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6 Key Skills That Will Get You Hired Right Away
"Want to know a secret?" Interviewing expert Michael Neece asked during an interview with PongoResume.com. "The most qualified candidate never gets the job."
Yes, that's right. You don't have to fit the job description to the tee. In fact, it's been found that 83% of new hires don't actually possess all the skills required for the job they applied for. If you're wondering why this happens, it's simply because…
It's all about what hiring managers really want from you.
Let's say there are two job applicants vying to be the newest associate film editor at a nationwide production house.
The first applicant is Elizabeth, a seasoned film editor who has worked on many award-winning commercials for large corporations such as Coca-Cola. She is keenly familiar with Avid, the editing program used at the production house. Elizabeth has twelve years of experience in the film industry, and she has close working relationships with many different well-known filmmakers around town.
Next, there's Amelie, a recent film school graduate who has only assisted in editing a few low-budget independent films. While she's immensely familiar with an editing program called Final Cut Pro, she hasn't gotten the hang of Avid yet. Amelie's just starting to set foot into the film industry. The only filmmakers she knows are her amateur-level college classmates who are also looking to break into the film industry.
Both Elizabeth's and Amelie's demo reels are of similar quality, and they both show a promising future in the world of film editing. Before interviewing each candidate, the hiring manager at the production house thought that Elizabeth was a shoo-in for the position. However, after going through the interviewing process with each candidate, the hiring manager immediately picks up the phone and calls Amelie. "You're hired."
Yes, the company did just hire the far less qualified candidate with not even a year's worth of experience in the industry. Why on earth did they do that?
Here's why: Amelie has all the key qualities the hiring manager is really looking for in a job candidate, despite the fact that she does not possess all the required qualifications listed in the job description. Amelie came to the interview prepared, attentively listened to each question, gave detailed answers, demonstrated confidence, and took great care to delineate how she could help the company succeed over the long run. Amelie's mature, confident, and comfortable attitude and demeanor during the interview showed the hiring manager that she had the capacity to bring the company to the next level.
As for big-shot filmmaker Elizabeth, she didn't do so hot during the interview. She hid behind her impressive resume and, during the whole interview, rattled off her skills and accomplishments without really listening to any of the hiring manager's questions. She also put a lot of emphasis on her own film editing abilities while neglecting to delineate what she could do to lead the company to the next level. Elizabeth's cocky attitude left a bad taste in the hiring manager's mouth. "There's no way," the hiring manager thought upon Elizabeth's exit, "the team would ever get along with her."
What did Amelie do right that Elizabeth didn't? She followed the golden rule of job interviews while Elizabeth completely ignored it.
Show, don't tell.
"Show, don't tell" is actually the golden rule of writing, but it certainly applies to interviewing for a job. The hiring manager is going to take all your claims of being a "team-oriented, hard-working employee who has unparalleled leadership abilities" with a grain of salt unless you back them up with some cold, hard proof. The only way to do this is to show the hiring manager that you possess and utilize the skills s/he believes will make you a great fit for the company.
Sometimes it may be hard to pinpoint what the hiring manager really wants from you, so it would be best to brush up on the key universal skills virtually every hiring manager is looking for. We're here to clue you in on six of them:
The capacity to learn quickly
Companies make their hiring decisions not only based on what the job applicant already knows, but also based on what he can learn within their walls. They want employees who can quickly pick up on new programs, techniques, and concepts to fill any gaps they might have in their spectrum of skills in order to best suit their company.
How to show that you have this skill: Submit or bring in a letter of recommendation from a former employer, teacher, or coach. Make sure the letter delineates how you get into the swing of things immediately, and if applicable, an actual example of how you learned and completed something earlier than expected. If you prefer to take this into your own hands, you can wait until the interviewer asks about the biggest challenge you've ever faced to tell a relevant story about how you became skilled at something during a short period of time.
Teamwork & collaboration skills
No employer on the face of earth would ever hire someone who doesn't work well with other people. Teamwork and collaboration skills are highly valued by employers because every person they hire has to function well with their existing staff or the company would suffer.
How to show that you have this skill: Use team-based keywords in your resume. Instead of writing "streamlined the department's operations", put down, "assisted in streamlining…" or "lead the team to streamline…". Also, during the interview, be sure to mention what your team has accomplished at your previous job. Use "we" instead of "I" (except when talking about how you contributed to your team's success).
Not only do you have to show that you're a team player, you also need to demonstrate your leadership abilities. While employers seek team players, they're not particularly impressed by those who simply show up every day to do their jobs. They want proactive critical thinkers who will take the reins and take necessary action in case a problem arises. Employers don't want lemmings; they want independent-minded team players with the ability to solve problems and lead.
How to show that you have this skill: It's all about body language. Sit up straight. Be calm. Show confidence. Answer each question with authority. Stick with what you believe in. When the time is appropriate, you also want to provide a story about how you persuaded a superior, co-worker, or subordinate to take the actions you recommended, or how you came up with a solution and took charge of your team to implement it. Be very clear about your professional short and long-term goals. You want to show that you have a clear vision of your career path.
There are only few things employers find more irritating than a stubborn employee who doesn't listen and follow directions. An employee who listens and takes direction very well helps the company operate smoothly and efficiently.
How to show that you have this skill: Simply listen to the interviewer's questions carefully and give thoughtful and relevant answers. Don't go off on a tangent; that only shows that you didn't really listen to what the interviewer was saying. Also use your body language to show that you're listening: squarely face the interviewer, lean towards him/her, maintain eye contact, and nod at appropriate times to communicate your understanding of what the interviewer is saying.
Employers rarely want to employ cogs in the wheel who clock in, do the bare minimum, and then leave. They want employees who see the big picture without losing sight of the details. They want employees who care about the well-being of the company in the long run.
How to show that you have this skill: First, research the company's mission statement, goals, and corporate culture. In your cover letter, write about what you can do for the company, not what the company can do for you. Also explain how you can utilize your skills and experience to move the company in a new and exciting direction.
Businesses change all the time; they expand, merge, upgrade to new software, introduce new products, and incorporate many other types of changes into their daily operations. They need employees who can roll with the changes.
How to show that you have this skill: Show them that you aren't stuck in your ways by exhibiting a positive attitude during the interview. If the interviewer apologizes for being 10 minutes late, smile and say, "That's okay; I used the time to catch up on my email, so it all works out!" When it's your turn to ask questions during the interview, ask about any new methods, procedures, or techniques the company might implement in the near future and emphasize the fact that you're more than willing to familiarize yourself with them. Also ask if the position requires any additional tasks that may pop up once in a while, and mention that you're asking so you can learn those tasks ahead of time.