desired by employers is communication. This means you should be able to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing.
When it comes to showing your communication skills within your CV and interviews you can:
● Introduce yourself to everyone you meet during your interview
● Hold eye contact while speaking to people
● Ask questions
● Describe situations where you’ve had to communicate effectively
Throughout my work experience and education I’ve developed strong communication skills through participating in meetings, emailing clients and building relationships with my colleagues.
Another important skill employers look for is problem solving, as it’s essential within your daily role.
You can highlight that you’re a good problem solver in your application by:
● Talking about a time you corrected a mistake at work
● Discussing about how you overcame a delay at work
● Demonstrating about a time when you dealt with a difficult or upset customer
When working at my last job I developed problem solving skills through dealing with any customer issues and queries and finding solutions.
Having initiative means you have the ability to be resourceful and work without being told what to do. This is an attractive skill to have as it means your employer won’t need to keep checking up on you and can trust that you’ll complete all work to the best of your ability.
You can highlight your initiative within your application and interviews through:
● Talking about a time where you went the extra mile to help a colleague solve a problem
● Highlighting a time where you came up with a new idea and how it was put into action
● Sharing details about a time where you worked on a new project
During my internship I showed initiative during a project I worked on, where I suggested a new idea that could help the project run more smoothly. The team took my idea on board and we saw amazing results because of it.
● Expand on what having an initiative means and why employers like it
● Provide real life examples where this has been used
● Give examples of how to demonstrate these qualities on CV and during an interview
Being accountable means, you take responsibility for your actions, which is a great skill to have. You can demonstrate this in your interviews by talking about:
● Taking on any constructive criticism given by the interviewer
● A time where you achieved your goals and how you did it
● An example of when you took responsibility for a mistake
During my GCSE mock exams I didn’t revise as much as I should have and came back with much lower grades than I would’ve liked. I took accountability for my lack of effort and put a proper revision plan in place ready for my actual GCSE exams and got the grades I wanted.
Honesty means you have the ability to tell the truth and take responsibility for your actions. You can demonstrate this within your applications through:
● Talking about a time you took responsibility for your actions
● Being realistic and truthful about your skills and abilities relating to the job
● Giving a time where you gave someone constructive criticism
In my A-level English course we were required to give constructive criticism to our peers, meaning I was honest and respectful when giving my feedback, giving the opportunity to improve effectively.
Those with a strong work ethic tend to be highly motivated and produce high quality work. You can demonstrate this within your applications through:
● Describing yourself as dependable, reliable and dedicated
● Talking about situations where you ensured work was finished to the highest quality
● Discussing a time when you worked as a team to complete a task or project
In a previous role, I took responsibility for ensuring a project I was working on was completed to the highest quality. Throughout this process I worked with my team to make sure tasks were delegated and completed properly to give everyone the opportunity to finish tasks on time.
Being independent at work means you have the ability to complete and organise tasks without necessarily being asked to or chased. You can demonstrate this within your applications through:
● Talking about any projects you’ve worked on your own
● Explaining times where you frequently work without being supervised, e.g. studying or working remotely
● Highlighting that you can plan and organise your own time on your own
During my education I organised my own study plan to help me properly fit all of my revision in and achieve the best grades possible.
Being flexible and adaptable means you have the ability to take on unplanned tasks, perhaps tasks you’ve never done before and adapt them into your schedule. You can demonstrate this within your interviews through:
● Talking about a time where you worked well under pressure
● Sharing about a time where you tried or learnt something new
● Discussing a time where you adapted to other peoples’ working styles
When studying for an exam, I studied with a group of friends where I adapted to their way of learning to see if it would help me remember the content more or not. Throughout this I learnt how to become more flexible within my ways of learning and adapt to others preferred techniques.
Being loyal to a company means you’re more likely to strive to achieve the best for the company you work for as you feel as though it aligns with your values. You can highlight this through:
● Talking about a company you worked for a prolonged period of time
● Highlighting how the companies values align with your own
● Talking about any aspirations you feel the company could help you achieve and vice versa
When applying for this role, I looked at the values of your company and felt as though xyz linked to my values as well. I really felt as though ‘this value’ aligned the most
Teamwork is an essential quality employers look for as it shows that you can communicate effectively and work in a collaborative space. You can showcase this through:
● Talking about a time when you worked as a team and explaining the outcomes, whether they were positive or negative - if they were negative explain what you took away from it and how it was solved
● Sharing about any group leader experience
● Talking about how you organised and delegated tasks as a team
In my last role I had experience working within a team where we brainstormed and planned a project together. Throughout this I delegated tasks to myself and the rest of the team evenly to ensure everything was fair and that everyone could complete their tasks.