What do employers look for?
According to NIACE some of the key skills required to get a job are:
Communication skills – being able to communicate clearly and well with colleagues and customers. This involves listening effectively and responding to questions, as well as talking and communicating clearly in other ways. It can involve giving instructions and taking feedback.
One employer said: ‘Good communication is crucial. Young people need to make good eye contact, be polite, talk clearly and have the ability to ask and answer questions fully. Being a ‘people person’ is really positive – not too quiet, but interested in other people – good at listening and understanding what people are telling them.’ ‘In this business customer service is everything. Young people need to be polite and welcoming, they need to listen to what customers are asking them and they need to respond clearly.’
Problem-solving skills – as an employee it’s really important to not give up when faced with a problem. Businesses need people who can find solutions to problems. Here’s an example:
Last week one of our apprentices worked late to photocopy papers that were needed for an important meeting the next morning. The photocopier got jammed. He tried to fix it but couldn’t, so he went to the company next door, who we share facilities with, he explained the problem and asked to use their photocopier. He also arranged for an engineer to fix our copier the next day. This saved us lots of time and ensured that we had the papers we needed.’ ‘The ability to approach problems with creativity and a ‘can-do’ attitude is important.
Time management – employers want their staff to arrive on time for work, or even be a few minutes early. In addition, they value reliability and flexibility – this involves doing what you say you’re going to do and responding to what your employer needs you to do. Sometimes this means juggling tasks, planning your time and prioritising.
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