Employers may scan through hundreds or thousands of resumes from job applicants looking for the abilities and characteristics that will help an individual excel in his position. While employers may value different strengths depending on job type, field and employer preference, certain characteristics stand out for most employers. Identifying those sought-after characteristics can help you shape resumes, cover letters and effective interview responses.
If communication is one of your strengths, count on this skill to attract prospective employers. As businesses shift toward more teamwork approaches, communication strengths become increasingly more influential in the workplace. Communication includes listening, writing and speaking effectively.
Analysis and Research
Businesses are constantly self-evaluating to determine improved ways for creating products, interacting with customers or streamlining processes. Strengths related to analysis and research help employees become reliable problem solvers, since these workers are inclined to delve deep for explanations, facts and ideas to improve a company’s approach. Analytical minds geared toward critical thinking and research-based innovations are attractive to employers.
Today’s workplace doesn’t have much room for employees who admit to being technologically illiterate. Employers want to hire employees who can complete basic technological tasks using computers, fax and copy machines, multiple phone lines and multimedia presentations. Acquiring strengths related to your industry’s preferred software programs could help you get a job in the field.
Tone-deaf employees lacking multicultural sensitivity aren’t attractive to employers, who frequently hire and manage staffs including professionals from differing ethnic, academic, religious and cultural backgrounds. Showing multicultural sensitivity can help convince employers that you’re the person to hire. If you’ve traveled extensively, speak another language, or have worked or volunteered in multicultural settings, mention your experiences during the job interview.
Creativity represents another strength that employers find attractive. This is especially true for art-driven fields, but most employers seek workers willing to think and work “out-of-the-box.” This can relate to product design, problem-solving, marketing and other elements related to a company’s profitability and efficiency.
Some employees take great pride in their personal values, and this can be viewed as an attractive strength for employers. Examples of attractive personal values include honesty, flexibility, dedication and reliability. Other attributes might include loyalty, passion or self-confidence. Never list unexplained adjectives on a resume; back up assertions with examples from your previous work experience or personal life. For example, perhaps your passion for social justice led you to found an after-school orchestra for inner-city kids because you believe all children have the right to access the arts. Talking about how passion motivates your hard work can impress employers.
As employers review stacks of resumes portraying candidates with similar backgrounds, talents and qualifications, sometimes strengths related to special skills can be the difference between being passed over for an interview opportunity and being invited to sit down with the boss. Your ability to speak Japanese might be viewed as a strength for an international firm specializing in Pacific Rim imports, for example. An elementary school might be attracted to a candidate certified to teach children’s yoga.