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What are the most important skills and abilities you look for in employees and coworkers?

Hello everyone! I am a student halfway through my second year in college, and I hope to graduate with the skills and abilities necessary to best contribute to whichever workplace I find myself after graduation. I would love to receive responses from people of a wide variety of industries - what are the key skills and/or abilities you look for when hiring a new employee, and what characteristics do you appreciate finding in your fellow coworkers? Thanks for your time!

#employee-relations #employee-training #coaching-employees #human-resources #career-development

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Susan’s Answer

We look for those who are open to learn, listen to and implement coaching. When you come to a manager or a peer with a challenge, have ideas on what you would like to try to solve the challenge. Don't be afraid to be wrong. The biggest lessons and advances are often first taken by making a mistake.

Enjoy your adventure!

Thank you! I particularly like how a lot of your advice revolves around a willingness to be vulnerable in order to learn and grow as an individual. Although that can be scary at times, I am sure that all of the skills you listed are valuable assets to any workplace (especially when paired with problem solving abilities). I will them to my list of characteristics to keep track of and further develop :) Sabina B.

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Drew’s Answer

Hey Sabina!

Every job or career path is going to require a different set of skills specific to that field. I'd suggest doing as much homework and having as many conversations with folks to determine which is the best fit for you (CareerVillage is a great start)!

Aside from those specialties, I think that there are some very transferable skills and qualities, regardless of which career you choose, that can help you for years to come. I've listed a couple very important ones below for you:

  1. Problem solving: Being able to identify, diagnose, solve problems is a crucial and very valuable skill. Whether you're an Architect designing a sports area, a Software Engineer trying to fix your company's website after it's crashed or a student solving a complex algebra problem, the art of problem solving is a necessity starting from day one in your career.
  2. Curiosity: This is my personal favorite. The constant hunger to learn and grow is always a desirable trait for employers. A book that I've read twice now and highly recommend is "Mindset" by Carol Dweck. Curiosity is even more important when coming into the workforce out of school, with less hands on experience. Even if you shared examples such as, new languages you've taught yourself, an instrument you picked up or even something you've learned during the process. As a Recruiter, I want to know that you'll always be looking to learn and improve.
  3. Sales: You may be thinking..."why would I need sales skills if I'm not in a sales role?" As funny as it sounds, I accidentally fell into a "sales" role early on in my career and it was the best thing to ever happen to me. I walked away from sales with the ability to build rapport, ask qualifying questions, listen actively and manage my time effectively. Whether you're selling a product or selling an idea or vision, it's a requirement in just about every job you'll have.

Keep asking great questions like this, you're off to a great start :)

Wishing you all the best, Sabina!

Drew recommends the following next steps:

Make a short list of examples for the above qualities/skills that you can share with your future employer.

Thank you! I am following your advice by creating a list of these skills/qualities (as well as the others offered in the responses to my question and those listed on my resume). I plan to add not just examples of how I have developed them over time, but also the current opportunities I have to expand on them. I am sure that this will give me greater insight on my strengths and opportunities for improval. Thanks again, and I appreciate your time and thoughtfulness in answering my question. Best, Sabina Sabina B.

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Sarah A’s Answer

For any job, at any level, I am looking for honesty and a willingness to learn. If a candidate is able to show that some mistakes were made but important lessons were learned from those mistakes, then that means the candidate is aware that there are always opportunities to improve.

Another undervalued trait is the ability to work hard. A candidate may not always have 100% of the skills or work experience I am looking for, but if he/she is able to show me that there is a willingness to work hard at the job essentials and an I-won't-give-up attitude, that really speaks to me of their ability to fit into any company culture and make themselves valuable.

Awesome! Thank you for your insight! Sabina B.

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Kim’s Answer

Wow! What an interesting question! I have seen several job announcements stating the candidate must possess "common sense," and I tend to agree. I like co-workers who are confident and show initiative. They try to find their own answers first, rather than taking the shortcut and coming straight to me. I like those who have the courage to speak up, and express their opinion, rather than saying "me too" to whatever the boss proposes. I like those who step up, without being asked. If they see someone else is really not feeling well, they do what they can to help lighten the load. Above all, I like those who are different from me! Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and together we make a complete team! I'm sure there are lots more things I could say, but hope this is of some help.

Happy New Year!

This does help - Thank you, and happy new year to you as well! Sabina B.

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