What are the main traits of successful job seekers? This is one of the most common questions our team here at NexGoal is asked by candidates during the recruitment process.
Our project coordinators receive plenty of feedback from hiring professionals in regard to the candidates we send them, but it is difficult to really isolate one or two “main traits” that can help a candidate stand out during the interview process. Instead, we like to focus on a number of traits that all need to be worked on by job seekers prior to the interview process.
If a job seeker already has these skills and does not need to work on them, then it is important to find a way to highlight them on their resumes or in a face to face interview. But before you know which traits to highlight, for the sake of our “Three for Thursday” feature, the team here sifted through their list of traits to find three you should have in your repertoire before your next job interview.
You would think this is something that is second nature to many job seekers, but you would not believe how many people have poor planning skills.
In a recent article on The Guardian, their career blog pointed out, “A plan gives focus and direction to your search. Set daily and weekly job-hunting tasks, and block off time to complete them. You’ll need to identify the companies you’d most like to work for, research industry trends, companies and people, make contacts, send out applications, and prepare for interviews or meetings. Keep track of what you do, when to follow up, and how people are connected.”
The above excerpt could not be truer when it comes to many job seekers. How many times have you said, “I am going to apply for a new job this weekend,” only to jump on a random job board and hit apply on two jobs. That is not a plan for job seeking, that is an excuse to say “hey, I applied for two jobs this weekend so I’m trying to change my career.” A real job change plan needs to be laid out and executed, if you want to make a real change you need to make a real plan.
Not only does developing a solid plan impact your job search, but it impacts how you work once you do land the job. Being able to plan out your work tasks, develop plans for projects and show your supervisor that you are able to achieve goals by following those plans will go a long way in terms of gaining adding responsibility and promotions one day.
As someone who has been through a job search or two in his day, having a great attitude is a very important trait to have. Job searches are not easy. Rejection, or not hearing back at all, will wear you down and drive shadows of doubt into your head. It will be very easy to believe there is something wrong with you as a candidate that could cause you put off your job search—but that is not the case.
Sometimes it is simply a numbers game, especially in the era of online applications for jobs. Simply, hiring managers do not have enough time to get through all of the applications they receive for an opening—so in some instances your resume may not even be getting viewed. As frustrating as that is, it is not your fault as a job seeker.
So what does having a good attitude have to do with all of this? It is simple, your attitude helps drive your continued search process. If you followed the planning stage above, you know you have set yourself up for success when it is all said and done, so do not let a temporary setback become permanent failure. You need to keep your head up and continue down the path you created.
Also, having a bad attitude shows to recruiters, hiring managers and higher ups at companies you are interviewing with. Whether it is over the phone or in person, you can hear things in someone’s voice that shows they are doubting the process. If there is an attitude problem before the job, there will likely be an attitude problem during the job—and most companies do not want to infect their culture with a bad attitude.
Okay, so one part of this is a trait and the other is common sense—but both need to be discussed here because both are areas job seekers fall short on today.
For starters, we live in a digital age that really puts an emphasis on non-traditional forms of communication. Many are more comfortable sending emails and text messages than they are having a conversation in person—and this is a mistake. Digital communication techniques are extremely important, but so is the ability to have a normal conversation with an employer or potential client. If you cannot look someone in the eyes while having a conversation, how are you going to close a deal or win in an interview?
This goes back to Communication 101 that you took your freshman year of college—it is more important than you think. As I am typing up this article, I have had three in-person conversations in my office—trust me, it is possible to be able to effectively communicate both ways. You need to be able to speak with someone, so grab a friend and start practicing!
While you are practicing effective communications, practice your follow-up technique as well. One of the biggest reasons we hear from clients that someone did not get a job is because they simply did not follow-up after an interview. It may seem petty, but you are going to need this ability throughout your professional career no matter which field you are going into. Whether it is a simple thank you note, email to discuss the next steps, phone call to thank them for their time and much more, you need to do something. Staying present in a hiring manager’s mind is so important.
The above traits are integral to job seekers both during their search and once they get the job. If you have these traits already in your arsenal, that’s great—now work on refining them to stand out even more from the crowd. If you do not have these traits, it is time to research techniques or talk to your recruiter on what you can do to get better.